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Geisinger Media Tip Sheet

Story ideas and photo opportunities for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: Wendy Wilson, Vice President, Corporate Communications, 570-703-7807, wkwilson@geisinger.edu


Keeping abreast of your risk: This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 232,670 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. But when does breast cancer happen? When normal cell growth goes haywire. In normal circumstances, new cells replace old, damaged cells that eventually die, but sometimes old cells don't die; instead, they eventually create a mass of extra cells, aka a potentially cancerous tumor. Finding that tumor as early as possible, before it spreads, is key to beating breast cancer, something Geisinger primary care and cancer physicians stress daily with their patients.

Breast cancer diagnosis… Now what?: The American Cancer Society estimates that about 300,000 women this year will find out they have breast cancer. Frightening words that can send the mind reeling with questions. What's going to happen to me? What about my kids? My family? How are we… how am I… going to get through this? A cancer diagnosis is never easy to hear, and these questions are perfectly legitimate. Geisinger's comprehensive cancer team that includes doctors of several specialties, nurse navigators and social workers are there with newly diagnosed patients every step of the way to help with answers these difficult questions.

Celebs are doing it. Should I be?: Last year, award-winning actress Angelina Jolie made the surprising announcement that she had both breasts removed to reduce her risk of getting cancer. That decision brought a lot of attention to the controversial concept of preventative mastectomies. It also left many women asking if they should take the same steps. The answer lies in genetics. While most women can manage their risk through lifestyle, a small percentage of women may be candidates for these preventive measures. Thankfully, Geisinger experts have been involved in this research and can let you know if this extreme measure is right for you.

Open the screening door: You know you're supposed to get regularly screened for breast cancer, but you're not quite sure when to start and how frequently you should go. Although there has been some disagreement over breast cancer screening recommendations the last few years, six health agencies (including the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and the National Cancer Institute) as well as the larger medical community all agree on this: All women should get a mammogram once a year, beginning at age 40. For details on when to get mammograms and other screening when's where's and how's, speak with a Geisinger oncologist.

Side effects are a main course: Discovering you have cancer is a major life-changing moment. It's an invitation to a battle you didn't want, sure to be filled with both physical and emotional struggle. But there is help to be had. It's important to know there are a number of resources and people available to assist you through this time and better manage both the physical and emotional side effects of cancer. From nausea and vomiting, anema and fatigue, memory issues and welling to hot flashes, night sweats and mouth sores, all the side effects of cancer treatment will be new, and Geisinger offers a place to turn for support.