Thingamaboobs and Boob-a-grams promote early detection of breast cancer



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - To recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month in
October, the Canadian Cancer Society's B.C. and Yukon Division is offering
what it hopes is a key to early detection of the most commonly diagnosed
cancer among women.
    The Society will trade more than 10,000 'Thingamaboob' key chains for
donations toward breast cancer research, prevention, and support programs.
Each key chain features different sized balls that represent lumps, both
healthy and irregular, that women may feel in their breasts.
    "Although prevention of breast cancer, and all cancers, is our ultimate
hope and goal, we think Thingamaboobs will help women wrap their head-and
hands-around what to look for," said Charlene Krepiakevich, vice president of
marketing and communications at the Society's local office.
    Krepiakevich says it is critical women be familiar with their breasts
since successful treatment for breast cancer is most likely when the cancer is
detected and treated early.
    Online 'Boob-a-grams' are now also available on the Society's website
(www.cancer.ca) as a fun and upbeat way to send an e-mail to encourage women
to get a mammogram.
    An estimated 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer across
Canada this year and about 5,300 will die from it. In B.C., the numbers
translate into 2,700 cases and 640 deaths.
    Despite having the lowest age-standardized incidence and mortality rates
for breast cancer in the country, women in B.C. still have a one in nine
chance of developing breast cancer and one in 27 will die of it.
    According to cancer statistics released in April, breast cancer death
rates among women have fallen by 25 per cent since 1986 and more women are
living longer after a diagnosis of breast cancer.
    Current evidence shows that organized screening with mammography and
clinical breast examination - the most reliable methods of finding breast
cancer - have contributed to the declining death rates.
    "In addition to health-first public policies, early detection and taking
part in organized breast screening programs saves lives," said Krepiakevich.
"We know screening works. Barriers to screening must continue to be identified
and overcome. If more women are screened, more will survive. It's that
simple."
    The Society has updated its breast health messaging and no longer
recommends routine breast self-examination (BSE) as a way to find cancer.
    "The body of evidence shows that teaching women how to perform regular
BSE is not effective in finding cancer, and may actually do more harm than
good," she said. "While it's important for women to look and feel for any
changes in their breasts, they don't need to follow a particular technique or
schedule. Many women have found their own cancers, and being aware of what is
normal for them is an important part of this."
    Krepiakevich points out most lumps are not cancer, but recommends that
women who notice changes in their breasts report those changes to their
doctor.

    
    The Canadian Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines:
    -   Women between the ages of 50 to 69 have a mammogram every two years.
           -   If you are between the ages of 40 and 49, discuss your risk of
               breast cancer and the benefits and risks of mammography with
               your doctor.
           -   If you are 70 or older, talk to your doctor about a screening
               program for you.
    -   Have a clinical breast examination by a trained health professional
        at least every two years if you are over the age of 40.
    -   Get to know your breasts. Talk to your doctors about any changes.
    

    Up to 50 per cent of cancers are preventable. Women can reduce their
breast cancer risk by eating a healthy diet, being physically active,
maintaining a healthy body weight, minimizing alcohol consumption and avoiding
non-essential hormones.
    As Canada's leader in the fight against cancer, the Canadian Cancer
Society will soon gain valuable insights on modifiable risk factors for breast
cancer and other diseases from its new Research Chair in Primary Prevention of
Cancer at UBC.

    Founded in 1938, the Canadian Cancer Society is a national,
community-based organization that seeks to eradicate cancer and improve the
quality of life of people living with cancer. The Society provides valuable
cancer information services, funds research and educates Canadians on cancer
risks.





For further information:

For further information: Marcelo Dominguez, Manager, Media Relations,
Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division, T: (604) 675-7340, C: (778)
686-1300, E: mdominguez@bc.cancer.ca

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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