Tag Archives: early detection

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 # # #

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 for an online beast health tutorial.

How big, exactly, is a “lump?”

Putting lump size into perspective
Different lump sizes

Courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. As a breast cancer tumor grows, it becomes more aggressive and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body – which is why early detection is so important. Cancer is diagnosed with a “stage” which is based on several combined factors: 1.) the size of the tumor, 2.) whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive, 3.) whether lymph nodes are involved, and 4.) whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast. It can take up to two years for a one centimeter tumor to grow large enough to be felt. In that time, cancer cells can rapidly multiply and start spreading. Elizabeth Edwards, who recently passed away after a second battle with cancer, is a prime example of why early detection is so critical. Edwards, who found a lump “the size of a plum” was diagnosed in 2004 with Stage II breast cancer that had already spread to several lymph nodes. Edwards had admitted to missing her annual mammogram two years in a row. “I knew better, just like they know better,” Edwards says of women who delay getting routine screening mammograms.  As you can see in the illustrations, mammograms can find lumps that are significantly smaller than what a woman or doctor can feel during breast self examination. If you are 40 or over, getting your mammogram each year can potentially detect a tumor in its earliest stage, before it has a chance to grow and spread to other parts of your body. For all women, it’s important to simply know your breasts, how they look and feel and what is “normal” for you. Doing optional Breast Self Exams (BSEs) is one way for women to know how their breasts normally look and feel and to notice any changes. The goal, with or without BSE, is to report any breast changes to a doctor or nurse right away. Some changes to be aware of in your breasts include: – Any new lump (which may or may not be painful or tender) – Unusual thickening of your breasts – Sticky or bloody discharge from your nipples – Any changes in the skin of your nipples or breasts, such as puckering or dimpling – An unusual increase in the size of one breast – One breast unusually lower than the other Most of the time, these breast changes are not cancer, but you should see your health care provider as soon as possible for evaluation if you notice something that you think is not normal for you.