Breast Cancer: Are You At Risk?

Women wearing pink for breast cancer awareness month

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, throughout October we’ll be posting a series of stories about breast cancer prevention, treatment and survivors.

Approximately one in eight women in the United States will get breast cancer during her lifetime. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, after skin cancer. So what can you do about it?

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Certain personal, family history or lifestyle factors can increase your risk of getting breast cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Having a mother, sister or daughter who had breast cancer
  • Inherited gene defects such as the Breast Cancer (BRACA) 1 and 2 genes
  • Prior biopsies showing precancerous findings
  • Dense breast tissue, as shown on a mammogram
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Hormone replacement treatment for longer than five years Read More

New Ways to Fight Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, throughout October we’ll be posting a series of stories about breast cancer prevention, treatment and survivors.

Angelina Jolie surprised the world when she had a preventative double mastectomy. Yet she had strong reasons to do so. She inherited the rare BRCA1 gene, which her doctors estimated gave her an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer. By having surgery, she minimized her risk of developing the disease.

While this course of action is relatively new in the fight against breast cancer, it’s not the only one changing the way experts treat and prevent the disease. Doctors at Sutter Health affiliates Mills-Peninsula Health Services and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation say four key developments in recent years are reshaping the course of treatment for women who have breast cancer, or who are at risk for breast cancer.

Harriet Borofsky, M.D.

Harriet Borofsky, M.D.

“The whole way in which we manage, treat and take care of breast cancer patients today is hugely different,” says Harriet Borofsky, M.D., medical director of the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center. Here are the latest advances in breast cancer care.

Read More

Facing Breast Cancer Head On

Laverne Hendricks

Laverne Hendricks

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, throughout October we’ll be posting a series of stories about breast cancer prevention, treatment and survival.

When Laverne Hendricks’ annual mammogram showed a small lump in 2013, she’d been half-expecting the diagnosis for decades. Her sisters, both heavy smokers, had died in their 50s, one from breast cancer and the other from ovarian cancer.

To better her own odds, Laverne, 72, had gotten mammograms each year at the Mills-Peninsula Women’s Center in San Mateo. Still, with every screening the retired nurse wondered, would this be the year? Read More

Volunteers Needed for Cancer Prevention Study

Young woman and her grandmother

Do you wish there was something you could do to prevent anyone ever having to hear the words “you have cancer”?

Here’s a unique opportunity for you personally to help advance cancer research and ultimately end cancer as a threat to our health. Volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).

What is CPS-3?

For the last 100 years, the American Cancer Society has led efforts to discover lifesaving cancer breakthroughs and improve the quality of life of people facing cancer. CPS-3 is the organization’s third nationwide study to advance cancer research. The ultimate goal is to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. The CPS-3 study will help us better understand the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and to ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health problem for this and future generations. Read More

Black Men and Prostate Cancer

There’s no need for African American men to fear prostate cancer, says urologist Dieter Bruno, M.D.

“But they should be proactive and educated about it, because it is a serious health risk. We know that African American men tend to have prostate cancer more aggressively, but we don’t know why,” he says.

Dr. Bruno suggests that men start screening for prostate cancer at age 40, especially if they have a family history of the disease. Early detection is key, because symptoms only appear in men with advanced stage prostate cancer, which is less curable, he says. Men may tend to avoid screenings for prostate cancer because they fear the discomfort, but Dr. Bruno emphasized that the minimal amount of discomfort is well worth the potentially life-saving information. Learn more about the latest tests and treatments for prostate cancer in this video from Bounce TV.

Prostate Cancer: Pushing Survival

One in six men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his life. Some 240,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in the United States this year alone.

The good news? When detected early, the cure rate of prostate cancer is 90 – 95 percent. And new therapies are extending the survival rates for men with cancer in later stages.

Medical oncologist Brad Ekstrand, M.D., Ph.D., describes the latest breakthrough therapies for prostate cancer in this video from Healthpoint TV.