Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women.
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before she has any symptoms. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
Some things may increase your risk
The main factors that influence your breast cancer risk are being a
woman and getting older. Other risk factors include—
• Changes in breast cancer-related genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2).
• Having your first menstrual period before age 12.
• Never giving birth, or being older when your first child is born.
• Starting menopause after age 55.
• Taking hormones to replace missing estrogen and progesterone
in menopause for more than five years.
• Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills).
• A personal history of breast cancer, dense breasts, or some other
• A family history of breast cancer (parent, sibling, or child).
• Getting radiation therapy to the breast or chest.
• Being overweight, especially after menopause.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are—
• New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
• Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
• Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
• Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
• Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
• Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
• Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
• Pain in the breast.
Get to know Hematologist and Oncologist Dr. James Everett Carinder, who serves patients in Covington, Louisiana.
Noted for his expertise in lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and breast cancer, Dr. Carinder is a board-certified hematologist-oncologist who has over 25 years of experience in his field. He practices at Northshore Oncology Associates in Covington, Louisiana.
Patients come to Northshore Oncology Associates for comprehensive medical care in a state-of-the-art, patient-centered environment that cares for them from diagnosis to during and after treatment. The highly- experienced physicians and health care staff working there use their skills, compassion, and the latest medical knowledge to care for patients and their loved ones.
With a stellar reputation, Dr. Carinder is also affiliated with St. Tammany Cancer Center and Slidell Memorial Hospital.
His acclaimed career in medicine began in 1994 when he earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pursuing advanced medical training, he completed both his residency and fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Thereafter, he became board-certified in hematology and medical oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicinem a physician-led, non-profit, independent evaluation organization driven by doctors who want to achieve higher standards for better care in a rapidly changing world.
Attributing his success to his excellent training, Dr. Carinder remains a member of several professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Hematology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of the cause, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to blood. Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. A hematologist-oncologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of blood diseases and cancers such as iron-deficiency anemia, hemophilia, sickle-cell disease, leukemia, and lymphoma.
On a more personal note, one of Dr. Carinder’s hobbies is swimming.
Thanksgiving usually isn’t considered the healthiest holiday. But making exercise apart of your holiday tradition can help you maintain a healthy weight. And, it can keep you from feeling so guilty about that slice of pumpkin pie.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health and to lower your cancer risk.
Try exercising most days. Each week, try to complete 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
During the holidays, many people skip their scheduled workouts. But making exercise part of your holiday is one way to make sure you complete the recommend amount of activity.
We asked some of our doctors, nurses and staff members what they do to make their Thanksgiving a little healthier. Here’s what they had to say:
“If I travel, I run on my own or with my family when I visit them.” – Robin, nurse supervisor
“We try to cook healthier versions of typical Thanksgiving meals so there is less guilt afterwards.” – Samantha, program director
“My wife and I compete in a Turkey Trot, a 10K race,” – Richard Macati, M.D., Internal Medicine
“Traditionally my family will gather and eat around noon at my parents’ house. A few hours later, we take a family walk for about an hour to burn the extra calories and enjoy the beautiful country scenery.” – Lori, nurse
Breast cancer … it’s a scary thought and all too many women assume that it won’t happen to them. Fact is though, every ten minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. So, don’t be ignorant, during breast cancer awareness month 2019 go for a medical checkup, it might save your life.
Early signs of breast cancer can be a lump in a breast, a painful breast or armpit, or a discharge from the nipple. Even if none of these symptoms present themselves, a doctor should be visited to be sure. A doctor will most likely perform a manual exam and send you for a mammogram. A mammogram examination is painless and only takes about ten minutes.
If any of these symptoms do present themselves there’s no need to panic. Plenty of time, pain or a lump in a breast can be perfectly harmless. The pain can be a sign of a cyst or the lump can be benign. It’s always better to be sure though.
If you’ve never had a mammogram, make an appointment during breast cancer awareness month 2019. You can take a friend or family member with you and afterward you’ll have peace of mind.
How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are 2 key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that you can do something about this.
Besides quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life.
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Make healthy food choices with a focus on plant-based foods.
The evidence for this is strong. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.
Control your weight.
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others.
Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.
What’s a healthy weight?
One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score.
To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.
If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Also try to limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!
For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
Be more active.
Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to be more physically active. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control. It can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.
More good news – physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your athletic shoes and head out the door!
The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. This is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework. For kids, the recommendation is at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
Moderate activities are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.
It’s also important to limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
Being more physically active than usual, no matter what your level of activity, can have many health benefits.
Eat healthy foods.
Eating well is an important part of improving your health and reducing your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself and your family:
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
- Read food labels to become more aware of portion sizes and calories. Be aware that “low-fat” or “non-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.”
- Eat smaller portions when eating high-calorie foods.
- Choose vegetables, whole fruit, legumes such as peas and beans, and other low-calorie foods instead of calorie-dense foods such as French fries, potato and other chips, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets.
- Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
- When you eat away from home, be especially mindful to choose food low in calories, fat, and added sugar, and avoid eating large portion sizes.
Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
- Minimize your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs.
- Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat (beef, pork, and lamb).
- If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and eat smaller portions.
- Prepare meat, poultry, and fish by baking, broiling, or poaching rather than by frying or charbroiling.
Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Include vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Emphasize whole fruits and vegetables; choose 100% juice if you drink vegetable or fruit juices.
- Limit your use of creamy sauces, dressings, and dips with fruits and vegetables.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
- Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals (such as barley and oats) instead of breads, cereals, and pasta made from refined grains, and brown rice instead of white rice.
- Limit your intake of refined carbohydrate foods, including pastries, candy, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high-sugar foods.
If you drink alcohol, limit how much
People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.
A drink of alcohol is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). In terms of cancer risk, it is the amount of alcohol, not the type of alcoholic drink that is important.
These daily limits do not mean it’s safe to drink larger amounts on fewer days of the week, since this can lead to health, social, and other problems.
Reducing cancer risk in our communities
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.
We all can be part of these changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy option, too. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portions, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.
The bottom line
Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, increase our physical activity, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol, and look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.