Breast Health Newsletter | Newsletter 2000 | Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network

The Women's Health Resource. On the web since 1997. Breast Health Newsletter

February 3, 2000 - Volume 2, Issue 3

Comprehensive Information of Breast Cancer and Breast Health Issues


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February 3, 2000

1. In the News:
- New Study Links Hormone Replacement Therapy To Breast Cancer Risk...
A new study shows that women who take combined hormone replacement therapy—estrogen and progesterone— for more than five years may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who take estrogen alone. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is commonly prescribed for post-menopausal women to decrease the frequency of menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness). HRT has also been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Physicians are not discouraging women from using HRT, but the results of the study suggest that women on HRT (or those considering HRT) who have a strong family history of breast cancer may wish to carefully evaluate long-term HRT use. Medical experts are quick to point out that the results of this latest study do not conclusively show that HRT increases the risk of breast cancer.
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- New Antibacterial Solution May Reduce Complications From Breast Implants...
Researchers have discovered that the use of a combination of three antibacterial agents during surgery may reduce capsular contracture, a common complication of saline breast implants. Capsular contracture is a condition in which the scar around the implant begins to tighten and squeezes down on the implant, causing the breast to feel hard. According to the American Cancer Society, 93% of implant removals are the result of capsular contracture.
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- Breast Cancer Ad Campaign Features Models with Mastectomy Scars...
In mid-January, The Breast Cancer Fund launched a new advertising campaign that aims to promote breast cancer awareness by super-imposing breast removal scars on professional models. The ads, which were placed at 37 bus shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area, mimic magazine ads for Obsession perfume, Cosmopolitan magazine and Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalogs. According to The Breast Cancer Fund, the goals of the provocative ad campaign are to increase public awareness and involvement in breast cancer issues, to replace the fear of breast cancer with the desire to act, to educate and provide ways for the public to help fight the disease, and to promote discussion about breast cancer among children and young adults.
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- New Research Shows Soy May Prevent Breast Cancer...
A preliminary study revealed that diets containing soy protein help protect against breast cancer. The study found that a soy protein diet prevented approximately 25% of breast cancers that had been chemically induced in test rats. Though the study must be confirmed by additional research, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said that the study is significant and stresses the link between nutrition and health.
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2. Frequently Asked Questions about Breast Cancer Treatment
How is breast cancer treated? What is staging? What is the difference between lumpectomy and mastectomy? What is sentinel node biopsy? What are the side effects of breast surgery? What is breast reconstruction? What is radiation therapy? What is chemotherapy? What are the side effects of chemotherapy? What is tamoxifen? What other drugs are commonly used to treat breast cancer? What are the signs of a breast cancer recurrence? This section addresses these common questions and more.
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3. Breast Cancer Recurrence
Occasionally breast cancer can return after primary treatment. There are three types of recurrent breast cancer: local, regional and distant recurrences. Local recurrences occur at the same site as the original cancer. Regional recurrences occur in the lymph nodes or chest muscles. Distant recurrences occur in other areas (such as bone, lung, liver or brain). This article discusses these types of recurrences with emphasis on symptoms and treatments.
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4. Nipple Discharge
Nipple discharge is the third most common breast complaint for which women seek medical attention after lumps and breast pain. A woman's breasts have some degree of fluid secretion activity throughout most of the adult life. The majority of nipple discharges are associated with non-malignant changes in the breast such as hormonal imbalances. However, any woman with a suspicious or worrisome nipple discharge should consult her physician. This article lists nipple discharge symptoms and causes, as well as explains examination and treatment options.
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5. Locate a Certified Mammography Facility in Your Area
Mammography is available at numerous accredited locations in most areas. To date, over 11,000 mammography facilities have been accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) in the U.S., meeting quality standards as determined by the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). The Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a Mammography Site Database. This article provides access to the FDA database of mammography locations within the fifty U.S. states and Puerto Rico. You may use this tool to help find mammography centers conveniently located near your home or place of work.
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6. Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Breast Cancer
Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing. Radiation therapy is often used to destroy any remaining breast cancer cells in the breast, chest wall, or axilla (underarm) area after lumpectomy. Treatment with radiation usually begins one month after surgery, allowing the breast tissue adequate time to heal. Radiation therapy may occasionally be recommended for women to destroy remaining cancer cells after mastectomy (surgical removal of the affected breast) or to shrink tumors in patients with advanced breast cancer. This article explains both external beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy) and their side effects.
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