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UAMS Living Healthy | Wellness and Fitness
Women's Health - October 2009

A Closer Look at Three Breast Cancer Myths

With so much information out there about breast cancer, sometimes it's difficult to separate myth from reality. But without a realistic picture of the disease, you may not recognize whether you're at risk so that you can take steps to protect yourself.

At UAMS, we understand that the overload of information can be confusing, so here are three common beliefs about the disease followed by what you really need to know:

Myth: A family history of breast cancer is the number one risk factor for the disease.

Reality: If a close relative had breast cancer, then you have a higher risk of developing it, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). But about 90 percent of women with breast cancer have no known family history of the disease. Just being a woman puts you at risk, but growing older has the biggest effect on how likely you are to develop the disease. A majority of cases of women with breast cancer are older than age 50 when they're diagnosed.

Myth: Breast cancer is the number one cause of death in women.

Reality: Although breast cancer may be near the top of the list, it isn't in the lead. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that around 27% of women die from heart disease than from any type of cancer, including that of the breast. But breast cancer is still a serious health threat. It's ranked second, behind lung cancer, and claims the lives of about 40,000 women a year.

Myth: Doing a breast self-exam every month is the best way to detect a lump.

Reality: You may be more likely to notice a new lump or other changes if you're familiar with how your breasts normally feel. But a mammogram is the best way to detect breast cancer, the NCI says. A mammogram can detect a tumor well before you'd be able to feel it with your fingers. The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the more effective treatment is likely to be.

To learn more, please visit the online UAMS Health Library. We have articles covering nearly every medical topic, including:

The UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Breast Center has some of the most advanced technology available in the country and offers all forms of breast imaging. If you do receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, the experts at UAMS offer hope to you. Evaluations and surgical procedures are carefully coordinated with medical and radiation oncologists throughout the state to provide total cancer care. We offer complete tumor care and advanced surgical techniques for breast cancer treatment.

Susan G. Komen Arkansas Race for the Cure

Did you know that Arkansas has one of the largest Komen Race for the Cure runs in the country? After the race in Little Rock Saturday, October 17, Dr. Suzanne Klimberg, Director of Breast Surgical Oncology at UAMS, will be speaking at the Junior League of Little Rock's 6th K Cafe. Join the fun and learn more about breast cancer from Dr. Klimberg.

Spit for the Cure Research Study

At UAMS, we believe research is the key to winning the battle against breast cancer. You can help by participating in our Spit for the Cure Breast Cancer Cohort research study conducted at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

It has become clear that an individual’s genetic profile combined with their environmental exposures will decide, to a large degree, that individual's risk of developing breast cancer.

We invite women throughout the state of Arkansas to become part of this representative group for breast cancer research. Participants must be at least 18 years old and will be asked to answer a short questionnaire and provide a saliva sample (for DNA extraction).

DNA samples and answers from the questionnaire will be used to create a "bank" of information for future studies. Each participant's personal identification will be protected through the use of a unique ID. Researchers will access the samples and data to address specific questions related to the factors affecting breast cancer risk and treatment. Because a unique ID is used, researchers will not have access to information that could identify you as a person.

If you are interested in helping us to further breast cancer research in Arkansas by participating in Spit for the Cure, please contact Shana Fetters by e-mail at FettersShanaM@uams.edu or by calling 501-296-1131.

In This Issue:

Choosing a Safe Halloween Costume

H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Information

Digital Mammograms

Healthy Recipe: Black Bean Chili

Nutrition and Cancer Quiz

Breast Cancer Risk Factors Wizard

Mammogram Quiz

Links of Interest
UAMS Women's Health
Health Library
UAMS Medical Services

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