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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Survival rates increase as groups raise awareness for breast cancer

  • This year alone, 410 men and 39,510 women died from breast cancer.
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  • In 2012, the National Cancer Institute reports that 229,060, including 2,190 men, were diagnosed with breast cancer. This year alone, 410 men and 39,510 women died from it.
    The exact cause is still unknown for what Susan G. Komen for the Cure describes as “a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control,” but that doesn't mean its incurable.
    It's the most common cancer in women although men can still be diagnosed. There were 81 total cases in Arkansas County between 2004-2008, according to the Arkansas County Health Unit.
    The chance for survival is greater today as organizations worldwide work to raise awareness on breast cancer and early detection as well as improve treatment methods and increase access to health services. So what do these organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend?
    It's simple: Each woman should know what's normal for them, know their risk factor, such as family history, and get screened regularly. It's also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    According to CDC, risk factors include increasing age, never giving birth, personal or family history with the disease, being overweight, using birth control pills, drinking alcohol and not getting regular exercise.
    Women are advised to have regular screenings, which can include a mammogram, a breast x-ray; clinical breast exam, where a doctor or nurse exams a breast for lumps or other changes; or breast self-exams, where each person checks their own breast for lumps or changes.
    Wanda Vester with the Arkansas County Health Unit has said there is help available in getting preventive services.
    "We implemented a breastcare program that involves state and federal funds where we can screen for breast cancer," she said.
    The program targets women who are unable to get screening through their medical insurance and who are in the age range of 40-64. It will also help women through the diagnosis and treatment stages in various ways.
    Arkansas was one of 14 states with the lowest rate of female breast cancer incidences in 2007 with 99.9 to 116.8 cases per 100,000. However, in 2007, Arkansas was also one of 13 states with the highest rate in female breast cancer deaths with 24.4 to 31.5 per 100,000 cases.
    CDC says some warning signs are discovering a new lump in the breast or underarm, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast, pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area, nipple discharge other than breast milk including blood, any chance in the breast size or shape, and pain in any area of the breast.
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