Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health
Departments Health Links Calendar Archived Issues Media Kit Contact Us
  Senior Care Senior Living Camps & Activities for Special Needs Children Ask the Expert  

Breast Cancer – What You Need to Know
By Dr. Natalie Furgiuele - Iracki

Over the next few issues we will discuss early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. First, let's learn the facts. In 2010, the American Cancer Society estimated 75,000 new cases of cancer in Pennsylvania alone. Of those cases, 10,000 would be breast cancer. Breast cancer ranks 2nd in the nation as a cause for death in women and is expected to be the most frequent diagnosed cancer in women this year.

The good news is that the survival rate for breast cancer in patients under the age of 50 has steadily increased since 1990. This is partially due to the progress in early detection and improved treatment. The 5 year survival rate for all women with breast cancer has also improved. In 1960 the survival rate was 63% and today it is close to 90%. The survival rate for cases of early detection, in which the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or other areas, is at 98%.

What are the risk factors? Family history is probably what comes to mind, as the saying goes, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your relatives. However, only 5-10% of breast cancer is truly hereditary and associated with the genetic mutations BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. Having a mother, sister, or daughter who has had breast cancer only increases your risk by 2 1/2 % and is responsible for only 20% of breast cancer cases.

By far, the largest risk factor is being female and aging, as if aging wasn't already complicated enough! This makes up 80% of breast cancer cases. All women have an increased risk after the age of 65. Once diagnosed with breast cancer, being overweight adversely affects survival. Women who are more physically active are less likely to die from the disease compared to women who are inactive. Other risk factors include, of course, having had previous breast cancer.

Now that you have some of the facts, in the next issue we will discuss early detection methods which are instrumental in the hopes of conquering this disease.

Dr. Natalie Furgiuele- Iracki, Breast Surgeon at Radiance Surgery Center, also operating at St. Clair, Mon Valley, UPMC South, and The Washington Hospital/Tri-State, can be reached at (412) 833-9722

Return to Top

Current Issue of Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good HealthAdvertiseSubscribe for FREE2016 Annual Healthcare GuideDownload a PDF version
Subscribe to GTGH




Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD)

Scott and Christie

CMS Housing – Apartments


Legacy Medical Centers

WR Cameron Wellness Center

Medicare Specialists of Pittsburgh

Blind and Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children

New Story

East End Food Coop

Reserve This Space | Call 412-835-5796 or email goodhealthmag@aol.com

Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health. All rights reserved.

Send email to goodhealthmag@aol.com