Breast Cancer Care
At Beacon Health System, we give you the information and tools you need to support your breast health. While our primary goal is prevention and early detection, we also provide leading-edge breast cancer care.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
A risk factor is any situation that increases your chances of developing a disease. The following risk factors have been associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer:
- Age – Most symptoms of breast disease appear in women over age 35, with women over age 50 being at greatest risk for developing breast cancer. There is also evidence to suggest that the age factor may be related to menopause.
- Previous Breast Cancer – The risk of contracting a second breast cancer is greater for women who have a personal history of breast cancer.
- Family History – A woman with a close relative who has had breast cancer has a two to four times increased risk of developing it. This risk is increased if relatives were diagnosed at a young age (younger than 50), if they had cancer in both breasts and if more than one relative on the same side of the family has had cancer. About 5-10% of cancers are hereditary, meaning a person is born with a genetic change that increases their lifetime risk to develop cancer. Depending on the characteristics of the family history, genetic testing may be helpful to understand cancer risk.
- Reproductive – Women who have not had children, or those who have their first child after age 30, are usually considered at higher risk for breast cancer. It is also thought that having a first child at an early age may have a protective effect against the disease.
- Hormonal – Early onset of the menstrual period and late menopause are associated with increased risk. Recent information has shown that there may be a slight increase in risk in women who use hormone replacement therapy for more than 10 years.
Remember that although risk factors are associated with increased incidence of breast cancer, this does not necessarily mean a woman with these factors will develop breast cancer. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of women with breast cancer have no risk factors at all. Thus, screening mammograms are important regardless of whether a woman has any risk factors.
Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention
There are things you can do to protect your breast health. Performing self-exams and having routine clinical breast exams and mammograms (specialized X-rays of your breasts) can detect cancer in its earliest stages making it easier to treat. Learn more about recommended breast cancer screenings. At Beacon, we’re nationally recognized for our breast imaging services. Schedule a Screening Mammogram.
Why Choose Beacon?
If diagnosed with cancer, your team will review all of your test results with you and work collaboratively to develop a treatment plan that is best for you. Your team may consist of a surgeon, medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist, depending on the specific details of your cancer. During your consultation, you’ll be able to discuss your questions and concerns and talk about your plan of care with your oncologist. Your Beacon provider can also arrange for a second opinion through the Mayo Clinic at no charge. If you have an increased risk for breast cancer, our genetic counselor can advise you about how to protect your health.
We understand that cancer affects more than just your body. That’s why we also offer educational resources and support groups to help you and your family during your cancer journey.
Breast Cancer Treatments
We treat all types and stages of breast tumors, both pre-cancerous and cancerous. Nearly all breast cancer patients will have surgery as part of their treatment plan. Radiation and chemotherapy are often also used depending on the specific details of the patient’s disease. Beacon offers advanced treatment options for treating breast cancer, including targeted therapies that attack specific targets and spare healthy tissues. For example, during radiation, patients can be treated while laying on their belly or do a special breathing exercise while laying on their back to minimize the dose to their heart. Beacon’s multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care connects teams focused on delivering the highest quality care to each individual patient.