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Home » Women’s Health » Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer in Cincinnati, OH

Regular examinations and screening for breast cancer are essential to women’s health and Crescent Women’s Medical Group, led by board-certified gynecologists (OB-GYN) Drs. Chandra Gravely and Cindy Hansel, provides comprehensive screening care for women in the Cincinnati and Blue Ash areas of Ohio.

Breast cancer is among the most common types of cancer affecting women, and even women with no family history of breast cancer may be at risk. It is recommended that average women have breast cancer screenings at least every one to two years. Women over 50 and those with higher risk factors should be screened more frequently, as directed by a medical professional.

  • If caught early enough, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent.
  • Approximately 230,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. over 40,000 women die of breast cancer yearly.
  • One in 10 mammogram patients requires follow-up screening.
  • Less than 0.4 percent of mammogram patients are diagnosed with cancer.

Our staff is committed to helping each woman assess her individual risk factors and develop a personalized wellness program to reduce risk factors and provide adequate breast cancer screenings. These screenings may include annual mammograms, breast sonogram and/or breast MRIs performed annually, or as directed by a health care professional.

During your annual exam at Crescent Women’s Medical Group, we will help you better understand your personal risk factors. We recommend staying abreast of your family health history; however only approximately five to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary, and over 80 percent of breast cancer patients have little to no family history, so it is important to receive regular screenings even if you do not have any family history of breast cancer.

  • The risk of a woman getting breast cancer during her lifetime among the general population is 12 percent, including women with no family history.
  • In women who have one first-degree relative, such as a mother, sister or daughter, the risk is 24 percent or twice the general population.
  • Approximately five to 10 percent of women carry a gene mutation for breast cancer, which increases the lifetime risk to 80 percent, or seven times that of the general population.

Risk Reduction

You can make many healthy lifestyle modifications to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Studies show that having your first child while under the age of 30 and breastfeeding dramatically reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Research also suggests that women with a low–fat diet have a modest decrease in risk of invasive breast cancer. Fill up on antioxidant foods that fight cancer, such as fresh local fruits and vegetables. Fried foods, sweets, fatty foods and red meat should be eaten sparingly, and processed foods should be avoided.

Obesity increases breast cancer risk due to excessive production of estrogen in fatty tissue. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important factors that may protect you from developing breast cancer. Regular exercise for 30 minutes or more several times weekly may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer while also reducing stress and lowering your risk of heart disease.

Although some studies have shown a connection between alcohol consumption and increased breast cancer risk, no definitive conclusions have been drawn. We recommend that you stay on the safe side and limit your consumption of alcohol to one drink daily or skip the alcohol altogether.

Although there is limited research linking cigarette smoking to breast and ovarian cancer, a direct link between tobacco use and many other forms of cancer has been found.

Certain chemical agents are known to contribute to breast cancer and should be avoided. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen that is commonly used in the lining of food cans and has been directly linked to increased breast cancer risk, reproductive problems, obesity, ADHD, immune system disorders and other health problems. We recommend reducing your BPA exposure by avoiding canned foods, particularly acidic, salty or fatty foods since BPA leaches from can linings into these kinds of foods at higher rates. BPA is also found in plastics, such as kitchenware and water bottles, so it is safer to choose stainless steel or glass. Also, avoid microwaving food in plastic containers —even those labeled “microwave-safe” – because BPA and other chemicals from plastic containers leach into your food when heated.

In general, avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and choose products made by companies that disclose their ingredient list. Many homemakers prepare non-toxic cleaning products using safe kitchen ingredients, such as baking soda and vinegar. Non-stick pans and stain-resistant materials also often contain toxic polyfluorinated chemicals. Choose stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron pots and pans over those coated with non-stick surfaces, and avoid stain-resistant clothing and carpets.

Whenever possible, choose organic foods, and meat and dairy products from animals not treated with hormones. Organic farming reduces pesticide use, keeps groundwater safer and provides healthier food, which benefits families, farm workers and the environment.

Early Detection is Critical to Survival

  • When breast cancer is detected early enough, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. However, this drops to 84 percent for regional disease and 23 percent when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Although early detection dramatically increases survival rates, many women forego regular breast health surveillance and recommended cancer screenings.
  • Only 65 percent of women in the U.S. have ever had a mammogram, and only 54 percent of those had a repeat mammogram within three years.
  • Our specialists use a validated breast cancer screening test that takes into account clinical risk factors and genetic markers, making it possible to reclassify 64 percent of all patients with above average Gail scores and better identify those patients who may require further screening or preventive care.

Breast Cancer Screenings

We encourage all of our patients regardless of age to investigate whether or not breast cancer runs in their family. By assessing breast cancer patterns in families, we can determine which screening protocol is best suited for each of our individual patients over the course of their lifetime.

Breast cancer screening may include a clinical exam, self-breast exam and a mammogram. We recommend that all three be performed regularly for maximum protection. If any of these screenings turn up anything suspicious, more in-depth screening methods will be applied.

Self-breast exam

It is important to bear in mind that a self-breast exam does not take the place of a clinical exam or mammogram, but rather helps a woman become familiar with her normal breast tissue in order to note any changes. While certain changes in breast tissue may simply be attributable to metabolic and hormonal fluctuations, such as menstruation, we encourage our patients to inform us of any differences that they notice. We recommend a self-breast exam at least once monthly immediately following the menstrual period in order to avoid tender and swollen breast tissue. Women who no longer menstruate should choose a consistent day of the month for their self-exam.

Clinical breast exam

Our specialists perform the clinical breast exam to gauge changes in breast tissue. The clinical breast exam is much like the self-exam but performed by a health professional. Our team is trained to assess lumps or other changes in breast tissue. While the clinical breast exam does not replace a mammogram, it often provides sufficient screening for healthy women under 40 with low-risk factors for breast cancer. We recommend a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and yearly for women 40 and over.

Mammography

Mammography, or mammogram, is an X-ray procedure that takes images of the breast in order to detect any changes in breast tissue that may have been missed during a clinical breast exam. Women between the ages of 40-50 should call us to schedule their first diagnostic exam. For women between 50-74 years old, we recommend a mammogram every two years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, please let us know, regardless of your age, so we may recommend the most appropriate testing protocol for you.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Get used to examining your own breasts so you can determine what is normal for you and contact our office immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening of breast tissue in the breast or near the armpit.
  • Swelling, heat, redness or darkening of any area of the breast.
  • Changes in breast size or shape.
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin in the breast area.
  • The appearance of an itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast.
  • Discharge from the nipple that begins suddenly.
  • New, chronic pain in one specific spot or area.

If you discover a lump or change in your breast tissue, you should schedule an appointment immediately for a clinical breast exam.

Lumps in the breast are actually fairly common, particularly in women who are still menstruating. These lumps normally disappear by the end of your menstrual cycle. Most lumps are benign, meaning they are not cancerous, but it is important to never ignore a change or lump in your breast. The best advice is to contact our office and come in for a clinical breast exam.

At Crescent Women’s Medical Group, we understand it can be frightening for patients in Cincinnati, Blue Ash, and the surrounding communities of Ohio who find a lump, but please do not be alarmed. Rather, contact us for an appointment so we may help determine if further treatment is necessary.