Everyday Health Tips from 6 Top Docs
Breast HealthHELENA CHANG, MD, PhD
Director of the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and the Gonda/UCLA Breast Cancer Research Laboratory
Dr. Chang, 60, knows that feeling of dread when you suddenly find a lump in your breast: It happened to her. Because she worked at a hospital she was able to get a biopsy within 24 hours, and it was fortunately benign. But even 14 years later the surgeon and mom of two still knows better than most how it feels to fear the worst.Her Advice
"Do a breast self-exam once a month, three to five days after your period ends. Though some research suggests that self-exams might not ultimately save lives, I still think we all should be familiar with our own breasts."
"Have regular mammograms, starting at age 40, or younger if you have a family history of breast cancer. Digital mammography is better if your breasts are dense; centers in most major cities offer it. If you're at high risk, ask your doctor whether you should get an MRI."
"Keep your weight down, especially after menopause. Obesity and piling on pounds as you get older make you more susceptible to breast cancer. I also warn that more than two drinks a day significantly ups risks."
"Get moving. Exercising regularly after breast-cancer treatment lowers your risk of dying from the disease."Latest Breakthrough
"A new drug called Avastin that works by starving tumors of their blood supply may help women with HER2 negative breast cancer (which doesn't respond to Herceptin). Researchers are also testing breast-cancer vaccines. Although none is ready for prime time, when one is it will be amazing news for treatment and prevention."
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