One of the top priorities of MCC Medical Clinic is to disseminate information on breast cancer prevention and cure to the community. The Clinic, in partnership with Komen Foundation, Washington Adventist Hospital, and Primary Care Coalition, has developed a comprehensive program in this area. Clinic holds seminars and arranges lectures to make people aware of the benefits of early breast cancer detection. To find out how you can be helped, please contact our Patient Navigator at 301-384-2166 Ext 1019.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the breast. Normally, cells in our body divide and grow to replace old cells that have died. Sometimes, though, cells divide and grow out of control. This leads to too many cells. The extra cells then collect in a part of the body and form a tumor. Breast cancer is a tumor that starts in the cells in the breast.
Breast cancer happens most often in the ducts (the tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and the lobules (the glands that make the milk). Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body, such as the bones. Breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, is still called breast cancer, not lung cancer.
How common is breast cancer?
Breast cancer can happen to both men and women. In 2013, it was expected that more than 230,000 women and more than 2,200 men in the United States would be diagnosed with breast cancer. Ask your healthcare provider about your breast cancer risk.
Early Detection & Screening
Getting regular screening tests (along with treatment if diagnosed) lowers the risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest. Breast cancer screening is not recommended for most men.
The term screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease like cancer in people who do not have any symptoms. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chances that treatment will work. The goal is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following guidelines for finding breast cancer early in women without symptoms:
Mammogram: Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should keep doing so for as long as they are in good health.
Clinical breast exam: Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert at least every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year. It might be a good idea to have the CBE shortly before the mammogram.
Breast self-exam (BSE): BSE is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limits of BSE. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to a health expert right away.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Women at high risk based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. This includes:
Women who have about a 20% lifetime risk of breast cancer or higher based on family history
Women who had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
Women who have mutations (abnormal changes) in certain genes that greatly increase their breast cancer risk or who haven’t been checked for these mutations but have close family members that have one of these mutations
Web pages that may help you learn more about this breast cancer topic: