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With Breast Cancer Awareness month just behind us, it’s important to remember that lifestyle choices and regular screenings throughout the year are essential to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. Even though conversations such as these can be difficult, it’s also important to know that if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you have treatment options, and our experienced breast cancer surgeons are on your side to guide you each step of the way.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the basics of preventing, detecting, and treating breast cancer. While this is only the beginning of many more in-depth conversations, we hope this guide will empower you with knowledge.
Can You Prevent Breast Cancer?
There is no one known cause of breast cancer, and in some cases, women are genetically predisposed to develop the disease. But there are ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. These preventive steps include a combination of lifestyle choices and regular screenings. Understanding the risk factors is the first step to making changes in your lifestyle if needed. You can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active
- Eating a fruit and vegetable-rich diet low in animal fats
- Being cautious about hormones used to manage menopause symptoms
- Managing stress
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
Tracking your family’s medical history is also important, along with conducting regular self-exams and scheduling breast imaging, breast ultrasound, and MRI screenings.
How To Detect & Diagnose Breast Cancer
Early detection is a key factor for the successful treatment of breast cancer. You can take specific steps to increase the chances of detecting and diagnosing breast cancer at its earliest stages. These include:
- Breast self-exams: Up to 40% of diagnosed breast cancers occur after the patient first feels a lump during a self-exam. By performing monthly self-exams, you’ll be familiar with the feel of your breasts and be better able to notice changes.
- 3D Mammograms: Periodic mammograms—X-ray images of the breasts—can reveal tissue changes, lumps, or tiny clusters of calcium that can be the first signs of cancer that other screening methods don’t show.
- Genetic testing (BRCA): Mutations in the genes that suppress tumors can be detected through genetic testing. Several factors may make someone a good candidate for genetic testing.
- Breast ultrasounds: Sound waves can determine if a breast lump is solid or a fluid-filled cyst. Breast ultrasounds are often recommended to follow up on an abnormal mammogram finding.
- Biopsies: If a mammogram reveals a suspicious lump, a biopsy removes a small sample of breast tissue that is then evaluated to determine if the lump is malignant or benign.
How To Treat Breast Cancer
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, our breast cancer surgeons will explain your treatment options. We do this in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Patient Education act, which ensures patients’ rights to understand their treatment and breast reconstruction options fully. The appropriate treatment is based on the type and stage of the cancer. These treatment options include:
- Anti-Hormone Therapy
- SWIM Breast Reconstruction
- Minimally Invasive Lumpectomy
- Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction
- Radiation Therapy
Bedford Breast Center is a world-class facility offering breast cancer screening and treatment for women in the Greater Los Angeles area and women who travel to our Beverly Hills location from outside the region.