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MCCS holds breast cancer luncheon

By Cpl. Brady Wood | | November 1, 2013

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The American Cancer Society estimates the following statistics for breast cancer in the year 2013: about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, about 64,640 new cases of carcinoma will be diagnosed and about 39,620 women will die from breast.
   
In order to increase awareness about the nature of breast cancer, Marine Corps Community Services and Naval Hospital Beaufort teamed together to hold a luncheon aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Oct. 25.
   
During this event, attendees were informed how breast cancer forms and also on treatments to get rid of the cancer.
   
“There is a three-part action plan that can decrease your chances of getting breast cancer and the first step is to get a mammogram,” said Cammye Little, the NHB breast care coordinator. “You and your doctor may not be able to feel a lump until it’s the size of a pea. However, a mammogram can find cancers when they are very small, often several years in advance.”
   
The second step to this action plan is either doing a breast exam yourself or having your doctor conduct the exam.
   
“All women in their 20s and 30s should have a breast exam as part of their regular health checkups at least every three years,” said Little. “After the age of 40, a breast cancer should be conducted every year.”
   
The third and final step of the action plan is breast awareness.
   
“Become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel, so that if it changes you can inform your doctor immediately,” said Little. “You could also do a breast self-exam instead of going to the doctor.”
   
Women can go to their doctor or nurse to show how to do the exam properly.
   
Little also stated that genetic testing is available for those that have breast cancer in their family. If they meet specific criteria, this will allow an individual to get screenings at an earlier age.
  
“The main point I wanted to get across to people was early detection,” said Little. “The reason for that is because breast cancer is very curable in its early stages.”
   
In an information booklet called Taking Charge of Breast Cancer, states that risk factors of getting breats cancer include age, family history, genetic changes, previously having breast cancer, being overweight, hormone replacement therapy, after menopause and menstrual periods.
   
“Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages also increases the chance of breast cancer,” said Little. “If a person has just one alcoholic beverage every day of the week, their chance of breast cancer increases by 20 percent.”
   
In the early stages of breast cancer, Little said a doctor can perform what is called lumpectomy in order to remove the cancer.
   
“A lumpectomy is where the doctor removes the area where they found the cancer,” said Little. “Once the area is removed, the entire breast is radiated to make sure they prevent recurrence of cancer in that breast.”
   
Due to potential breast cancer factors, it is highly important to remember that early detection is the key to not getting breast cancer. It is also important to remember that genetic testing can help make sure that you can start taking mammograms at an earlier age. For more information, call 228-5371.


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