Month set aside to promote cancer awareness

Posted: Monday, October 23, 2000

Breast cancer -- two words many women fear.

This type of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

October is breast cancer awareness month, a time to educate, share experience and alleviate hidden fear.

According to a press release, this year alone it is estimated that more than 200 new breast cancer cases are expected to occur in Alaska.

Kathy Lopeman, Oncology-Infusion Center coordinator with Central Peninsula General Hos-pital, said early detection is the best form of prevention.

Lopeman stressed the importance of monthly self-exams, yearly mammograms and a sound knowledge of family medical history as good front-line defense against the disease.

Family history is important. For those with immediate family who contracted breast cancer at an early age, she said, mammograms should be conducted earlier in life.

"But everyone should have a baseline mammogram before the age of 40," Lopeman said.

Mammograms, available at the hospital or through the mobile unit from Anchorage, are a noninvasive procedure similar to X-rays. The film shows the tissue density of the breast.

Many times, mammograms pick up small lumps that often would not be felt in a self-exam, she said, but detection depends on the density of the tissue in the breast.

Monthly self-exams also help in the detection of breast cancer. The best time for the exams, Lopeman said, is seven to 10 days after the first day of a woman's period. Women who do not menstruate should simply pick one day a month to perform the exam.

Instructional videos and cards are available at the hospital and Planned Parenthood, she said.

The three things to look for in self-exams are:

n A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area;

n A change in size or shape of the breast;

n Puckering, dimpling or redness of breast skin.

"We all should be aware of our bodies so we can know change is happening," Lopeman said.

Women are not the sole warriors in the breast cancer battle. Men also have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It is more common than people think," Lopeman said, adding that men with family histories of breast cancer,and those with a lot of breast tissue also need to perform self-exams and visit their physician regularly.

Lopeman said the Infusion Center handles all types of cancer and has education information available.

"Today we have more survivors than ever before due to better treatments all the way around," she said.

BYLINE1:By SARA J. SMITH

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Breast cancer -- two words many women fear.

This type of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

October is breast cancer awareness month, a time to educate, share experience and alleviate hidden fear.

According to a press release, this year alone it is estimated that more than 200 new breast cancer cases are expected to occur in Alaska.

Kathy Lopeman, Oncology-Infusion Center coordinator with Central Peninsula General Hos-pital, said early detection is the best form of prevention.

Lopeman stressed the importance of monthly self-exams, yearly mammograms and a sound knowledge of family medical history as good front-line defense against the disease.

Family history is important. For those with immediate family who contracted breast cancer at an early age, she said, mammograms should be conducted earlier in life.

"But everyone should have a baseline mammogram before the age of 40," Lopeman said.

Mammograms, available at the hospital or through the mobile unit from Anchorage, are a noninvasive procedure similar to X-rays. The film shows the tissue density of the breast.

Many times, mammograms pick up small lumps that often would not be felt in a self-exam, she said, but detection depends on the density of the tissue in the breast.

Monthly self-exams also help in the detection of breast cancer. The best time for the exams, Lopeman said, is seven to 10 days after the first day of a woman's period. Women who do not menstruate should simply pick one day a month to perform the exam.

Instructional videos and cards are available at the hospital and Planned Parenthood, she said.

The three things to look for in self-exams are:

n A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area;

n A change in size or shape of the breast;

n Puckering, dimpling or redness of breast skin.

"We all should be aware of our bodies so we can know change is happening," Lopeman said.

Women are not the sole warriors in the breast cancer battle. Men also have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It is more common than people think," Lopeman said, adding that men with family histories of breast cancer,and those with a lot of breast tissue also need to perform self-exams and visit their physician regularly.

Lopeman said the Infusion Center handles all types of cancer and has education information available.

"Today we have more survivors than ever before due to better treatments all the way around," she said.

HEAD:Month set aside to promote cancer awareness

BYLINE1:By SARA J. SMITH

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Breast cancer -- two words many women fear.

This type of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

October is breast cancer awareness month, a time to educate, share experience and alleviate hidden fear.

According to a press release, this year alone it is estimated that more than 200 new breast cancer cases are expected to occur in Alaska.

Kathy Lopeman, Oncology-Infusion Center coordinator with Central Peninsula General Hos-pital, said early detection is the best form of prevention.

Lopeman stressed the importance of monthly self-exams, yearly mammograms and a sound knowledge of family medical history as good front-line defense against the disease.

Family history is important. For those with immediate family who contracted breast cancer at an early age, she said, mammograms should be conducted earlier in life.

"But everyone should have a baseline mammogram before the age of 40," Lopeman said.

Mammograms, available at the hospital or through the mobile unit from Anchorage, are a noninvasive procedure similar to X-rays. The film shows the tissue density of the breast.

Many times, mammograms pick up small lumps that often would not be felt in a self-exam, she said, but detection depends on the density of the tissue in the breast.

Monthly self-exams also help in the detection of breast cancer. The best time for the exams, Lopeman said, is seven to 10 days after the first day of a woman's period. Women who do not menstruate should simply pick one day a month to perform the exam.

Instructional videos and cards are available at the hospital and Planned Parenthood, she said.

The three things to look for in self-exams are:

n A lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area;

n A change in size or shape of the breast;

n Puckering, dimpling or redness of breast skin.

"We all should be aware of our bodies so we can know change is happening," Lopeman said.

Women are not the sole warriors in the breast cancer battle. Men also have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It is more common than people think," Lopeman said, adding that men with family histories of breast cancer,and those with a lot of breast tissue also need to perform self-exams and visit their physician regularly.

Lopeman said the Infusion Center handles all types of cancer and has education information available.

"Today we have more survivors than ever before due to better treatments all the way around," she said.



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