Prevent Cancer Foundation https://www.preventcancer.org/ Stop Cancer Before It Starts! Tue, 22 Nov 2022 23:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.preventcancer.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Prevent Cancer Foundation https://www.preventcancer.org/ 32 32 Small Business Saturday: Preventing Cancer à la Women’s Fashion https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/prevent-cancer-with-womens-fashion/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/prevent-cancer-with-womens-fashion/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2022 23:00:24 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58753 Line in the Sand, an online brand of women’s active/waterwear and accessories, created by Prevent Cancer Foundation board member Lynne Fletcher O’Brien, serves a community...

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Line in the Sand, an online brand of women’s active/waterwear and accessories, created by Prevent Cancer Foundation board member Lynne Fletcher O’Brien, serves a community that understands ocean preservation and cancer prevention are essential to living your best life near and on the water. 

In observance of this year’s Small Business Saturday—a day dedicated to strengthening the mutual bonds among local merchants, innovators, entrepreneurs and the communities they serve—the Foundation chatted with O’Brien, herself a water sports enthusiast and cancer survivor, for her take on community-focused commerce and how her brand promotes sun safety.

Q: How does your company, Line in the Sand, help sun-loving women prevent cancer?

A: We have all of the accessories a woman needs to play safely under the sun, including hats, water bottles, tees and sweatshirts. Our products are made from recycled materials with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) fabrics with 50+ sun protection factor (SPF) so you can stay safer in the sun, and 100% of the profits go to ocean and cancer organizations like the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Our line is about feeling great in our bodies and focusing on what really matters – enjoying the time we have on the water and the planet.

Q: An attorney by profession, with no previous experience in either fashion or merchandising, what led you to start this company?

A: When I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), my doctors said I had to stay out of the sun. But my favorite hobbies, like sailing and paddle boarding, are almost all on the water! Despite my diagnosis, I knew I wouldn’t stop those activities, so I literally searched the globe for protective clothing. No outfits excited me, the color choices were limited and I could not find what I wanted all in one place. Since I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided to make my own.  The company has attracted a global following of women brought together more by their ideals than their geography.

The name Line in the Sand came to me in the middle of the night. I knew we had to take a stand and just hop in the water. I wanted to “draw a line” in the sand to give back to the oceans and to cancer. This company combines all my passions with my favorite causes—it’s invigorating and exciting and I’m constantly learning.

Q: Why is your line of activewear special?

A: We are committed to having the lowest possible impact on the planet, which is why most of our products are made of recycled plastic and fishing nets. We are also committed to sun safety, as skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. It’s also the most preventable cancer, which is where our clothing comes in.

Our clothes are made for those who are happiest when at the beach (like me) but want extra sun protection. You can one-stop shop with us for a sun-safe outfit. We offer entire outfits as well as the ability to mix and match our items so you can feel good about the way you look while protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  Our high-performance waterwear is proudly made with Carvico UPF fabric offering SPF 50+ so you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about shielding yourself from the sun. Our designs and fabric are very forgiving. They provide comfort, performance and a flattering fit.

Q: What led you to work with the Foundation?

A: I was on the Cancer Moonshot Team under then-Vice President Biden, and quickly learned how well respected and impactful the Foundation is! We spend so much time raising money to fight against so many cancers, but the Foundation is the only organization totally committed to cancer prevention.

Small Business Saturday happens annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is intended to help local community merchants thrive. For more information, visit Line in the Sand‘s website.

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Family Health History Day: Why talking about family cancer risk should be your new holiday tradition https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/family-health-history-day-2022/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/family-health-history-day-2022/#respond Tue, 15 Nov 2022 19:14:43 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58718 Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and a thorough discussion about your family’s cancer risk. These are top Brandi Preston’s “must-haves” on Thanksgiving Day. It was...

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Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and a thorough discussion about your family’s cancer risk.

These are top Brandi Preston’s “must-haves” on Thanksgiving Day.

It was during this holiday when Brandi, only 9 years old at the time, learned her mother had breast cancer. What she didn’t know is that her mother carried the BRCA1 gene mutation that increased her risk for breast and ovarian cancers. By the time Brandi’s mother was offered genetic testing, it was too late. Her BRCA1-driven cancer had metastasized throughout her body and brain, and with no remaining viable treatment options, Brandi’s mother died five years after her initial diagnosis. 

Now 31, Brandi is outspoken about the importance of families knowing their risk for cancer.  

“Right before our mother passed, she made my brother, sister and me promise we would always know our risk for getting cancer,” Brandi says.

National Family Health History Day falls on Thanksgiving, making it the perfect time to gather the stories of how cancer has impacted your family. Just because one family member has had cancer doesn’t necessarily mean other family members will, too. But knowing your family history increases the odds of predicting whether cancer will repeat itself and in whom.

Knowing your family history can help determine if you’re a good candidate for genetic testing to help estimate your risk for cancers such as those related to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, including breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. While only 5 to 10% of cancers are caused by inherited genetic changes, genetic testing can be helpful in situations where certain types of cancer appear to run in families. Genetic testing is also important in those who have a family history suggestive of other cancer syndromes such as Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary colorectal cancer, especially in people under age 50. Lynch syndrome is also linked to higher incidence rates of endometrial, stomach and liver cancers, among others.

family history medical chart

To honor her mother, at 19, Brandi sought genetic testing. The results were that she had inherited the same BRCA1 mutation, putting her at up to a 72% lifetime risk of breast cancer, up to a 44% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer and an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.

By the time she turned 22, Brandi had both breasts surgically removed via bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, thereby lowering her breast cancer risk to less than 2%. She is now planning on having both ovaries removed once she turns 35 to help similarly lower her risk of ovarian cancer. Choosing to have surgery was a “no brainer” says Brandi. “I never want my son to go through what I went through.”

“Genetic testing has been available for more than 30 years. That’s nearly my whole life. But that families and providers are still not having this conversation is so frustrating,” Brandi says. “It’s up to you to advocate for yourself to your provider if there is a history of cancers,” says Brandi.

A helpful way to do that is to know your family history. You can be sure you know yours by observing National Family Health History Day this Thanksgiving and ensuring that talking about your family’s risk of cancer becomes part of your family tradition. 

The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s family history chart offers three simple prompts to ensure you and your provider have the valuable information you need to help determine which cancer screenings you should have, at what age you should have them and how often they should be performed. A family tree template is also provided to help you tell a cohesive family health story and help identify whether genetic testing may be appropriate.

The Foundation also offers other preventive tools, including A Guide to Preventing Cancer, an online cancer screening quiz and screening snapshot chart to learn what cancer screenings are needed at every age. You can read more about Brandi’s story here. 

Want to use your voice to empower others to take charge of their health with cancer prevention and early detection? Share your story with us. 

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Congressional Families: Voices for Cancer Prevention – Charlie Capito, spouse of Senator Shelley Moore Capito https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/congressional-families-voices-for-cancer-prevention-charlie-capito-spouse-of-senator-shelley-moore-capito/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/congressional-families-voices-for-cancer-prevention-charlie-capito-spouse-of-senator-shelley-moore-capito/#respond Thu, 10 Nov 2022 14:12:03 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58663 Hello, I’m Charlie Capito, spouse of Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. I’m also a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, a...

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Hello, I’m Charlie Capito, spouse of Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. I’m also a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, a non-partisan initiative that unites congressional spouses from the House and the Senate in our efforts to raise awareness nationwide about cancer prevention and early detection.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and this is a concern close to my heart. In my home state of West Virginia, the need is great for increased lung cancer awareness and screening. We rank second in the United States in mortality for lung cancer. And this disease remains the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. Lung cancer can be detected early, but many people who are at high risk for the disease do not get screened. So today I am here to spotlight the importance of lung cancer screening to prevent lung cancer deaths. If you are a current or former smoker between the ages of 50 and 80, you are considered at high risk, and should talk to your doctor about getting screened. An annual lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan may be recommended. The key to saving lives is catching lung cancer early when treatment options are more effective. Visit www.preventcancer.org to learn more about lung cancer prevention and early detection.

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Andrea McKee, M.D. and the late Brady McKee, M.D. to be honored with the James L. Mulshine, M.D., National Leadership Award for ensuring equitable access to high quality lung cancer screenings https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/andrea-mckee-m-d-and-the-late-brady-mckee-m-d-to-be-honored-with-the-james-l-mulshine-m-d-national-leadership-award-for-ensuring-equitable-access-to-high-quality-lung-cancer-screenings/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/11/andrea-mckee-m-d-and-the-late-brady-mckee-m-d-to-be-honored-with-the-james-l-mulshine-m-d-national-leadership-award-for-ensuring-equitable-access-to-high-quality-lung-cancer-screenings/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2022 13:21:52 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58464 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Kyra Meister 703-836-1746 kyra.meister@preventcancer.org Alexandria, Va. – Andrea McKee, M.D. and the late Brady McKee, M.D. will be honored with the James...

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kyra Meister
703-836-1746
kyra.meister@preventcancer.org

The late Dr. Brady McKee to receive the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s James L. Mulshine, M.D. National Leadership Award.

Dr. Andrea McKee to receive the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s James L. Mulshine, M.D. National Leadership Award.

Alexandria, Va. – Andrea McKee, M.D. and the late Brady McKee, M.D. will be honored with the James L. Mulshine, M.D., National Leadership Award on Thursday, November 3 at the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 19th annual Quantitative Imaging Workshop. The annual Mulshine Award is given to an individual or individuals who has had a profound impact on reducing the toll of lung cancer, COPD and cardiovascular disease on the health of Americans and people around the world.

Dr. Andrea McKee will accept the award on behalf of herself and her late husband for their contributions to ensuring community hospitals and cancer centers provide equitable access to the highest quality screenings. Their pilot program, established at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Mass., provided screening free of charge for a number of years until Medicare began reimbursing this service under the Affordable Care Act.

Drs. Andrea and Brady McKee were instrumental in developing the LungRADS system, a quality assurance tool to standardize lung cancer screening reporting and management recommendations, reduce confusion in lung cancer screening interpretations and facilitate outcome monitoring. They also conducted critical studies demonstrating that high quality screening is possible in a variety of health care delivery institutions. They rallied a community of professionals to the cause, including Lahey faculty and staff and other collaborators in Boston, across the nation and around the world.

“Drs. Andrea and Brady McKee have been dedicated to ensuring screening for lung cancer is not only implemented, but implemented at the highest quality available,” said Prevent Cancer Foundation Founder Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé. “Their commitment to saving lives across all populations, especially those in medically underserved communities, deserves to be recognized. We are honored to do so at this year’s workshop.”

Past recipients of the award include:

  • 2021 – Mary Pasquinelli, DNP, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC – Advanced Practice Nurse, Pulmonary and Medical Oncology, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Science System for her efforts to ensure that she and the team she leads were able to bring a new service to a community that represents a critical challenge from both a health and equity perspective. 
  • 2020 – Daniel C. Sullivan, M.D. for his work in founding and chairing the Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA). QIBA is committed to transforming patient care by making radiology a more quantitative science. 
  • 2019 – Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Former Director, National Cancer Institute, for his design, implementation and management of the largest and most expensive clinical trial in its history, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). 
  • 2018 – Sharon Y. Eubanks, U.S. Department of Justice, for her work as the lead Justice Department prosecutor in the landmark racketeering trial against Big Tobacco, a case which defied predictions and was won by the government. 
  • 2017 – The late John Walsh, President and CEO of the COPD Foundation and President and Founder of the Alpha One Foundation. 
  • 2016 – Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of the Lung Cancer Alliance, for her efforts to guide patient advocacy groups in successful efforts to gain coverage of lung cancer screening by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 
  • 2015 – Claudia Henschke, Ph.D., M.D., Mt. Sinai Medical Center, as a pioneer of the use of low-dose spiral CT to screen for lung cancer. 
  • 2014 – CVS Health, award accepted by Nancy Gagliano, M.D., CVS Chief Medical Officer, in recognition of the company’s bold decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco products in their stores.
  • 2013 (Inaugural year of the Award) – Cheryl G. Healton, Ph.D., President and CEO, Legacy Foundation and Dean of the College of Public Health at New York University, in recognition of over 25 years of tireless work in public health, specifically on tobacco control.

The 19th annual Quantitative Imaging Workshop will frame early detection of lung cancer as part of the thoracic health imaging process and a cornerstone of effective public health. The Workshop will take place November 3-4 as a hybrid event, with the award ceremony happening on November 3.

Registration for QIW will close on Wednesday, November 2. You can view a recording of the award ceremony on the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s website following the event.

For more information about the Quantitative Imaging Workshop and the award, visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation website.

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About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.

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Dear LGBTQ+ family, let’s talk about breast cancer https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/dear-lgbtq-family-lets-talk-about-breast-cancer/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/dear-lgbtq-family-lets-talk-about-breast-cancer/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2022 13:00:05 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58439 Our current health care system is not designed for us. Even today in California, as a breast cancer survivor still receiving treatment and a member...

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Courtney Quinn, Executive Director, Albie Aware

Our current health care system is not designed for us. Even today in California, as a breast cancer survivor still receiving treatment and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have personally experienced mistreatment and incorrect assumptions made by health care professionals. My wife has gone with me to appointments where we continually heard, “I’m so glad you brought your sister.” As the Executive Director of the Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation in Sacramento, I know the vast majority of health care professionals I work with do not want to cause us harm. Yet, the national agencies that issue breast cancer screening guidelines are directed toward “women,” excluding cisgender men and nonbinary and transgender people.

You and your health matter. As Breast Cancer Awareness Month wraps up next week, here’s what I want you to know about breast cancer year-round:

  1. Data: National cancer registries have not collected information about sexual orientation or gender identity. As such, there is insufficient research on the LGBTQ+ community’s risks and experiences across the cancer continuum.1 There are no longitudinal studies evaluating the efficacy of breast cancer screening in the transgender population.2 But we can’t wait for this data—we know LGBTQ+ individuals have higher risk factors for breast cancer. While more research is needed to better understand cancer in LGBTQ+ individuals, simple changes in providers’ training and practice, like more inclusive intake forms and LGBTQ+ cultural competence, could help to start improving care today.
  2. Risk factors: Among some health care providers, there is a lack of culturally competent care, and the LGBTQ+ community is less likely to have health insurance. Both factors lead to individuals missing their cancer screenings.3 Additionally, increased rates of alcohol consumption and exercising fewer times each week contribute to lesbian and bisexual women being at a higher risk of breast cancer than heterosexual women.4 In the transgender community, there is a lack of standardized screening protocols for breast cancer and a harmful perception that breast exams are not required.5
  3. Screenings: An annual mammogram is recommended beginning at age 40. If you notice a change in your breasts, then contact a medical provider immediately. The Prevent Cancer Foundation has great information on cancer screenings needed at every age. 
  4. Family history: You may have a higher risk of breast cancer and need to begin breast cancer screenings at an earlier age if you have a family history of cancer. Some of my friends in the LGBTQ+ community no longer have a relationship with their birth parents. Fortunately, genetic testing may be an alternative option to get more information about your cancer risk without having to contact your biological family. (If you are considering genetic testing, meet with a genetic counselor. You may want to check with your insurance company first to see if this is covered by your insurance.) You can download a family history chart and learn more about genetic testing here.

Courtney Quinn with Lisa McGovern, the Executive Director of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program at the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

There are nonprofit organizations that are trying to improve health care for the LGBTQ+ community. In August 2022, the Prevent Cancer Foundation announced its support of 10 projects to increase cancer prevention and early detection in LGBTQ+ communities across the U.S.

Albie Aware was awarded a one-year, $25,000 grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation to address cancer care inequities by providing free mobile mammograms and services to the historically underserved LGBTQ+ community in the greater Sacramento area.

I hope to see more individuals, philanthropists and organizations contribute to cancer prevention and services for the LGBTQ+ community, both personally and professionally. In addition, it’s imperative for health care agencies and hospitals to invest in inclusive guidelines, services and care for the LGBTQ+ community. We have long faced unique barriers when accessing the health care system. Until all populations can access preventive services and essential care, our work is not done.

Endnotes

  1. Margolies L, Brown CG. Current state of knowledge about cancer in lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Semin Oncol Nurs 2018;34:3‐11.
  2. Expert Panel on Breast Imaging, Brown A, Lourenco AP, Niell BL, Cronin B, Dibble EH, DiNome ML, Goel MS, Hansen J, Heller SL, Jochelson MS, Karrington B, Klein KA, Mehta TS, Newell MS, Schechter L, Stuckey AR, Swain ME, Tseng J, Tuscano DS, Moy L. ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Transgender Breast Cancer Screening. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Nov;18(11S):S502-S515. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2021.09.005. PMID: 34794604.
  3. American Cancer Society. “More information about cancer in LGBTQ people may help improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment” https://amp.cancer.org/research/acs-research-highlights/cancer-health-disparities-research/cancer-health-disparities-acs-research-highlights.html
  4. Quinn GP, Sanchez JA, Sutton SK, Vadaparampil ST, Nguyen GT, Green BL, et al. Cancer and Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) populations. CA Cancer J Clin 2015;65:384‐400.
  5. Iwamoto, S.J., Grimstad, F., Irwig, M.S. et al. Routine Screening for Transgender and Gender Diverse Adults Taking Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy: a Narrative Review. J GEN INTERN MED 36, 1380–1389 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-021-06634-7

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Congressional Families: Voices for Cancer Prevention – Mary Himes, spouse of Rep. Jim Himes https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/congressional-families-voices-for-cancer-prevention-mary-himes-spouse-of-rep-jim-himes/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/congressional-families-voices-for-cancer-prevention-mary-himes-spouse-of-rep-jim-himes/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2022 13:05:38 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58405 Hi, I’m Mary Himes, spouse of Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. And I’m a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent...

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Hi, I’m Mary Himes, spouse of Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. And I’m a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Last year, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Like many women, I had delayed my mammogram for just a few months, when COVID concerns outweighed my other health concerns. And I wasn’t really worried, honestly, because I wasn’t going to get cancer—I’m only 56 years old! I exercise, I eat healthy, I take care of myself. But I learned that cancer can affect absolutely anyone. 

So my story is one night, in May of 2021, I felt a pea-sized lump in my breast. I knew I needed to get screened right away, but I really wanted to pretend like it wasn’t there. So I went to my screening as quickly as I could, and the mammogram confirmed my fear. And although my cancer was detected relatively early—which offered me more opportunity for effective treatment—these treatments have still taken a toll, both physical, mental and spiritual. So, I urge you, if you’re a woman of 40 years of age or older, please get your mammogram every single year. Please do your monthly self-exams. Do not wait for a symptom. I had no symptoms. Do not let a busy schedule be an excuse to put it off, out of fear. If you have a family history of breast cancer, please talk to your doctor about maybe doing even earlier screenings. Trust me, you really, really want to detect any cancers early. And if you want to learn more about the cancer screenings that you may need, please visit the website preventcancer.org.

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What’s it like to get a mammogram? https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/whats-it-like-to-get-a-mammogram/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/whats-it-like-to-get-a-mammogram/#respond Fri, 21 Oct 2022 12:33:30 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58361 Getting a mammogram can be scary. What will it be like? Will it hurt? What if they find something? Routine cancer screenings—like mammograms—can detect cancer...

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Getting a mammogram can be scary. What will it be like? Will it hurt? What if they find something? Routine cancer screenings—like mammograms—can detect cancer early (even if you have no signs or symptoms!) and if cancer is found early, it increases the likelihood your treatment will be successful. Feeling nervous is quite common, particularly if it is your first mammogram. But don’t let fear stand in the way of taking care of your health. Knowing what it’s like to get a mammogram can reduce your anxiety and make the experience a whole lot easier!

When you schedule your mammogram, try to book your appointment for one to two weeks after your menstrual period is due to start. Your breasts will be less tender during this time, making your mammogram experience more comfortable. When possible, try to schedule your mammogram before you have any vaccinations but do not delay getting screened because of it1. You can eat and drink as normal on the day of your appointment. Be sure not to wear deodorant, lotion, powder or perfume under your arms or on your breasts as they can interfere with your results.

Upon arriving at the mammogram center, you’ll be asked a few questions about your health (including recent vaccinations – date and in which arm they were given) and about recent exposure to anyone who has had COVID-19. From there, you’ll make your way to the imaging area. You’ll meet the radiology technician, who will ask some additional questions. Be sure to tell them about any breast problems (e.g. pain, lumps, redness) you’re having or if there is any possibility you may be pregnant. (Although there is only a small risk to a developing baby from the radiation used during the test, most often screening mammograms are not performed in someone who is pregnant.) The technologist will ask you to undress completely from the waist up and give you a hospital gown to wear.

There are two main types of screening mammograms performed today: 2D and 3D (breast tomosynthesis) that each work by passing X-rays from the machine through your breast tissue. In 2D mammograms, a picture of your breast is taken from the side and from above. In 3D mammograms, multiple pictures of your breast are taken from different angles to create a 3D image. If you have dense breasts (i.e., more fibrous connective and glandular tissue than average), 3D mammograms can help doctors see beyond areas of density that can make cancer harder to see on film.

With either type of mammogram, the technologist will position your breast by placing it on a platform in the machine. This can be cold! Your breast will then be slowly squeezed flat (“compressed”) with a clear piece of plastic for about 15 seconds. This can be uncomfortable but should not hurt. You will be asked to hold your breath while the X-ray images are being taken. Once complete, the compression will be released, and you will repeat the same process with your opposite breast. The technologist will check to make sure the images are adequate, and you will then be taken back to the dressing room where you can get dressed and go on about your day. (Including putting on deodorant or powder!)

The radiologist will read your mammogram, and within a few days, you will receive a letter with the results. If they see anything suspicious, you will get a phone call and be asked to come back for additional tests. If this is your first mammogram, don’t be surprised if you get a phone call asking you to return. This happens to many of us (including me)! Most times, there is nothing wrong; it is because the radiologist has no prior mammogram to compare your results to and may want to do additional imaging to make sure all is okay.

With a little preparation (and deep breaths), your mammogram doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. You’ve taken a great first step by knowing what to expect; now make sure that you are following the latest screening recommendations based on your needs and get your appointment on the books as soon as possible. Visit our website to learn more about the cancer screenings you need.

 

 

1You may have seen recommendations that you schedule your mammogram around receiving certain vaccinations like the COVID-19 vaccine, as they can cause swollen lymph nodes under your arm. This swelling is temporary and is a normal response of your immune system. Those recommendations have been updated and experts no longer recommend routinely delaying your mammogram due to having received a vaccination.

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Fight over fear https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/fight-over-fear/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/fight-over-fear/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2022 19:33:31 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58111 I will never forget the phone call I received in July of 2021 as I was on a work assignment. “Are you driving?” my personal...

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I will never forget the phone call I received in July of 2021 as I was on a work assignment. “Are you driving?” my personal care doctor asked. “Pull over and brace yourself…”

I knew in that moment that my biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. I went completely numb and couldn’t think straight. How was this even possible? I thought surely it would be benign.

Earlier that year, I lost my dad tragically after he fell four stories from a building while working. My family and I were still reeling from losing him in such a horrible way—and now this?

From going to several doctor appointments with my younger brother and getting one opinion after another to figuring out what my life would look like for the next year, it felt as though time had just stopped.

By the time my 40th birthday rolled around in September 2021, I was consulting with Shady Grove Fertility on how to freeze my eggs. I was so stressed out about the fact that my insurance wasn’t going to cover the cost—even though it was something I had to do because of the cancer treatments that were going to wreak havoc on my reproductive system, according to my doctors.

When mid-October rolled around, I had my single mastectomy followed by three months of full recovery. As soon as that was over, I was getting ready for 16 grueling rounds of chemotherapy that took me all the way to the beginning of May 2022, followed by 30 rounds of radiation. In between, I experienced everything—unbelievable fatigue, constipation, nausea, brain fog, bone pain, metallic taste, neuropathy and just an overall terrible feeling. My hair was mostly gone—no eyelashes or eyebrows either. My nails were turning black. I was bloated and looked like a completely different person from just a few months ago.

Even though it felt like time had stopped, I can’t believe that looking back a year later—I went through what I call pure hell.

I wanted to tell my story, but I waited until I knew what my life would look like during treatment. In February 2022, which marked one year since I lost my dad, I started using my platform as a TV journalist with Fox 5 D.C. For the past year, I have been sharing my experience and fight against stage 3 breast cancer with our viewers.

I have been chronicling my experience in the series, “Cancer: Fight over Fear” with the hope of providing helpful information to my community.

I remember the first time I reached out to the Prevent Cancer Foundation—I was actually sitting in the operating room being prepped for my right breast mastectomy. There was a lot of waiting, so I was on my phone and just kept searching for cancer-related foundations, support groups or organizations that I could connect with to share my story and be part of something that could change people’s lives.

I had the need to raise awareness for cancer prevention and early detection. I will admit—I did put off getting a mammogram when I first felt that something was off back in 2017. I was too scared, and I didn’t want to know if something was wrong because I was at the peak of my career.

But I think the trauma from losing my father in 2021 took its toll on my body. I could see it in my breast as the nipple was completely inverted by what turned out to be a large cancerous tumor under my right breast.

I continue to advocate about the mere fact that we need to listen to our bodies, as obvious as that may sound. Medicine and technology have come a long way, especially when it comes to breast cancer detection. I believe it is no longer “your grandmother‘s cancer.” So why not take advantage of the resources that we have available and use them to take care of not only our mental health, but our physical health, too?

While I am so grateful to be alive, I am continuing to learn how to navigate life while being on long-term medications to prevent the cancer from returning.

I love to stay busy with my career as a news reporter while advocating for regular screenings and mammograms—and whenever my body allows, I love working out, running and teaching indoor cycling classes. It’s something that I think helped me a ton during my recovery.

I could not let cancer stop me from leading my busy life. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am when it comes to dealing with the kind of cancer I had. I really hope whoever is reading this can gain some insight or maybe a glimmer of hope. But most of all, I’m really hoping that if you have not recently gone for a screening or a test, that you will schedule it today? What is the alternative if you don’t get it done in time?

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Response to NEJM study on colonoscopies https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/response-to-nejm-study-on-colonoscopies/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/response-to-nejm-study-on-colonoscopies/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2022 16:45:05 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58315 A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine spurred headlines that colonoscopies are not as effective at preventing colorectal cancer deaths as previously...

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A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine spurred headlines that colonoscopies are not as effective at preventing colorectal cancer deaths as previously thought. But while this headline may grab your attention, it is also misleading. The fact remains: colonoscopies save lives.  

Background:

Michael Bretthauer, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital in Norway conducted a clinical trial of more than 80,000 people ages 55-64 in Poland, Norway and Sweden. About 28,000 of the participants were randomly selected to receive an invitation to get a one-time screening colonoscopy, while the rest did not.  

The results:

Bretthauer’s analysis that colonoscopies underperformed (18% reduction in colorectal cancer cases and no significant reduction in mortality) does not tell the whole story. His results were based on the entire study population—but critically, only 42% of those invited to screen completed a colonoscopy.  

When looking at the segment of study participants who got a colonoscopy, 31% had pre-cancerous adenomatous polyps removed, preventing potential cancers from occurring. In that same group, there was a 50% reduction in mortality.  

The study also only followed participants for 10 years; we may see even stronger results (fewer cancer cases and deaths) over a longer time.  

What this all means:

Nothing about this study changes the fact that colonoscopies—and other types of colorectal cancer screenings—save lives. Colonoscopies are an important tool in preventing colorectal cancer (by finding and removing polyps) and in detecting it early, when treatment is more likely to be successful.  

What you should do:

The Prevent Cancer Foundation continues to advocate for people ages 45-75 at average risk* to get routine colorectal cancer screenings. If you’re at increased risk, you may need to start regular screening at an earlier age and/or be screened more often. There are several options available for colorectal cancer screening—talk with your health care provider about which screening is right for you.  

Screening should continue through age 75 if you are in good health, with a life expectancy of 10 years or more. If you are age 76–85, talk with your health care provider about whether to continue screening. After age 85, you should not get screened. 

Learn more:  

Colorectal cancer prevention, screening and early detection 

Too Young for This Sh*t: colorectal cancer in young adults 

Fact Check: Do Colonoscopies Save Lives? From our friends at Fight Colorectal Cancer and Colon Cancer Coalition.  

* ‘Average risk’ means you do not have:  

  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease). 
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain kinds of polyps (“flat polyps”).  
  • A family history of colorectal cancer.  
  • Hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome (such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome). 

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Capitol Hill goes to Sacramento https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/capitol-hill-goes-to-sacramento/ https://www.preventcancer.org/2022/10/capitol-hill-goes-to-sacramento/#respond Fri, 07 Oct 2022 13:34:43 +0000 https://www.preventcancer.org/?p=58098 I just had my annual mammogram. My experience was excellent—from the moment I was greeted at the reception desk to the actual imaging and conversation...

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(From left to right) Koby Rodriguez, Courtney Quinn, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Lisa McGovern and Doug Carson

I just had my annual mammogram. My experience was excellent—from the moment I was greeted at the reception desk to the actual imaging and conversation with the technician, right to my exit through the front door. I even did the follow-up survey to share my gratitude for good and kind care! But inexcusably, excellent care does not happen everywhere—or for everyone. And there are unique obstacles faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Some have faced a range of uncomfortable and discriminatory practices that have contributed to mistrust of the health care system and reluctance or inability to access routine cancer screenings.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.)

So, continuing the learning tour I began at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in early August, I traveled across the country to visit another Prevent Cancer Foundation community grant recipient addressing the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community in Sacramento, California.

Joining me to highlight the work of Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation, a 2022 Prevent Cancer Foundation grantee, were Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), who co-founded the Congressional Families Program more than 30 years ago and represents the district where Albie Aware is based, and my husband, Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass).

Unfortunately, Sacramento County has a higher death rate due to breast cancer than the national and state averages, and the LGBTQ+ community has increased risk factors for breast cancer and less access to screenings.

With the Foundation’s funding, Albie Aware, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated solely to breast cancer in the greater Sacramento area, will bring mobile mammograms to at least 90 members of their local LGBTQ+ community and will hold a virtual event for breast cancer awareness.

Led by its dynamic executive director Courtney Quinn, who also identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and is a breast cancer survivor, Albie Aware is meeting LGBTQ+ people where they are—physically and emotionally—to break down some of the barriers to getting screened and staying healthy. We heard from Courtney during our visit, as well as the Founder of Albie Aware, Doug Carson, and the Chief Program Officer of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Koby Rodriguez, all of whom highlighted how the resources being offered by Albie Aware are helping the LGBTQ+ community in Sacramento.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s community grants program recently announced support of Albie Aware and nine other projects across the U.S. dedicated to increasing cancer prevention and early detection in LGBTQ+ communities. Each project was selected through a competitive grants process and awarded a one-year, $25,000 grant. The Prevent Cancer Foundation is proud to support Albie Aware in their work to reach this community and improve access to lifesaving screenings.

Our collective goal is to increase screening rates to prevent cancer and detect it early across all populations—and across America! It is my honor to visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s exceptional community grantees to showcase the impactful work being done to make quality health care more accessible and affordable. I always leave inspired, energized and grateful for their work!

As we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, it’s important to remember the unique barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community when accessing the health care system, which result in disparities in cancer risk, screening and treatment. That’s why I’m incredibly proud of the Prevent Cancer Foundation for supporting organizations like Albie Aware and many more committed to increasing education and access for this population.

If you are interested in applying for a Prevent Cancer Foundation community grant, click here to learn more.

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