Forrest General Hospital Urges Breast Cancer Awareness
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (October 26, 2021) We all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Maybe it’s an acquaintance at church, your next-door neighbor, your best friend, a loved one – your aunt, sister, daughter, mother, or grandmother, or maybe it’s you yourself. Breast cancer knows no limits. It’s not just limited to women; men can also be diagnosed.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women regardless of race or ethnicity, and an estimated 2,650 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
“There are many phases of cancer and each journey is different,” said oncologist, Bo Hrom, MD. Here at Forrest General’s Cancer Center, it’s our mission to treat the whole patient, not just the cancer.”
Forrest Health provides a continuum of compassionate, high quality cancer services for detection, prevention and treatment. Forrest General's Cancer Center has a well-trained, multidisciplinary team that maintains a personalized focus on the needs of each individual patient.
The team of oncologists and clinical staff strive to improve the quality and length of life for their patients and continues to further research the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for cancer.
Below is a list of risk factors, symptoms, and screenings. Please share this information with family, friends and others who could benefit from knowing the signs to look for and what's available to keep them informed on courses of action they can take should a problem arise.
Risk Factors for breast cancer include:
- Younger age during first menstrual period
- Starting menopause at a later age
- Being older at birth of first child, never giving birth
- Not breastfeeding
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
- Changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2
- Personal history
- Family history
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and any time an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional.
Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.
- New lump in breast or underarm
- Thickening/swelling of part of breast
- Irritation/dimpling of breast skin
- Redness/flaky skin in nipple area or breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in size/shape of breast
- Pain in any area of breast
By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.
The type and frequency of breast cancer screening that is best for you changes as you age.
- Ages 20 to 39 – Some experts recommend that women have a clinical breast exam every 3 years, starting at age 20. If you have a high risk for developing breast cancer, talk to your doctor about when to begin having routine mammograms and other screening tests.
- Ages 40 and older – It is important for you to discuss with your doctor the medical evidence about mammograms before you decide when to start having them and how often to have then.
- The American Cancer Society recommends that women start screening at age 45 with a mammogram every year until age 54. At age 55, women should switch to having a mammogram every 2 years.
- The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and the age at which testing no longer helps reduce death from breast cancer is not known. If you are 75 or older, talk to your doctor about mammography as a regular part of your health care plan.
Early detection is an important factor in the success of breast cancer treatment. The earliest breast cancer is found, the more easily and successfully it can be treated. Tests used for screening include:
- Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can often find tumors that are too small for you or your doctor to feel. Standard mammograms use films to record images of the breast, but most mammograms done now are digital mammograms. Digital mammograms record images of the breast in an electronic file.
- Digital breast tomosynthesis (3-D Mammogram). This test uses X-rays to create a three-dimensional image of the breast. This is a newer test that may be used alone or with a digital mammogram.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE). Doing a clinical breast exam, your doctor will carefully feel your breast and under your arms to check for lumps or other unusual changes. Talk to your doctor about whether to have a clinical breast exam.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI may be used as a screening test for women who have a high risk of breast cancer. This includes women who test positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, or have two or more close family members who have had breast cancer before age 50. MRI may also be useful for women who have breast implants or for women whose breast tissue is very dense.
For more information, visit www.forresthealth.org/services/cancer/.
About Forrest General’s Cancer Center
Forrest General Hospital Cancer Center ranks among the largest and most sophisticated cancer treatment centers in South Mississippi. It offers a place where patients can receive advanced care in a beautiful, compassionate environment. Forrest General operates the only comprehensive community Cancer Center in the 19-county service area, and is accredited by the College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The center features the services of a multidisciplinary team led by medical oncologists/hematologists and radiation oncologists, who provide high quality medical care in a continuum of settings. In addition to medical and radiation oncologists, a complete range of physician specialists provide expertise in diagnoses, surgical removal, disease management and reconstructive procedures.