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February is Heart Awareness Month!

Red puzzle heart with stethoscope on brown wooden backgroundHeart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women in the United States, killing one in every three females. These are your mothers, sisters, daughters and best friends. Women’s health must be a priority and heart disease cannot be overlooked—it’s not a “man’s disease” as once thought by so many.

Do you know the symptoms of heart attacks for women?

Heart Attack Symptoms For Women

The American Heart Association lists the following symptoms as the main heart attack indicators for women.

  • Focused in the chest, an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, pain or fullness. The feeling(s) may last several minutes and then go away, only to return.
  • Pain and/or discomfort in the arms (one or both)
  • Pain and/or discomfort in other areas such as the stomach, back, neck and jaw.
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, with or without discomfort or pain.
  • Lightheadedness and nausea.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat.

It’s extremely important to note that women can and do experience heart attacks without having any chest pressure or pain, the most common heart attack symptom for men. A women’s heart attack is not a man’s heart attack, which is why it makes it critical to know and to be able to recognize these symptoms.

Important: Please contact 9-1-1 and get to a hospital if you experience any of these symptoms or suspect that you may be having a heart attack.

The American Heart Association urges everyone to remember, “women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.”

What Causes a Heart Attack?

When your heart can’t get oxygen because blood flow has been blocked, a heart attack happens. Typically, this occurs as a result of coronary heart disease, states the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ( NHLBI). A heart attack also may happen when a coronary artery spasms severely. The spasm cuts off blood flow through the artery and causes a heart attack. This type of heart attack may be caused by a reaction to a specific drug, cigarette smoking, severe emotional stress or pain and even exposure to extreme cold temperatures. Unfortunately, 64% of women who die from heart disease show no previous symptoms. This is what experts call, silent coronary heart disease.

How to Prevent (Silent) Heart Attacks?

Several factors can increase your risk for heart disease, which can lead to a life-threatening heart attack. This include but are not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor dietary choices
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol abuse or overuse
  • Smoking and drug use

If you have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor for recommendations on how to lower your risk for heart disease and potentially fatal heart attacks.

Any women who finds herself experiencing one or more of the heart attack symptoms listed above, should immediately get help. Don’t brush your symptoms off as the flu or your imagination. Your health is important. You are important.

New Year, New You!

It’s a new year and now is the time to make wellness and a healthy lifestyle a priority. Start off the new year right with better food choices designed to improve women’s health. There are several, easy and affordable ways to cut calories, increase nutrient intake and feel better about your food choices.

Eat More Food

Eating more food simply means eating more whole foods or food that has not been processed in some manner. Whole foods like apples, unsalted almonds and fresh berries can be a healthier choice for a mid-morning snack versus even a low-fat granola bar. With a whole apple, unsalted nuts and other whole food choices, your body enjoys important nutrients that can help fight heart disease and even breast cancer.

Nutrition tip: A single serving of unsalted almonds (about seven almonds) has 22 milligrams of calcium plus fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin E and other essential nutrients. It’s a heart-smart snack.

Produce Versus Processed

Spend some time in the produce section of your grocery store, make it your first stop when shopping. The middle aisles of most grocery stores are home to processed items like boxed dinner kits, sugar-laden sauces and cereals with added nutrients. Instead of relying on a box of cereal for your daily recommended amount of fiber or vitamins, look to whole food choices like sweet potatoes, a good source of fiber as well as vitamin A. Fill your cart with a variety of different fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a promise to yourself to try at least one new fruit or vegetable every week or every visit to the store.

The Mayo Clinic reports that blueberries are packed with phytonutrients that have the potential to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers. If fresh blueberries aren’t in season, opt for frozen blueberries packaged without any preservatives or additives like sugar. Toss a handful into the blender with a cup of Greek yogurt, one-half cup of unsweetened orange juice and a medium banana for an easy, delicious and nutrient-rich smoothie.

Read the Label

When you do opt for packaged items, remember to read the nutrition label to stay on track with your healthy food choices and portion control. Often we underestimate the actual size of a single serving. At the top of the nutrition label is the serving size — always check there first, because what you may think is a single or two serving item, may really be three, four or more servings per package. Check the labels and avoid packaged items with trans-fats and high percentages of cholesterol, sugar and sodium.

Everyone can make healthier food choices in the new year. Start by adding fresh berries to a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead of flying out the door with a donut high in saturated fat. Grab a handful of unsalted almonds when the 2 p.m. munchies hit instead of a candy bar from the vending machine. Swap out French fries for a baked sweet potato. Don’t forget to drink your water. You can do this. The smallest change can make a difference. It’s a new year and anything is possible.  

Breast Cancer and Exercise

A healthy lifestyle combining nutrition and exercise can be beneficial in reducing breast cancer risks in some women.The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC ) reported in 2009 and 2010, more than one-third of adults in the United States were obese. With a definitive relationship established between increased body weight/weight gain and breast cancer among women, the benefits of regular exercise play an important role in the fight against breast cancer.

Battling weight to battle cancer

Unfortunately for women, weight gain causes not only a tighter waistband but also an increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. A recent studied by the Institute of Cancer Research reported that among women fighting breast cancer, obese women usually have higher estrogen levels than women who are not obese. Since many breast cancers need estrogen to grow, doctors tend use hormone-blocking treatments. Treatment may include a drug such as an aromatase inhibitor, which is a hormone-suppressing drug. It is possible however; weight loss through exercise and nutrition also may be beneficial when attempting to reduce estrogen levels in breast cancer patients and those at risk for breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages regular, intentional physical activity or exercise to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Regular exercise also may reduce the risk of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. The ACS guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes (two and one-half hours) of moderately intense exercise/activity per week, 75 minutes (one hour and fifteen minutes) of vigorously intense exercise/activity per week or a combination of both moderate and vigorous exercise spread throughout a seven-day period.

Types of exercise

Women’s health and wellness routines must include some levels of exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, especially when fighting breast cancer. Incorporating moderate and even intense exercise into a daily routine doesn’t have to be costly or stressful.

Moderate exercise should raise your heart rate, cause you to sweat yet you should still be able to hold a conversation without gasping for breath. Inexpensive ways to exercise moderately include taking a brisk/fast walk through your neighborhood or local park, pushing a lawn mower or riding a bicycle.

Vigorous exercise makes you breathe harder and it may be difficult to hold a conversation while exercising. Examples include jogging, playing a game of basketball, soccer or tennis and swimming laps (not leisurely swimming, concentrated strokes to raise the heart rate.)

Gardening, playing with your kids and household chores such as vacuuming and mopping are other ways simply to get moving. Every time you get up and do something active, you are helping your overall health. Reducing sedimentary habits can help fight weight gain as well.

In addition, it’s important to remember to eat nutritionally balanced meals that do not exceed recommended daily caloric intake. If you’re not sure what your caloric intake should be, talk to your doctor. Before beginning any exercise routine it is important to talk first to your doctor to determine what is best for your health.

Breast Cancer Risk and Nutrition

Diet is perhaps the single largest controllable factor in a woman’s breast cancer risk. There are foods that increase your risk, and also foods that can significantly reduce it. By maintaining a healthy, varied diet rich in cancer-preventative foods, you are able to substantially cut your chances of breast cancer. Plus, eating a wide variety of nutritious foods is also part of a healthy lifestyle that goes beyond reducing cancer risk.

According to The American Cancer Society, a large number of women’s health studies have suggested that a diet low in animal fats can lead to lower rates of breast cancer. Cancer rates are lower in parts of the world where people eat less animal fat. Additionally, in tests on rodents, higher fat diets led to higher incidence of mammary cancers. Seek out low-fat protein options to keep your fat intake within recommended guidelines. For instance, opt for a lentil salad or vegetarian black bean chili for dinner. Try tilapia for an affordable, low-fat mild fish entree. Pick lean cuts when eating red meat, and take the skin off chicken. Preliminary studies seem to indicate that the younger you are when you adopt a low-fat diet, the more cancer protection it provides.

While no clear cause and effect has been established between eating fruit and vegetable and breast cancer risk reduction, it is well-known that eating plenty of vegetables is necessary for proper women’s nutrition. Vegetables are low in fat, but high in filling fiber. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick fruits and vegetables with colors through the rainbow to make sure you are getting a wide array of nutrients. Think yellow peppers, deep green kale, pale eggplant and vibrant red berries. Keeping cut veggies on the top shelf of your fridge makes them an easy snack.

One of the clearest dietary risks for cancer is alcohol consumption. Women who drink have a higher incidence of breast cancer than those who don’t. If you do imbibe, limit it to one alcoholic drink per day. This allows you to take advantage of the wellness benefits of beverages like red wine while limiting your cancer risk. Also, if you drink, be sure to consume plenty of folate-rich foods like fortified cereals and leafy greens. Although scientists don’t understand why, folate seems to help reduce cancer risk among women who drink.

Pursuing a healthy diet not only cuts down breast cancer risks, it helps reduce other health risk such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, a good diet leaves you feeling more energetic and provides a general sense of wellness. Commit to maintaining a healthy diet to cut your breast cancer risk and enjoy better health overall.

Good Habits for Breast Health at Every Age

A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately one in eight. In addition to following the early detection guidelines, there are habits women should pick up to protect themselves against increasing their risk of developing breast cancer. The following tips for women are meant to help you protect your breast health while monitoring any changes . This way, problems can be caught early. Early detection has been shown to be a key factor in surviving a breast cancer diagnosis. You’re In Your 20s The habits you develop in your 20s can help reduce your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. 
  1. Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. A clinical breast exam is a physical breast exam performed by a medical professional. During your 20s, a clinical breast exam and discussion about your overall health and personal risk factors is a good way to take stock of what’s “normal” for you. The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive a clinical breast exam every three years in their 20s and 30s. Some doctors consider breast self-exams optional, but it’s a smart idea to be familiar with your breasts so that you will notice any small changes which you’ll want to bring to the attention of your doctor.
  2. Find out if you are high risk. If breast cancer runs in your family, you’ll want to discuss with your doctor a personal plan for understanding your risk. For example, you may want to consider being tested for the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutations, which are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  3. Drink less alcohol. Dr. Anne McTiernan, the author of “Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” advocates no more than one drink per day. Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer. McTiernan notes that one drink a day does not mean you can abstain all week and drink a week’s worth of drinks on Saturday night.
  4. New moms should breastfeed for at least six months. Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, specifically for women who breast feed for one and a half to two years.  A study released by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed breastfeeding six months or longer reduced breast cancer risk by 20 percent.
  5. Exercise and eat right! Exercising at least 30 minutes per day, whether it’s by walking, biking, jogging, dancing or any other physical activity can reduce your breast cancer risk by about 20 percent. Plus, it’s a habit that is good for your bones, joints, heart and overall health. Eating healthy means limiting your intake of red meat to four ounces per day on average and avoiding processed meats like sausage and bologna. In addition, the National Cancer Institute has for years recommended eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
You’re In Your 30s Although breast cancer rates for women in their 30s are still pretty low, it’s time to start monitoring your breasts for changes. Cultivating breast health awareness is key in this decade. In addition to continuing the healthy habits you cultivated in your 20s, there are a few more things you can consider: 
  1. Get a clinical breast exam and become breast aware. Continuing to receive clinical breast exams every three years while in your 30s is part of the American Cancer Society’s early detection guidelines.
  2. Evaluate your risk to determine a plan of action. Monitor your own breasts for changes and report any concerns to your doctor. If you’re in a high risk group due to family history, your doctor may want you to start getting annual mammograms or MRIs. Additionally, your doctor can
  3. Keep stress in check. A recent study in Israel of women under 45 found that exposure to several stressful life events, such as divorce or death of parents, was associated with breast cancer. Cultivating happiness and optimism boosts your natural defense against illness. Simply adopting a “don’t worry, be happy” mantra won’t protect you from cancer, but a positive outlook will help you stick to all the other good habits you’ve developed, contributing to an overall healthy lifestyle.
You’re In Your 40s When you hit 40, you really need to start being vigilant about your health. At this point in life, breast cancer rates start to increase. In addition to limiting alcohol, eating right, exercising and limiting stress, remember to do the following:
  1. Schedule an annual mammogram and clinical exam. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year. Also, stay familiar with your own breasts: If you notice any changes, tell your doctor about them immediately. Chances are good that any changes you notice, such as fibrocystic breast changes, are harmless, but it’s still essential to have anything new or unusual checked out.
  2. Avoid unnecessary exposure to cancer-causing substances. This includes radiation and chemicals. Make sure that any physician who orders an x-ray for you, especially high dose types like CT scans, knows how many other xrays you’ve had. Unless it’s an emergency situation, you should ask if there are alternative examinations for your situation, such as an ultrasound or MRI. Your doctor will help you weigh the relative risk of momentary exposure to radiation versus not having an X-ray or CT scan that may be medically necessary. Scientists have identified over 200 potential breast carcinogens. Learn about them through the American Cancer Society’s analysis. Opt for foods and products containing mostly natural ingredients.
If You’re In Your 50s and Over As menopause hits, the risk of developing breast cancer rises. The average age of a woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which is why women in their 60s need to be more vigilant than ever about breast health. Taking care of your health beginning at age 50 is critical to reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. In addition to continuing to receive annual mammograms, eating right and staying active, there are a few additional habits you can pick up to reduce your risk of a breast cancer diagnosis.
  1. Avoid alcohol as much as possible.  A recent National Cancer Institute study of postmenopausal women found that women who had one to two small drinks a day were 32 percent more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer. Women who had three drinks or more had as high as 51 percent increased risk.
  2. Maintain a healthy body weight. A healthy weight is a body mass index (BMI) of 25 percent or less. Research has shown that being overweight or obese (specifically in post menopausal women) increases your risk, even if you put the weight on as an adult. Additionally, overweight women had lower breast cancer survival rates and a greater chance of more aggressive disease than average weight or underweight women.
  3. Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy definitely increases breast cancer risk, although for women with major menopausal issues, doctors at the Fred Hutchison Cancer recommend limited courses of HRT for no more than five years.
  4. Up your vitamin D intake. Although the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IUs, some researchers think that higher levels – 1,000 IUs a day – is a convenient and low cost way to reduce breast cancer risk. To check your levels of vitamin D, ask your doctor for a blood test. He or she will help you determine if a supplement would be beneficial for you.
No matter what your age, the habits you develop to stay healthy also help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. While eating right, exercising and following the guidelines for early detection don’t guarantee that you won’t develop breast cancer, they are good habits to improve your life overall and limit unnecessary increases to your breast cancer risk.

Expert Panel Issues Lymphedema White Paper: Calls for Early Detection and Intervention to Reduce Lymphedema Progression

Avon Foundation for Women-sponsored white paper reports latest lymphedema clinical advances that could benefit many of the 2.3 million U.S. breast cancer survivors 

A compression sleeve used in lympedema treatment

New York City, July 27, 2011 – An expert panel issued a white paper examining new evidence that shows early detection and intervention hold the greatest promise for reducing breast cancer-related lymphedema, which affects up to one-third of the 180,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients annually and 2.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. The Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the Lymphatic Research Foundation and the National Lymphedema Network, convened a group of leading scientists, clinicians and advocates in April 2011 to discuss recent advances in the early detection and early intervention of upper extremity lymphedema. The expert panel produced several recommendations, which are shared in a white paper released today, Recent Advances in Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Detection and Treatment.
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Introducing the B4Pink Pendant

One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Even more disturbing, approximately 40,000 women will die of breast cancer this year alone. The mission of the Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative (WBHI) is to reduce the incidence of undetected, untreated breast cancer among the some of the most vulnerable in our community: uninsured, at-risk women. That’s what the B4Pink movement is all about. We want to reach these women, get them screened and ultimately detect breast cancer when it is most treatable and beatable. We want to help them before they “turn pink.” To support our goal of knocking on 10,000 doors in 2011 to educate women and ensure that all women benefit from the early detection of breast cancer, regardless of their ability to pay, we need your help. We need your support. Please help us today by donating $25 to fight breast cancer one household at a time. Your generous donation goes directly to helping uninsured at-risk women receive mammograms and educational materials about the importance of breast health and early detection right in their own neighborhood. Introductory Offer – For a limited time with your minimum $25 donation (plus shipping & handling,) we would like to give you a B4Pink pendant to wear to show your support for early detection. This beautiful pendant has been designed to remind women about the importance of early detection. We hope you’ll wear the pendant proudly. Thank you for your continued support. Your generosity could save a life. To donate and receive your pendant, please click the banner to the left!

For Immediate Release: April Door to Door Outreach Offers Free Mammograms to Uninsured Women

The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative Florida Affiliate (WBHI) will be taking its mission of promoting early detection and awareness to the streets again for the 2011 April Outreach Campaign Saturday mornings on April 9, April 16, and April 23. Mar 30, 2011 – The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative Florida Affiliate (WBHI) will be taking its mission of promoting early detection and awareness to the streets again for the 2011 April Outreach Campaign Saturday mornings on April 9, April 16, and April 23. The goal of WBHI is to reduce the incidence of undetected, untreated breast cancer by providing women in underserved neighborhoods with the appropriate awareness, education and screening. WBHI volunteers will knock on the doors of households within the City of Miramar, delivering important breast health awareness packages, talking to residents, and making free mammogram appointments on the spot for women who qualify. On April 30, a mobile mammography van will visit the neighborhood and perform the screenings that were scheduled during the outreach. The organization plans to knock on a total of 10,000 doors this year. WBHI believes that all women have the right to benefit from the early detection of breast cancer regardless of their ability to pay, and fights breast cancer as a life threatening disease, one household at a time. Since 2006 WBHI has knocked on more than 33,000 doors to save lives in South Florida. Andrea Ivory, internationally recognized 2009 Top Ten CNN Hero, breast cancer survivor, and founder of WBHI knows that early detection saves lives, because it saved hers. She founded WBHI, the premiere source of free door to door breast health awareness, education and screening to the uninsured and underserved in South Florida. “Breast cancer kills our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, family and friends. ALL women are at risk for breast cancer. Although early detection saves lives, not all women have access and awareness;” states Andrea, “That’s what we’re out there to do.” The Women’s Imaging Center at Memorial Healthcare System supports the efforts of WBHI by collaborating to provide our participants with free screening right in the neighborhood served. Who: The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative Florida Affiliate What: Door to door campaign offering free breast health awareness, education and  mammograms to the uninsured and underserved. Where: City of Miramar, Florida 33025 When: April 9, 16, 23 – Starting – 8:30AM • April 30th –Starting at 9AM Contact: Andrea Ivory, Founder, Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, FL Affiliate 866–315–7711 # # #

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WBHI Takes to the Streets to Promote Early Cancer Detection, Breast Health Awareness

Breast Cancer Door to Door Outreach Offers Free Mammograms to at-risk women March 2, 2011 (Miami, Florida) – The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative (WBHI) will be taking its mission of promoting early detection and awareness to the streets again for the 2011 March Outreach Campaign Saturday mornings on March 5, March 12, and March 19. The goal of WBHI is to reduce the incidence of undetected, untreated breast cancer by providing women in underserved neighborhoods with the appropriate awareness, education and screening. WBHI volunteers will knock on the doors of more than 1,400 households in the City of Miami Gardens, delivering important breast health awareness packages, talking to residents, and making free mammogram appointments on the spot for women who qualify. On March 26, a mobile mammography van will visit the neighborhood and perform the screenings that were scheduled during the outreach. The organization has already visited over 1,400 homes so far in 2011 and plans to knock on a total of 10,000 doors this year. WBHI believes that all women have the right to benefit from the early detection of breast cancer regardless of their ability to pay, and fights breast cancer as a life threatening disease, one household at a time. Since 2006 WBHI has knocked on more than 32,000 doors to save lives in South Florida. Andrea Ivory, internationally recognized 2009 Top Ten CNN Hero, breast cancer survivor, and founder of WBHI knows that early detection saves lives, because it saved hers. She founded WBHI, the premiere source of free door to door breast health awareness, education and screening to the uninsured and underserved in South Florida. “Breast cancer kills our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters, family and friends. ALL women are at risk for breast cancer. Although early detection saves lives, not all women have access and awareness;” states Andrea, “That’s what we’re out there to do.” The Women’s Imaging Center at Memorial Healthcare System supports the efforts of WBHI by collaborating to provide our participants with free screening right in the neighborhood served.   Who: The Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative What: Door to door campaign offering free breast health awareness, education and mammograms to the uninsured and underserved. Where: City of Miami Gardens, Florida 33056 When: March 5, 12, 19 – Starting – 8:30AM · March 26th –Starting at 9AM Contact: Andrea Ivory, Founder, Women’s Breast & Heart Health Initiative, FL Affiliate 866–315–7711

Young Women and Breast Cancer

Understanding hereditary and genetic risk factors

Stephanie Green

On January 9, 2011, Stephanie Green, a Miami-based blogger and writer lost her battle against breast cancer at the young age of 35. Stephanie left behind her blog, a book in the works and numerous other articles and stories that touched thousands of her fans. Stephanie fought to the very end, often using her writing as a way to cope with the disease.  A long-time contributor to HEEB magazine, Stephanie was Ashkenazi Jewish and BRCA1 positive. Ashkenazi Jewish women have a one in 40 chance of inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. These genes are important in the development of breast cancer. Women with the mutation have up to an 85 percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Why do young women get breast cancer? When referring to a breast cancer diagnosis, “young” typically means anyone under 40 years old because breast cancer is relatively uncommon among women in this age group. In the U.S., about 5 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses occur in women under age 40. Of the women who are diagnosed at a younger age many, like Stephanie, have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. If a woman carries a defective BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, she may have a 30 to 85 percent chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. Having an immediate family member who has or had breast cancer also increases the risk of developing breast cancer in young women. So although young women generally have a much lower risk of developing breast cancer, the risk is high for women who have the gene mutation or have family history. Advice for all young women Clinical breast exams are recommended for all women at least every three years, starting at age 20, and every year for women age 40 or over. If you are under 40, and have a family history or other known risk factors, talk with your health care provider to assess your risk, and determine a personalized plan of when to start having mammograms or other imaging tests. Diagnosing breast cancer in young women can be harder because of the density of a young woman’s breast tissue. By the time a lump can be felt in a young woman, it is often large enough and advanced enough to lower her chances of survival. In addition, the cancer may be more aggressive and less responsive to hormone therapies. If you are concerned about a genetic risk, you can ask for a referral to a genetic counselor who can provide genetic testing, screening tests, like MRI, or risk reduction options that might be right for you. In addition to talking with your doctor about your risk, it is equally important to know how your breasts normally look and feel. See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes: • Lump, hard knot or thickening • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening • Change in the size or shape of the breast • Dimpling or puckering of the skin • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away Awareness and early detection are two of the most important tools we have to fight breast cancer. For more information on breast self-awareness, visit www.flbreasthealth.com for an online beast health tutorial.