Karmanos Cancer Institute honors survivors and recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, cancer centers, and other organizations nationwide recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer affects more women each year than any other cancer, making up about 30% of cancer diagnoses among females annually.

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures

  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer. It is estimated that 1 in 39 women will die from the disease.
  • In 2023, there will be around 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 55,720 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ.
  • There are more than 4 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. The relative five-year survival rate is 91%.
  • Breast cancer does occur in men. Around 2,800 new cases of breast cancer are estimated in 2023.
  • Approximately 5%-10% of breast cancers can be linked to inherited gene mutations.
  • Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives, meaning there is a 7 in 8 chance of not developing the disease.

All data reported by the American Cancer Society.

Breast Cancer Treatment at Karmanos Cancer Institute

The Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) at Karmanos Cancer Institute includes surgical, medical, and radiation oncologists; radiologists; pathologists; plastic surgeons; pharmacists; specialized nurse practitioners; dietitians; social workers; and genetic counselors.

“Our team of breast cancer experts work closely together to collectively customize a treatment plan that fits each patient,” said Michael Simon, M.D., MPH, medical oncologist, co-leader of the Breast Cancer MDT at Karmanos and medical director of the Karmanos Cancer Genetic Counseling Service. “From screening to biopsies and testing to treatment and follow-up care, we have specialists that work with our patients every step of the way, ensuring they receive the best care.”

The Karmanos team employs the latest technology and treatments, including immunotherapy, minimally invasive surgery, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy, to minimize radiation exposure to nearby healthy organs, including the lungs and heart. Clinical trials are also available to breast cancer patients.

Breast Cancer Screening

Since cancer is most treatable in the early stages, early detection is key in the fight against cancer. Often, breast cancer does not exhibit symptoms early on, making screening an important tool.

Breast cancer screening is done through mammography, a special type of x-ray tuned to detect breast abnormalities. A screening mammogram takes about 15 minutes. Women who are 40 years of age or older should be screened for breast cancer annually. However, screening needs vary by individual, and some women may need to begin screening sooner and complete testing more frequently. To learn more about mammography at Karmanos, visit karmanos.org/digitalmamm or call 1-800-KARMANOS.

Breast Cancer Symptoms and Risk Factors

In the early stages, breast cancer may not have any symptoms. When a symptom does occur, it is most commonly a lump or mass in the breast. However, not all lumps indicate cancer. Other symptoms include swelling, pain, changes in the appearance of the skin on the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swollen lymph nodes.

Certain lifestyle factors increase the risk of breast cancer, including alcohol consumption, being overweight, physical inactivity, not having children or breastfeeding, and taking certain forms of birth control and hormone therapy following menopause. Several risk factors for breast cancer cannot be controlled. These risk factors include genetics, family history, race and ethnicity, age, height, and breast tissue density.

The Women’s Wellness Clinic and the High-Risk Breast Cancer Assessment at Karmanos

The Women’s Wellness Clinic at Karmanos offers care for women at all stages, from preventative to diagnosis, through treatment and recovery. The clinic is staffed by highly trained nurse practitioners focused on overall breast and women’s health and wellness. They assess patients with new breast symptoms and provide continuity of care for patients who are in survivorship.

When women schedule their annual mammogram at the Women’s Wellness Clinic, they will receive a high-risk breast assessment. This questionnaire helps identify women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer based on personal and family history information. The assessment also calculates the patient’s risk for colon and lung cancer. Based on the assessment and mammogram results, our experienced radiologists and specialists will go over the patient’s risk with them and recommend if they should need additional screening for breast, colon or lung, and follow-up care.

For more details about breast health services offered near you and other health-related information, visit karmanos.org/breasthealth or 1-800-KARMANOS.