Early Detection is Best ProtectionCelebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The focus of attention is on educating women about the importance of early detection. Because more women are having mammograms to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, breast cancer deaths are on the decline. Encourage the women in your life to get mammograms on a regular basis!

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States. More than 207,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The chance of a woman having breast cancer sometime during her life is 1 in 8, and early detection is the key to effective treatment. Learn the steps you can take to detect breast cancer early—when it is most treatable.

For more information, call 1-800-813-HOPE (4673), e-mail info@cancercare.org, or visit www.cancercare.org.

Mark Your Calendar for Thursday, October 14

Stop by the Waterman Information Desk (3rd floor, by the Registrar's Desk) between 8 AM and 2 PM for brochures and a free Breast Cancer Prevention Ribbon.

Join us for a brown bag lunch with other breast cancer survivors in Waterman 427A from noon to 1:00 PM.

Breast Cancer Survival Stories

Photo of Jill TaruleI believe I am cancer free because my tumors were detected early—both times—33 years ago and last year. Don’t let fear keep you from taking care of your health. Being vigilant and getting the right tests at the right time may make all the difference—in treatments and to ensure a long life.

Jill Mattuck Tarule
Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Photo of Susan BittermanA routine mammogram saved my life.  Having never had to even go back for a "do-over" in all my years of annual checks, it was a shock and surprise to find that I did, in fact, have breast cancer. It was small, non-aggressive—and early detection was critical to my successful treatment and happy ending.

Susan G. Bittermann
Business Manager, President's Office

I was doing a breast self-exam when I felt the “dreaded lump.”  It was large and seemed to appear out of nowhere, so I thought I must have a cyst. Two weeks later I saw my women’s health nurse practitioner. She did her usual careful breast exam and also thought it was a cyst.  To be sure, she changed my routine mammogram to a diagnostic test with ultrasound.

Photo of FlowersWhen I saw both the radiologist and the resident come into the room after the ultrasound, I knew I was in trouble. They indicated that I had several lymph nodes that looked abnormal and the findings were "highly suggestive of breast cancer." I immediately had a biopsy which came back positive. My breast cancer happened to be a particularly aggressive form, so I was very happy that I had done my breast self-exam in between my routine mammograms (which had always been normal) so that I could start on treatment immediately upon finding the mass. If I had not done this, the cancer may have spread to other parts of my body.

While risk factors may be present which make one more attentive to do self-monitoring, I had no history of breast cancer in my immediate family and both my parents were healthy and lived to be in their nineties. My experience highlighted for me the importance of knowing your body well and self-screening.

Judith A. Cohen, PhD, RN
Professor, Department of Nursing
UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Photo of FlowersI started screening tests for breast cancer at about age 40. Several years later I missed a scheduled mammogram due to an extended trip out of town. It took me two-and-a-half years to reschedule that screening mammogram.

The year I restarted screening, the mammogram showed signs of cancer in my left breast. Additional diagnostic tests indicated a high probability for cancer in both breasts. Biopsies were ordered and performed. The results indicated bilateral breast cancer.

Because of early detection I had relatively few cancer treatments and no axillary lymph node dissections. As a result, my white and red blood cell counts did not fall much below normal and I did not experience the degree of impact to my immune system and energy levels that some people experience. Finally, with early detection and bilateral mastectomy, I did not need to undergo radiation treatments.

Thanks to early detection and treatment, I have an excellent prognosis over the long-term, with very low probabilities for recurrence and mortality due to breast cancer.

University of Vermont

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