Facts About Breast Cancer

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S., other than skin cancer
  • The five-year survival rate when breast cancer is detected in stage one is more than 90%
  • The risk for developing breast cancer increases with age
  • Prompt access to care in the Appalachia Region has been recognized as a barrier to care and as why women in this region are often diagnosed with more advanced stages of breast cancer
  • While there is an increase in breast cancer nationwide, death associated with the disease is on the decline because of early detection 


Breast Health - Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Common symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast
  • Changes in the size or shape of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Discharge, sometimes bloody, from the nipple
  • Changes in skin color or texture on the breast, nipple or areola

Because breast cancer usually doesn't show symptoms in its early stages, early detection is important for breast health. Often, some symptoms are not due to cancer but could be related to another health problem. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your doctor so that proper diagnoses and treatment can begin.

Risk Factors

There are at least 25 risk factors beyond a genetic link—including just being a woman—that increase the risk of getting breast cancer. Some of these include:

  • Family History: Even without a genetic link, women who have a family history of cancer are at increased risk. One immediate family member with breast cancer doubles a woman’s risk.
  • Age: A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer nearly doubles between ages 50 and 75.
  • Dense Breasts: It is thought that women with dense breasts (as identified on a mammogram) are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer.
  • Children: Having a first child after age 35 increases a woman’s risk, while having children younger and breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Use of artificial estrogen and progesterone after menopause increases a woman’s risk, but this risk can be minimized by using low doses for shorter periods.

As you consider your personal risk, you can start by taking the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool. Many experts say that this tool is only the beginning. Every woman should have a thorough discussion with her doctor about her personal health history and risk of breast cancer.


If you have an existing primary care physician, advanced practice provider or gynecologist, call 740-779-7711 to schedule your routine mammogram.

There are a number of types of exams to determine if cancer is present:

Clinical Breast Exam

During a clinical breast exam, your doctor checks your breasts. Your doctor is looking for signs such as differences in size or shape between your breasts, the skin of your breasts is checked for abnormal signs, your nipples are checked for fluid, lymph nodes near the breast are checked to see if they are enlarged and you will also be checked for lumps. If a lump is found, it will be checked for size, shape, and texture.


Mammograms, which are pictures of the breast tissue, can usually detect a breast lump before it can be felt. Along with lumps, mammograms can also show a cluster of calcium, called micro-calcifications. These can be from cancerous or precancerous cells, or other conditions. Further tests may be needed to determine if abnormal cells are present.

Additional Imaging Tests

Sometimes your doctor may order additional imaging tests. This occurs usually if an abnormal area is found during initial testing. These tests may include an Ultrasound or MRI. An ultrasound device sends out sound waves and a computer uses the sound waves to create a picture that will show more information about the lump. A MRI uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer, which creates detailed pictures of breast tissue, which will illustrate a variation between normal and diseased tissue.


A biopsy is the final test to determine if you have cancer. This is the removal of tissue to look for cancer cells. There are several types of biopsies, ranging from fine-needle to surgical. Depending on where the fluid or tissue is, your doctor will select which biopsy option will work best in your case.


Although a breast self-exam is not recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer, knowing how your breasts normally look and feel can help you detect changes in your breasts. The Susan G. Komen Foundation lists the following changes in your breasts as possible warning signs for breast cancer:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away



Related Specialties

Breast Health

It is estimated that about 13 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives. However, as treatments improve and technology advances, the death rate for breast cancer is steadily going down. According to the American Cancer Society, the five year survival rate for breast cancer is 90 percent. 

Call Adena Cancer Center 740-542-3030

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