October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted at: 09/25/2012 2:56 PM
By: Joan Lucas

October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began more than 25 years ago and today continues to educate the nation on the importance of breast health and cancer screenings. The campaign was designed to encourage women to practice regular self-breast exams and to work with their doctors on early detection of breast disease.

Breast tumors begin in the cells within breast tissues. They are composed of old or damaged cells which have built up to form a lump. If tumors are detected by you or your physician, treatment is done to determine the nature of the mass. Tumors in the breast are labeled either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors are not as harmful as malignant tumors.

The National Cancer Institute says that benign tumors:

  • are rarely a threat to life
  • can be removed and usually don't grow back
  • don't invade the tissues around them
  • don't spread to other parts of the body

Malignant tumors, meanwhile:

  • may be a threat to life
  • often can be removed but sometimes grow back
  • can invade and damage nearby organs and tissues (such as the chest wall)
  • can spread to other parts of the body

Breast cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor. This is called metastasis. These cancer cells can enter blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into all the tissues of the body. The cancer cells may be found in lymph nodes near the breast and eventually begin to form tumors in other parts of the body. This is why it is important that women learn how to do self-exams on their breasts and keep regular appointments with their medical providers. Awareness and early detection are a woman’s best defenses against this disease.

The Lovelace Women’s Hospital Breast Care Center is New Mexico’s only breast care center accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers for providing the highest level of quality care to its patients. Our team of breast health professionals will help you assess your risk of developing breast cancer, guide you through mammograms and clinical exams and teach you the proper method of breast self-examination. We also offer counseling, education and support programs.

For more information or to schedule a clinical breast exam or mammogram, call 505.727.6900 or visit our website.

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