Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. According to Health Canada , the incidence of breast cancer has gone up steadily over the last decade. This may be due to women's increased use of mammogram services, changes in reproductive characteristics and/or environmental factors.

Mortality rates through breast cancer have declined since 1985 and particularly since 1980. Several factors have contributed to this decline: earlier detection through screening, improved treatment and changes in risk or protective factors.

How ironic that increased incidence of breast cancer may be linked to the rising use of mammogram services and decline in the death rates is also linked with earlier detection through mammogram screening. This does not sound like progress to me. Perhaps, we are more accurately sitting between a rock and a hard place.

It is estimated that one in nine women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime; one in 25 women will die from this disease. I know nine women. Heck, I know twenty five. is written with all women in mind.

In this section, we will draw attention to what is currently understood about the cause and prevention of breast cancer. We will also look at the identified risk factors, early detection methods and types of breast cancer treatment.

For the women and their families living with breast cancer we will provide support links along with survivor stories and resources. And we will identify some of the major fund raising initiatives and a selection of the foundations and charities that work to make breast cancer history.

Self-education and personal responsibility are key elements of your optimal health and disease management. When it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss. And as my friend Adrienne says, "the only thing worse than finding a lump, is not finding a lump."

Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book is considered the bible of breast care and will be a valued resource in your breast health library.

The Economic Impact of Breast Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, a diagnosis of cancer in one of the adults in a family may lead not only to the loss of a source of income, but also all too frequently to exhausting the family's remaining income and resources in seeking treatments. Perhaps saddest of all are the futile frantic searches and large amounts of money paid by the family for treatments that cannot prolong the life of the family member with advanced cancer. If families feel abandoned by their formal health care system they may spend their remaining resources seeking assistance from well-meaning or unscrupulous individuals who falsely promise to help.

The National Institutes of Health estimate the overall costs for cancer in the United States in the year 2003 at $189.5 billion: $64.2 for direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures); $16.3 billion for indirect morbidity costs; costs of lost productivity due to illness; and $109 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death). Lack of health insurance and other barriers prevent many Americans from receiving optimal health care.

Source: World Health Organization

Source: National Institutes of Health

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Breast Cancer