Women's Health Facts and Information
Saint Clare’s provides the following facts and links for further information on women’s health issues. We encourage you to contact us at 1-866-STCLARE for additional information or if you have any questions.
Women and Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Statistics
- Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women other than skin cancer.
- Approximately 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2011.
- About 57,650 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer) in women in the United States in 2011.
- Breast cancer will be responsible for approximately 39,520 deaths among women in the United States in 2011.
- Women living in the United States have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime.
- The survival rates from breast cancer drastically improve with early detection, stressing the importance of early screening and monthly self breast exams.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer?
- Lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
- A rash on the skin of the breast around the nipple.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated?
You and your doctor will develop a treatment plan with three key goals:
- Removing the cancer in your breast.
- Reducing the odds of the cancer traveling to other parts of your body.
- Reducing the chance that the cancer will return.
Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic:
- Local treatments are used to remove, destroy or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments.
- Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments.
- A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her needs.
How Can I Protect Myself From Breast Cancer?
Follow these four steps for early detection:
- Get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40. Mammograms are an important part of your health history. If you go to another healthcare provider, or move, take the film (mammogram) with you.
- Women at increased risk (e.g. family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests (i.e. breast ultrasound and MRI), or having more frequent exams.
- Examine your breast each month after age 20. You will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
- Have your breast examined by a healthcare provider at least once every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. Clinical breast exams can detect lumps that may not be detected by mammogram.
Women and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number 1 killer of American women. According to the American Heart Association:
- An estimated 460,000 women die annually of cardiovascular disease.
- More women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
- 1 in 3 American women die of heart disease, compared to 1 in 30 women that die of breast cancer.
- Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
- Eighty percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if they make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
Women and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, a degeneration of bones that cause them to break easily, is another condition prevalent in the female populations. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:
- Nearly half of all women older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
- By 2010, an estimated 52 million Americans will be affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass.
- In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals are estimated to have osteoporosis and more than 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.
- Of the 10 million Americans estimated to have osteoporosis, eight million are women and two million are men.
- Significant risk has been reported in people of all ethnic backgrounds.
- Often thought of as an older person's disease, osteoporosis can strike at any age.
- Twenty percent of non-Hispanic Caucasian and Asian women aged 50 and older are estimated to have osteoporosis, and 52 percent are estimated to have low bone mass.
- Seven percent of non-Hispanic Caucasian and Asian men aged 50 and older are estimated to have osteoporosis, and 35 percent are estimated to have low bone mass.
Osteoporosis is a disease that progresses painlessly. The only sure way to determine bone density and fracture risk for osteoporosis is to have a bone mass measurement (also called bone mineral density or BMD test). Your doctor can help determine if you should have a BMD test performed.
These links are provided for informational purposes only. Saint Clare's Health System is not responsible for maintenance of the web sites and the information they provide. Always consult your physician or specialist about altering your medication or treatment plan.