Early Detection


Announcing our NEW video series

aimed at keeping every woman (and every woman you love) up to date with everything she needs to know regarding women’s cancers!!

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One of our mission pillars is education and for the past couple of years, we have focused on getting the word out about early detection, risk factors and warning signs.  We highlighted five (5) of the most prominent women’s cancers in a flyer that was distributed both virally as well as in print at clinics and events.

Now it’s time to step up our game.  Understanding that many people are opting to WATCH their news, rather than READ it, we have created  a series of viral videos, all 1-2 minutes in length, that disseminates critical if not lifesaving information.

The first is on cervical cancer – and the GREAT news is that it’s 100% preventable.  Watch for yourself – and then share it with all the women you love.

WATCH INTRO VIDEO

 

WATCH CERVICAL CANCER VIDEO

 

WATCH BRCA 1 & 2 VIDEO

 

WATCH GERMLINE TESTING VIDEO

 

WATCH OVARIAN CANCER ASSAY VIDEO

 

 

 

The 5 Most Prevalent Women’s Cancers

 

Breast Cancer

Risk Factors

  • Being younger when you had your first menstrual period
  • Never giving birth, or being older at the birth of your first child
  • Starting menopause at a later age
  • Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
  • Age
  • Personal history of breast cancer, dense breasts or other breast problems
  • A family history of breast cancer (parent, sibling, child)
  • Changes in your breast cancer related gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
  • Getting radiation therapy to the breast or chest
  • Being overweight, especially after menopause

Signs and Symptoms

  • A lump or pain in the breast
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the breast area
  • Fluid other than breast milk, especially blood
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast

Testing

A mammogram is the screening test for breast cancer.  If you are between 40-49 or think you have a higher risk of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the timing of a mammogram.  If you are between 50-74, the CDC recommends getting a mammogram every two years.

 

Ovarian Cancer

Risk Factors

  • Age – 90% over 40, 50% over 63
  • Obesity – higher rate of death (up to 50% higher)
  • Menstruation – early periods or menopause after 50
  • Smoking and Alcohol use increases risk of mucinous ovarian cancer
  • Having never given birth or having trouble getting pregnant
  • Fertility drugs increase the risk of “low malignant potential” tumors
  • Having endometriosis
  • Breast, uterine or colorectal cancer
  • Family history – mother, sister, daughter
  • Have an Eastern European or Jewish background

Signs and Symptoms

  • Ongoing cramps in your belly
  • Ongoing pain in pelvis or lower back
  • Abnormal bleeding from vagina
  • Abnormal discharge from your vagina
  • Pain or bleeding during sex
  • Nausea or loss of appetite, you cannot eat normally
  • Ongoing bloating or intestinal gas that is not relieved by home treatment measures
  • Bigger belly size or lump that can be felt in your belly
  • Decreased energy level
  • A change in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea
  • A change in your bladder habits, such as urinary frequency or urgency
  • Weight loss

Cervical Cancer

Risk Factors

  • Age – over 30
  • Smoking
  • Having HIV
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (longer than 5 years)
  • Giving birth to three or more children

Symptoms

  • Early on, there may not be any signs or symptoms
  • Advances cervical cancer may cause abnormal bleeding and discharge from the vagina, such as bleeding after sex.

Testing

A PAP test is recommended for women aged 21-65, looks for pre-cancers, cell changes, on the cervix that can be tested so cervical cancer is prevented.  HPV testing looks for HPV, the virus that can cause precancerous cell change and cervical cancer.

Prevention

    • Get the HPV vaccine
    • Get your pap test regularly
    • Don’t smoke
    • Use a condom

 

Uterine Cancer

Risk Factors

  • Age – most uterine cancers are found in women who are going through or who have gone through menopause
  • Being obese
  • Taking estrogen by itself for hormone replacement
  • Having trouble getting pregnant or fewer than 5 periods a year
  • Taking Tamoxifen
  • Having people in your family with a history of uterine, colon or ovarian cancer

Symptoms

  • Vaginal discharge that is not normal for you
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain or pressure in your pelvis

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent uterine cancer but these things have been shown to lower your risk:

    • Using birth control pills
    • Maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active
    • Taking progesterone if you are taking estrogen

 

Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers

Risk Factors

  • Having HPV
  • Having had cervical pre-cancer or cancer
  • Having a condition like HIV
  • Smoking
  • Having chronic vulva itching or burning

Symptoms

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • A change in bathroom habits such as blood in the stool or urine, going more frequently or constipation
  • Pain in pelvis or abdomen
  • Color changes on skin of the vulva
  • Sores, lumps, rashes or ulcers that do not go away
  • Pain in your pelvis or abdomen during urination or sex

Prevention

    • Get the HPV vaccine
    • Take steps to reduce the chances of getting HIV or HPV, such as avoiding sex or limiting the number of sex partners
    • Don’t smoke

 

Did you know…

  • More than 200,000 women get breast cancer each year and 40,000 women die.
  • Another 83,000 women will be diagnosed with gynecologic cancer this year
  • Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that has a recommended screening test.

You can take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.

  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetable.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.

Source: All information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Massachusetts General Hospital.

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