Breast Cancer Overview
Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives. Breast cancer kills more women in the United States than any cancer except lung cancer. No one knows why some women get breast cancer, but there are a number of risk factors. Risks that you cannot change include
- Age - the chance of getting breast cancer rises as a woman gets older
- Genes - there are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that greatly increase the risk. Women who have family members with breast or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested.
- Personal factors - beginning periods before age 12 or going through menopause after age 55
Other risks include being overweight, using hormone replacement therapy (also called menopausal hormone therapy), taking birth control pills, drinking alcohol, not having children or having your first child after age 35 or having dense breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in size or shape of the breast or discharge from a nipple. Breast self-exam and mammography can help find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Treatment may consist of radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
Men can have breast cancer, too, but the number of cases is small.
Breast Cancer Screening
Through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides low-income, uninsured, and underserved women access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services.
Implementation of health care reform through the Affordable Care Act will increase access to breast and cervical cancer screening services for many low-income, underserved women through expanded insurance coverage and eliminating cost-sharing. But even with adequate health insurance, many women will still face substantial barriers to obtaining breast and cervical cancer screening such as geographic isolation, limited health literacy or self-efficacy, lack of provider recommendation, inconvenient times to access services, and language barriers.
Information about Getting ScreenedTo find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram and Pap test and where to get screened, call toll free:
CDC funding for a capacity-building program for breast and cervical cancer early detection began in 1993. Subsequent funding for a comprehensive program was awarded in 1996.
Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Bureau of Family Health Services
Alabama Department of Public Health
PO Box 303017
Montgomery, AL 36130-3017
1 (877) 252-3324
Fax: (334) 206-2950
201 Monroe Street, Suite 1364
Montgomery, AL 36104
A Primer for Women’s Health: Learn about Your Body in 52 Weeks
The Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is delighted to provide you with “A Primer for Women’s Health: Learn about Your Body in 52 Weeks.” This online resource aims to promote healthy lifestyles by offering practical guidelines and strategies women can use every day to reduce the risk of developing illnesses or conditions that can affect your quality of life. Select the App or Blog link in the image below to access.
Latest News from MedlinePlus
FDA Office of Women's Health: Pink Ribbon Sunday
The FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH) launched the Pink Ribbon Sunday program to educate African American and Hispanic women about early detection of breast cancer through mammography. The program strives to reduce breast cancer health disparities by empowering community leaders to develop mammography awareness programs tailored to the needs of their region. Pink Ribbon Sunday originally targeted churches, but the program has since expanded to all types of organizations serving women from diverse ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds.
This booklet has lists of questions that you may want to ask your doctor. Many people find it helpful to take a list of questions to a doctor visit. To helpremember what your doctor says, you can take notes. You may also want to have a family member or friend go with you when you talk with the doctor—to take notes, ask questions, or just listen.
National Cancer Institute - What You Need to Know
What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer by the National Cancer Institute is a booklet about medical care for women with breast cancer. Learning about medical care for breast cancer can help you take an active part in making choices about your care.
This booklet has lists of questions that you may want to ask your doctor. Many people find it helpful to take a list of questions to a doctor visit. To help remember what your doctor says, you can take notes. You may also want to have a family member or friend go with you when you talk with the doctor—to take notes, ask questions, or just listen.