How to Prevent Breast Cancer
There is no such thing as a routine breast cancer.
At the OSUCCC – James, our breast cancer specialists and subspecialists are internationally renowned cancer experts who focus on breast cancer – and only on breast cancer – and who reach across medical disciplines (medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, reconstructive surgeons, pathologists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific breast cancer.
How do the OSUCCC – James experts recommend preventing breast cancer? There are multiple ways to help prevent the disease:
- Monthly self-exams: Nobody knows your breasts as well as you do, so monthly self-exams are a good way to determine if there are any lumps, bumps or changes in your breasts. Just because you feel something abnormal, however, does not mean you have breast cancer, but it is very important to follow up with your doctor about these or any other changes you may notice.
- Yearly clinical breast exams by a medical professional: the OSUCCC – James breast cancer experts recommend that most women get an annual screening mammogram starting at age 40.
Women who are younger than 40 but have a family history of breast cancer should start getting mammograms even earlier – 10 years before the age of the family member when she was diagnosed. For example, if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40, you should start getting your mammograms at age 30.
- Mammograms save lives. And just as there is no routine breast cancer, there is no such thing as a routine mammogram. That’s why patients choose the world-recognized expertise of the OSUCCC – James breast cancer specialists and subspecialists.
At the OSUCCC – James, our breast cancer radiologists read mammograms (and only mammograms) every day, all day, making them super subspecialists whose refined and detailed expertise can help detect even the most minute change in breast tissue – catching cancer at the earliest possible point, when chances for treatment and cure are best.
For women with dense breast tissue, breast density is linked to a small risk of developing cancer, but the risk increases when a woman has other breast cancer risk factors along with dense breast tissue.
Women who have dense breasts should follow up with their primary care physician to discuss their next steps based on their cancer risk.
- The OSUCCC – James Mobile Mammography Unit: two state-of-the-art mobile mammography units travel across to provide access to mammography services to even more women who find travel to or within the Columbus area difficult or prohibitive. The units crisscross Ohio, parking and setting up its mobile breast cancer screening practice at companies, county health offices, at festivals and many other places and events.
- Healthful lifestyle practices can greatly lower your risk for breast cancer. These include:
- Eating sensibly:
- Decrease the amount of processed foods you eat
- Decrease sugar intake
- Talk with your doctor about the amount of proteins, good fats, fruits, vegetables and grains that you need specifically for your body.
- Regular exercise can make a big difference and go a long way in prevention not only for breast cancer, but also for other diseases as well. Walk, cycle, swim, play tennis, golf – whatever you choose, find something you enjoy so it will be easier to make it a consistent part of your everyday life.
- Fight weight gain: maintaining a healthy weight is directly related to your health and mortality. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor what your ideal weight should be.
- Lower stress levels: numerous studies show that stress is a very real threat to health and can negatively impact us physically, not just emotionally.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can lead to many different kinds of cancers. If you need help with quitting smoking, please call the James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 for more information, or go to tobaccofree.osu.edu.
At the OSUCCC – James, our breast cancer subspecialists are internationally renowned cancer experts who focus on breast cancer – and only on breast cancer – and who reach across medical disciplines (medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, reconstructive surgeons, pathologists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific breast cancer.
That means patients get a full continuum of world-class care from many of the world’s leading breast cancer authorities, all in one world-class facility – the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center, in Columbus, Ohio. That continuum also includes meeting with numerous specialists across all breast cancer disciplines, all on the same day, all in one location, with all of your questions answered at one time.
From there, these experts work with you to create a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan that is designed solely for you, taking into account your specific kind of breast cancer as well as your unique biological makeup, genetics and individual medical history.
The OSUCCC – James also offers access to the nation’s most advanced, sophisticated breast cancer clinical trials. In fact, as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to novel therapies that may not be available anywhere else in the United States. That means that when additional treatment options are needed, patients can find that unparalleled level of expertise and access right here at The James.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, would like a second opinion, to speak with a breast cancer specialist or to schedule a mammogram, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, especially a first-degree relative (for example, your mother, sister, daughter, father or son) who has been diagnosed with the disease, the OSUCCC – James experts recommend genetic testing.
Although only 5 -10 percent of all breast cancers are caused by an inherited gene, a family history of a known cancer gene mutation such as BRCA1/2, p53 or PTEN (Cowden’s Syndrome) can put you at much higher risk for breast cancer.
The OSUCCC – James breast cancer research experts lead some of the world’s most advanced studies, interventions, protocols and clinical trials in breast cancer risk reduction and prevention. As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to clinical trials than any hospital in the region.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Anything that increases the chance of developing breast cancer is a risk factor.
The biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer is age. About 75 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women age 50 or older.
Other factors that may increase breast cancer risks are:
- Menstruating at an early age
- Older age at first birth or never having given birth
- A personal history of invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), or benign (noncancer) breast disease
- A family history (first-degree relative, such as mother, daughter or sister) of breast cancer
- Having inherited changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
- Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest
- Having breast tissue that is dense on a mammogram
- Taking hormones such as estrogen and progesterone for symptoms of menopause
- Having taken the hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy or being the daughter of a woman who took DES while pregnant
- Not getting enough exercise
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Caucasian ancestry
(Source: National Cancer Institute)
For patients with a family history of breast cancer, the OSUCCC – James offers counseling through the High-Risk Breast Cancer Program. We also offer genetic screening at the Clinical Cancer Genetics Program at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center.
Not everyone with risk factors gets breast cancer. However, if you have risk factors, discuss them with your doctor.
To view James/10TV Toward a Cancer-Free World segments on the Mobile Mammography Units, visit:
- New Mobile Mammography Unit Takes High Tech Screenings to Communities Throughout Ohio
- James Team Making Mammography Excellence More Accessible
To view James/10TV Toward a Cancer-Free World segments on advances in breast cancer research, detection, treatment and cures available at The James, or to view TV segments on how we are moving Toward a Cancer-Free World, visit our blog.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, would like a second opinion, to speak with a breast cancer specialist or schedule a mammogram, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.