Breast Cancer Awareness Month (also known as Pink October) – is an annual campaign that raises awareness about breast cancer impact, its causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This year, the Damian Medical Center is organizing Open Days! During these days you will have a chance to get a consultation from our geneticist and learn how to perform breast self-exams. We also prepared a special discount on genetic predisposition and preventive tests!
Open Days at Damian Medical Center:
- 5 October, Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 10a Konesera Sq.
- 6 October, Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. 36 Zjednoczenia Avenue
- 12 October, Tuesday, from 14 a.m. to 6 p.m. 8b Przy Bażantarni Street
- 15 October, Friday, from 10 a.m. to 15 p.m. 42b Puławska Street
- 18 October, Monday, form 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3/5 Foksal Steet
- 19 October, Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 46 Wałbrzyska Street
- 26 October, Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. pl. Konesera 10a
During our Open Days you will have a chance to:
- get a free consultation with a geneticist,
- get instructed on how to perform a breast self-exam,
- buy at a discount genetic predisposition test for breast and ovarian cancer
- Pink October - why it's important?
- What is breast cancer?
- Breast cancer prevention
Pink October - why it's important?
In 1985, the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (producer of drugs to treat breast cancer) launched a campaign that has been raising public awareness about the prevention and treatment of breast cancer for almost 40 years. AstraZeneca declared October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wanted to promote mammography as the most effective method to prevent breast cancer. The campaign was widely publicized, and in 2008 the European Breast Cancer Coalition declared the European Breast Cancer Day on October 15. The pink ribbon has become a symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
Pink ribbon - a symbol of the fight against breast cancer
Why pink ribbon? In the beginning, the ribbon was yellow and symbolized consciousness. The pink ribbon was first presented by the American Breast Cancer Foundation. During the Race for the Cure in 1990, participants received bright pink visors. Later the organizers of the marathon in New York handled pink ribbons to participants. In 1992, Evelyn Lauder (then vice president of Estée Lauder) and Alexander Penny (then editor of Self magazine) decided to publish a special issue on cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among women in Europe. It’s estimated that almost 30% of diagnosed cancers in women are breast cancer. About 5 to 10% of breast cancer are hereditary, meaning that they result from gene changes. Every year 1.7 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 500,000 die from the disease. Although it is very rare, men can get breast cancer too (1 out of 100 diagnosed breast cancer).
Risk factors for breast cancer
Risk factors for breast cancer are very complex but are related to a woman's hormonal status have the greatest impact. Factors that increase the risk of breast cancer include:
- Heredity (gene mutations),
- age (risk increases in women over age 50),
- reproductive history:
- early menstrual periods (before age 12),
- late menopause (after age 54),
- having first pregnancy after the age of 30
- hormonal factors:
- use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- the use of hormone replacement therapy,
- a diet rich in saturated fat and sugar,
- lack of vegetables, fruits, and fish in the diet
- drinking alcohol,
- lack of physical activity,
- chronic stress,
- other cancers in the past, such as ovarian cancer, uterine cancer (womb cancer).
Genetic risk factors of breast cancer development
About 5 to 10% of breast cancer are hereditary. The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is a mutation in the BRCA1 or/and BRCA2 gene. There are almost 20 genes associated with breast cancer risk. However, mutations in the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes (or other genes) do not mean that you are sure to get breast cancer, but it increases the risk of having it. When a BRCA1 mutation is detected, the risk of breast cancer is approximately 65-90%.
Breast cancer prevention
Breast cancer prevention methods help to prevent and reduce risk factors of breast cancer. There are two types of breast cancer prevention. Primary cancer prevention – are strategies that prevent a cancerous process from developing, including lifestyle change and testing to detect the disease before symptoms occur. Secondary prevention includes medical interventions aimed to diagnose and detect breast cancer in the early stages.
Primary cancer prevention
Studies show an association between excessive consumption of alcohol, saturated fat, overweight, and breast cancer. Hight body fat percentage and alcohol abuse increase estrogen levels, which increases the risk of getting breast cancer.
To prevent breast cancer, it is important to have a healthy lifestyle:
- be physically active,
- maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,
- increase in consumption of fish, especially sea fish
- reduce meat in your diet, especially fat and canned.
Primary prevention also includes mastectomy. This breast cancer surgery is used primarily on patients who have been confirmed to be at high risk of getting breast cancer due to mutations in the BRCA1 or/and BRCA2 genes. Mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer by 90%. However, such radical action is the subject of discussion among experts.
However, the primary prevention methods are limited. The causes of breast cancer in most cases are unknown. Therefore, it is important to carry out secondary preventive measures.
Secondary cancer prevention
Secondary prevention of breast cancer use screening, testing in an attempt to detect cancer at early stages of development.
Early detection of breast cancer is the key to successful treatment. It’s recommended for women recommended to undergo preventive examinations systematically. Tests that help to fight breast cancer include:
- breast self-exam,
- ultrasound of the mammary glands,
- genetic testing.
Every woman over the age of 20 is encouraged to perform regular breast self-exams. It is best to exam yourself on the first day after menstruation. If you have menopause, it's recommended to check breasts once a month, preferably always on the same day of the month. The examination consists of palpation of the breast. Gently press and check each breast and armpit area. Movements should be made from top to bottom and in a circular motion, as well as from side to center and vice versa.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
- lump in the chest
- change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast,
- changes in the color or texture of the breast skin,
- nipple retraction
- asymmetry of the breast,
- skin changes around the nipple
- discharge from the nipple
- varicose veins of the skin of the chest,
- redness, fever, swelling,
- enlargement of a lymph node under the arm
Ultrasound is a non-invasive and painless diagnostic examination, which allows detecting breast lumps with a size of about 3-5 mm. It’s recommended to do the test for women over age 20 every 2 years. Breast ultrasound can detect cysts and other changes and gives a more accurate estimate of the size of the fibrocystic changes. Breast ultrasound is often done in addition to mammography.
Mammography is a method of diagnosing and examining breast tissues. The examination allows to visualize different types of breast changes and to diagnose breast cancer and other conditions in the early stages.
Genetic testing allows us to identify the predisposition of the development of breast and ovarian cancer that is caused by gene mutations.
The study of genetic predisposition to the development of breast and ovarian tumors allows us to assess the risk of developing these tumors due to genetic causes.
At Damiana Medical Center we use new, innovative sequencing methods (NGS - next-generation sequencing) to study genetic predisposition to cancer. This technology isolated DNA from the collected sample and allows detect any changes in the studied genes.
Based on an in-depth analysis, we make an individual medical report for the patient, which lists and describes all potentially dangerous changes in DNA. The patient receives a complete description of pathogenic and potentially pathogenic variants that may increase the risk of cancer due to genetic reasons. If a patient is diagnosed with a pathogen, we offer consultations with a psychologist and oncologist for 1 PLN.
Available predictive genetic tests for breast and cancer
Discount during Open Days
2 genes: BRCA1, BRCA2
1 850 PLN
19 genes: ATM, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, MLH1, MLH3, MSH2, MSH3, MSH6, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11, TP53
2 600 PLN
27 genes: ATM, BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, MRE11A, MLH1, MLH3, MSH2, MSH3, MSH6, MUTYH, NBN, NF1, PALB2, PMS2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, RECQL, SMARCA4, SMARCB1, STK11, TP53, XRCC2
3 000 PLN