What Should I Expect at My First Mammogram?

The mammogram is an important breast cancer screening and diagnostic tool for women. This highly effective, non-invasive, and inexpensive procedure detects breast cancer and saves lives. The American Cancer Society recommends women start breast cancer screening at age 45. However, research has found mammograms are most beneficial for women age 50 and older. Regular mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 14% among 50- to 60-year-olds and 33% among 60- to 69-year-olds.

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer

10 Ways to Support Breast Cancer Awareness in Portland!

October is breast cancer awareness month. This annual international campaign organized by major breast health charities aims to raise awareness of the disease and the value of screening and early detection and to raise money for research into breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cures. Whether you are a breast cancer patient or survivor, or an individual who has been indirectly touched by this disease, there are many ways you can show your support for this important cause. Here are 10 ways you can support breast cancer awareness if you are in the Portland-Vancouver area.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

Breast Density and Its Effect on Your Cancer Screening

If you’ve had a mammogram and were told you have dense breast tissue, you may be wondering what that means. While having dense breasts is normal and common, many women are left feeling uncertain regarding whether there is anything they should do differently or how it affects the risk of getting breast cancer.

What Does it Mean to Have Dense Breasts?

Breasts contain glandular, connective, and fat tissue. Breast density is a term that describes the relative amount of these different types of breast tissue as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have more glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue and than fatty breast tissue. Dense breasts can be inherited.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

Video Presentations from the Advancements in Breast Cancer Review 2018

Dr. Kati Dunham, Dr. Lucy Langer, and Dr. John Smith presented highlights from the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium to patients and community members on May 1, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Portland. Ten local community partners attended the event and shared information about the services and resources they offer. This 9th annual event was free to the public and developed in an effort to share the most recent advancements in breast cancer treatment, clinical trials and research.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

What Do You Know About Mammograms?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it a great time to learn a little more about breast cancer screenings for yourself or a loved one. The information below will help you better understand why mammograms are important, other potential screening methods, when you should be screened and what can be done if someone needs a mammogram but cannot afford one. This knowledge can help you be better informed so you can share it with others this October, as well as the rest of the year.

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Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Screening

What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer. Accounting for less than 5% of all breast cancer diagnoses, the cancer forms in the cells that line the breasts’ milk ducts, but quickly spreads to nearby lymph nodes and sometimes other tissues in the body. The cancer is called “inflammatory” because the cancer cells usually block the lymph vessels in the breast. This causes fluid to build up, which leads to inflammation that is usually red and tender.

How is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Different than Typical Breast Cancers?

Compared to slower-growing forms of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer progresses and spreads through the body quickly – sometimes in a matter of weeks.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

Dr. Lucy Langer and Dr. Tammy De La Melena Present at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Syposium was held December 6 - 20, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Tammy De La Melena, Breast Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. Lucy Langer, Medical Oncologist, gave presentations at the symposium focusing on individual topics and how Compass Oncology uses clinical research to provide the best care possible for their patieints. Below are summaries of the two presentations given by Dr. Langer and Dr. De La Melena.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

Why Is Genetic Testing Important for Cancer Research?

It’s common for cancer patients and their families to feel helpless, as if their futures and those of their loved ones are entirely dependent on physicians and medications. Genetic testing is one way for cancer patients and their relatives to regain a sense of control over the disease, and make a valuable contribution toward improving its detection, treatment and prevention.

One of the most effective ways for cancer researchers to learn why a type of cancer occurs (an important step in discovering treatments) is to study the genes of patients and those who share their DNA profile.

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Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Cancer Risk, Genetic Testing, Lung Cancer

Exercise and Breast Cancer: The Benefits and How to Get Started

As a breast cancer patient or breast cancer survivor, it’s important to stay active – even if you don’t feel up to it.

In a recent study by Kerry Courneya, PhD, found that women with breast cancer that participated in a resistance training program during chemotherapy required less dosage and fewer delays in their chemotherapy treatments.  Of course, if you’re undergoing breast cancer treatment, you should first discuss exercise with your doctor. For most breast cancer patients, rigorous activity isn’t recommended, but regular moderate exercise, such as walking or strength training with light weights, can help you to feel better, and as strange as it may sound, you might even feel less tired than before you exercised.

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Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Survivorship, Supportive Care

Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer Treatment

While one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, dramatic advances have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease. We can now test each patient’s tumor for molecular and genetic changes. This allows us to understand the exact biologic process taking place and better choose the medications and therapies that are targeted directly for that cancer. Some call this personalized medicine, some call it precision medicine and some call it targeted therapy. Regardless of the name, the result is breast cancer has an excellent survival rate when caught early.

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Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Treatment