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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Throughout the month of October, the Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen will be providing focused outreach and breast cancer education through social media, e-mail and online Webinars. To be sure you are receiving the most up to date information and daily digest of breast cancer health, please like us on Facebook.

Take Action Thursday: October 31st, 2013: Engaging in Breast Cancer Research – Hayley’s Story

10-31 Research Kandy Powers, ARNP and Hailey Woods

In 2010, the University of Kansas Breast Cancer Prevention Center received a $4.5 million Promise Grant from Susan G. Komen. This purpose of the grant is to investigate whether an estrogen found in flax seed – a commonly used supplement – can reduce the risk for breast cancer.

Hayley Woods decide to become a part of something bigger than herself! After hearing about the research study from her local Komen Affiliate, Hayley called the Prevention Center to see if she could potentially qualify for the study. After an initial consultation, Hayley was invited back to have a fine needle aspiration to collect a tissue sample. This sample will be the final determination of whether or not Hayley will be accepted into the trial.

Most people don’t know what to expect when it comes to qualifying or participating for a clinical trial. Hayley shares the experience in her own words:

I arrived at the Breast Research Center, and I was a little bit nervous. I was about to have needles put in me! I was checked in right away and taken to my exam room. The staff was all very helpful and friendly. They quickly put my mind at ease. The nurse took my vitals and went over some paperwork with me that thoroughly explained the procedure, the after care, and what I should expect. She also explained a little bit more about the research study, and I was then feeling ready and prepared.

Kandy and Amy came in to give me an initial exam and prepare me for my fine needle aspiration. They made casual conversation that relaxed me and made me feel comfortable. After explaining all of the steps, they turned on some soft music and low lights. I thought I was at the spa for a moment! They continued to engage me in conversation that kept my mind distracted and my nerves calm.

They cleaned the area that they would be working around, and everything was ready. The only discomfort I experienced the entire time was a little pinch when the numbing medication was put in. After I was numb, I felt no pain at all, from start to finish. The procedure only took about 20 minutes, and I just rested and talked with the ladies as they worked.

After they were done, I applied cold packs for a few minutes before they bandaged me up. It was over! The results will take about 4 to 6 weeks, and then I will know if I qualify for the flaxseed trial. I would definitely do it again, and I would recommend it to anyone interested.

I will get to follow up regularly with the clinic and stay on top of my breast health. This is important to me, especially as a person without good health insurance. This is a great opportunity to keep up on my own health and contribute to research!

It only took about four weeks to get my aspiration results back.  I was excited to find out that I did qualify for the study! The office set me up with another appointment to come back and finish the final steps to get me enrolled in the study.

I was asked to fast the night before my appointment, and when I arrived, I had a blood draw.  As usual, the office staff was very friendly and helpful.  I did not have to wait long periods of time, which was important when I had my four year old with me!

I went over the last details with Jessica, the study coordinator.  I feel very confident about my role in the study, which is as simple as taking my study medication (with no known side effects) each day, and checking back in with the clinic regularly.  As I finished signing my paperwork, I found out that the study pays me too!  I had no idea!  That made for a wonderful surprise, and now I’m ready to start the study and do my part in Breast Cancer Research!

Are you thinking about participating in a clinical trial?  Don’t hesitate!  It has been a great experience and opportunity to give back!   – Hayley Woods

Webinar Wednesday: October 30th, 2013: Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer Patients

10-30 Webinar- Clinical Trials

#WebinarWednesday! Join us for a free webinar today at 11:30 am CT: “Clinical Trials for #BreastCancer Patients.” Learn how #clinicaltrials work, the benefits of participating, how to enroll and more. Register (space is limited): Register Here

Talk About it Tuesday: October 29th, 2013: Real World Research



Komen has sustained a strong commitment to supporting research that will identify and deliver cures for breast cancer since it began over 30 years ago. This commitment has resulted in important progress that has contributed to major advances in breast cancer since our founding in 1982. With increasing investments over time, now totaling over $800 million, Komen is now the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research in the world.

Our research focus has evolved over the years. In the beginning we focused on understanding the basic biology of breast cancer. As we learn more about the factors that make cancer cells grow and spread, we are able to invest more in the translation of this knowledge into treatment, early detection and prevention. Our focus is to support work that has significant potential to lead to reductions in incidence and mortality within the decade.  Our work isn’t done until our vision of a world without breast cancer is reached.

Susan G. Komen:

  • began with a single grant for $28,000 in 1982
  • has funded research each year since we began
  • has invested more than $800 million in research since 1982 to support over 2200 research grants
  • is  the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research in the world
  • currently manage over 500 active research grants totaling over $285 million
  • has supported a broad range of research from basic biology to treatment to survivorship

Link to 2013 Research Fast Facts

Link to HER2 Research 

Link to Metastasis Research

Link to Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research

Link to Vaccine Research

Myth Monday: October 28th, 2013: Answer - Fact:  Progress has been made toward breast cancer cures


Over the last thirty years significant advances have been made that have led to decreased mortality and increased survival rates.  Progress in both early detection and treatment has led to improved survival for people of all ages and races, and with all stages of breast cancer. Between 1990 and 2009, breast cancer mortality (death) declined by 33 percent among women in the United States. And 30 years ago, the five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer was about 74 percent. Today, this number has increased to 98 percent.

Over the past 20 years, great progress has been made in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. As a result, the number of breast cancer survivors continues to rise.

Click here for details on Susan G. Komen Research Grants and Programs.


Take Action Thursday: October 24th, 2013 – What will YOU do?

Take Action Thursday You 102413Take Action Thursday!
Share what action YOU will take to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Here are some ideas: #Komen365


Webinar Wednesday: October 23rd, 2013 – Know Your Risk

10-23 Webinar-Know Your Risk

Webinar Wednesday Sign up for 10/23 Webinar at 11:30am: Understanding Genetics and Breast Cancer Risk #Komen365. Click here to register.

Talk About it Tuesday: October 22nd, 2013 – Waves of Progress



Survivorship Today Compared to 30 years ago…

Over the past 30 years, much progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer. More than thirty years ago, when Suzy Komen was told she had breast cancer, people did not say the words breast cancer out loud. It was not talked about in social circles, there was no easy internet access and it certainly wasn’t discussed on mainstream media. Our strides in progress have been significant and we are grateful that talking about breast cancer is no longer taboo.

Waves of Progress:

Over the past 30 years, researchers have identified many factors that increase breast cancer risk and a few factors that lower risk. Genetic tests for certain mutations are now used, we know that certain lifestyle choices such as  exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, using alcohol or menopausal hormones or breastfeeding can have an impact on your risk for breast cancer.  We know now that breast cancer is not contagious, contrary to the belief just a few short decades ago. Many risk factors are still unknown and many are simply out of our control (the two most common risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting older). Although we have learned a lot, we still do not understand what causes breast cancer to develop at a certain time in a certain person. It’s likely a combination of risk factors, but why a certain combination of factors might cause cancer in one person, but not in another, is still unclear.

However, it is important to know that there are steps you can take to lower your risk. Leading a healthy lifestyle may help lower your risk of breast cancer.  And, while it won’t help decrease you risk of getting breast cancer, knowing what factors may increase your risk can help you work with your health care provider to address any concerns you may have and develop a breast cancer screening plan that is right for you.

There are almost three million breast cancer survivors in the United States today (more than any other group of cancer survivors).  Thirty years ago, even when breast cancer was caught early (confined to the breast) the five-year relative survival rate was about 74 percent. Today, the five – year relative survival rate is now 98 percent!  And more importantly, the mortality rate has declined 33 percent since 1990 due to early detection and effective treatment.

While Komen continues to work to find a cure for breast cancer, the sheer number of survivors shows the great strides that have been made in early detection and treatment. Today, most breast cancer survivors lead long and fulfilling lives, and Komen is with these survivors at every step of their journey.


Myth Monday Answer – October 21st, 2013 – MYTH!


“I’m not at risk for breast cancer because no one in my family has ever had breast cancer!”

Did you know that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no immediate family history? Only about 13 percent of women diagnosed have an immediate female relative (mother, father, sister, brother or child) with breast cancer. The two most common risk factors for breast cancer are being female and getting older.

 All women are at risk!

Know your risk 

  • Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

Inherited genetic mutations:

Only 5-10% percent of breast cancer cases in the U.S. are from an inherited genetic mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. Most breast cancer cases are due to a spontaneous gene mutation, an error in a gene that has occurred in a single cell during your lifetime.

The cause of breast cancer is not known. Although everyone is at risk for breast cancer, having an immediate family member (a parent, sibling or child) with a history of breast cancer increases your own risk of breast cancer by nearly twice the risk compared to  a women without a family history. Visit here to learn more about risk factors and prevention.

Breast cancer can happen to anyone, even if you don’t have an immediate family history. Know you risk and know what it is normal for you. Talk with your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.


Follow the Funds Friday – October 18th, 2013 - Wood County Health Department Promotes Awareness in Schools



Follow the Funds Friday – Wood County Health Department Promotes Awareness in Schools

NEKOOSA – School spirit is often a contagious emotion that can easily spread like wildfire. Faculty and staff in high schools across Wisconsin may know the feeling well and encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities. The Nekoosa High School has added a twist, however, actually, they’ve added pink.

The Wood County Health Department approached coaches at the various High Schools in Wood County in efforts to begin spreading breast cancer awareness in the schools. The Nekoosa High School coaches jumped on board.

“In the last three years, it’s really taken off,” Bob Ness, Nekoosa High School Athletic Director said. “It’s gotten much bigger and better.”

The Wood County Health Department is a Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen grant recipient in its fourth year. Komen Central Wisconsin provides funds so they are able to implement their various outreach programs.

Their grant program involves three different focus areas; one includes breast cancer prevention and awareness among youth. The Wood County Health Department provides sports teams located in Wood County High School Districts with pink athletic attire for those schools whom are interested. The school will then host a “pink night.” Wood County provides educational materials that are available at the sporting events for spectators and athletes.

“The coaches tell the athletes and students which day or date that they are using for a cancer awareness game,” Bob said. “From there they get volunteers, parents to volunteer for certain thing. We get help from Wood County with socks they give us and in some instances we buy pink jerseys to help promote that date.”

These events don’t just occur during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but throughout the entire year.

“It’s really an entire school function,” Bob said. “Everybody kind of works together and there are announcements over the P.A. telling all to come out and support the Susan G. Komen program at tonight’s event.”

Last year, Nekoosa High School raised close to $5,000 that went to the American Society and Susan G. Komen.

“This year will be a little different,” Bob said. “Half is going toward a student who has brain cancer to help with expenses and medical bills.”

Freshman, Hunter Heppler, and his family are very appreciative. On Saturday, October 12th, Nekoosa High School volunteers held an exclusive fundraising event just for Hunter and his family. The Friday prior was Nekoosa High School football’s Pink night.

“They haven’t tallied up the fundraising efforts yet,” Bob said.

Bob is a big supporter and advocate for the Wood County program and the Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.

“Everybody should support it,” Bob said. “Whether they have personally known someone with cancer or not; it’s one of those diseases that needs to be fought on the front lines and the schools are on the front lines.”

He believes the various fundraising programs and awareness are working.

“It’s helping to put money toward cancer research and develop cures for cancer,” he said. “Even if they only have a dollar, every dollar helps. I think it’s really great. I’m proud of our athletes, coaches and community here for all of their participation.”

The next pink event Nekoosa High School will host will be during basketball season. A date is yet to be determined.


Wood County Health Department- Reducing Disparities, Linking Systems, developing Youth Leaders and Increasing Access in Wood County
Tel: 715-421-8911

The Wood County Health Department grant funds will be focused on 3 areas:

  • Funding assistance for women who have financial constraints that would prevent them from attending annual exams and mammograms.  The program will work in conjunction with the Wisconsin Well Women’s Program at the Wood County Health Department to give out vouchers for taxi services or gas gift cards to those who have difficulty with or lack of transportation.
  • Breast Cancer prevention and awareness among youth. The Wood County Health Department will provide sports teams located in Wood County High School Districts with pink athletic attire for those schools whom are interested. They will then host a “pink night.” Educational materials will be available at the sporting events for spectators and athletes.
  • Develop modules on breast cancer awareness and prevention that will be displayed at local Hmong family centers and food pantries in Wood County. The goal is to reach out not only to different ethnic backgrounds, but also to lower income, underinsured or uninsured Wood County residence with education materials on breast cancer awareness and prevention.

In its 3rd year, the Wood County Health Department has made great strides to reach out to their residence to educate them on breast cancer awareness and prevention. In their 2012-2013 grant year, their outreach program touched more than 450 women via various events and educational programs.

Counties served: Wood





Take Action Thursday: October 17th, 2013 - Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices


One of Susan G. Komen’s breast health self-awareness messages is: Make healthy lifestyle choices.

Here are five healthy lifestyle choices you can make that may reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight

  • Gaining weight after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Weight gain of 20 pounds or more after the age of 18 may increase your risk of breast cancer.
  • If you have gained weight, losing weight may lower your risk of breast cancer.

Add exercise into your routine

Physical activity involves the energy that you release from your body. It not only burns energy (calories) but may also help lower the risk of breast cancer. This is because exercise lowers estrogen levels, fights obesity, lowers insulin levels and boosts the function of immune system cells that attack tumors. Here is all it takes to get started:

  • If you have been inactive for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Include physical activity into your daily routine. All you need is moderate activity – where you break a sweat – like brisk walking for 30 minutes a day.
  • Do whatever physical activity you enjoy most and gets you moving.
  • After exercising, think about how good you feel about your body and yourself. Use that feeling to motivate you the next time.

If you are already physically active, keep up the good work!

Limit alcohol intake

You may have heard about research that showed having one serving of alcohol (such as a glass of red wine) each day improves your health by reducing your risk of heart attack. That is true, but many studies have also shown that alcohol intake can increase the risk of breast cancer. In general, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk for breast cancer. In general, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk of developing breast cancer. If you drink alcohol, have less than one drink a day. Getting enough folic acid may lower the risk linked to drinking alcohol. Folic acid can be found in multivitamins, oranges, orange juice, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.

Limit menopausal hormone use

For each year that combined estrogen plus progestin hormones are taken, the risk of breast cancer goes up. Once the drug is no longer taken, this risk returns to that of a woman who has never used hormones in about five to ten years. Postmenopausal hormones also increase the risk of ovarian cancer and heart disease. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.

Breastfeed, if you can

Breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women.

Note: This information is taken from the Susan G. Komen® Facts for Life: Healthy Living resource. Susan G. Komen® is not a health care provider and does not give medical advice. The information provided in this material is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or to replace the services of a medical professional.


Webinar Wednesday: October 16th, 2013 - Healthy Living & You presented by Sami Papacek

#Komen365 #WebinarWednesday, 11:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. CT toady! Healthy Living & YOU. We’ll discuss what things you can include in your daily activities to work towards a healthier lifestyle! Register today at

10-16-Webinar-Healthy Living and You

Talk About it Tuesday: October 15th, 2013 – Eating Healthy


This recipe search tool lets you search by cuisine, ingredients, cook time, special diets and other filters. Courtesy of Natural Standard. These recipes are to encourage healthy and delicious food choices and not necessarily reduce your risk of breast cancer.  Recipe Search Tool

Myth Monday Answer: October 14th, 2013 - Risk


Myth:  There’s nothing I can do to reduce my risk of breast cancer

Many factors are linked to breast cancer risk. Some risk factors, like being a woman and getting older, are things you cannot change. But other factors, like choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle may help lower your risk of breast cancer.

First, make sure to know factors that may add to your risk.  Then, make healthy lifestyle choices by maintaining a healthy weight, adding exercise into your routine and making food choices for overall good health that may also help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Let’s get moving and be physically active.

Finally, limit alcohol intake and menopausal hormone therapy and if you can, choose to breastfeed.  These are choices you can make to help lower your risk of breast cancer.

For more information on risk factors and prevention, click here.


Follow the Funds Friday: October 11, 2013 – Debra Winter’s Story:


Struggling to keep a person’s spirits and energy up during their breast cancer journey isn’t always the only thing one has to worry about. Financial issues and keeping food on the table can sometimes become overwhelming for a survivor and their family.

Debra Winter of Mosinee was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 at the age of 35. She and her husband, Dennis, had two young boys; Douglas, 10 and Donald, 6 at the time. They both had good jobs, with great insurance and she was able to go in for a complete physical that was one hundred per cent covered.

Though Debra was just 35 years old, her doctor recommended she get a mammogram just for preventative care. The results that came back were a shock to Debra, she had breast cancer.

“My doctor said it looked like someone had taken a salt shaker and just shook the cancer out in my left breast.” Debra said. “It would have never been found without a mammogram.”

Debra had a full mastectomy and started chemotherapy right away. Six months of treatment and some additional years of maintenance medication and soon she was cancer free.

“Compared to the second time, the first time was a piece of cake,” Debra said.

Yes, cancer struck again.  Read Debra’s Entire Story Here: Debra Winter’s Story

Debra is one of the volunteer survivors on the Marathon County Breast Health Coalition panel. Her ideas and input will benefit survivors and their families in the very near future.

Marathon County Health Department - Access to Breast Health Care-Marathon County
Tel: 715-261-1900

In its 2nd year, the Marathon County Health Department has made great strides in their outreach to educate Marathon County residence in the importance of breast cancer awareness and prevention. Just last year, they reached out to and educated more than 750 people via their Breast Health Coalition.

The Marathon County Health Department grant funds focus on 2 areas:

  • Form a Breast Health Coalition made up of area healthcare providers and partners who develop a Treatment Access Fund that helps women in need of breast cancer care and treatment.  In addition, the Coalition collaborates in the following areas: prevention and intervention, learning effective outreach methods, and identifying nontraditional methods to providence screening.
  • Increase outreach and education to rural Marathon County women, including the subcategories of the Plainclothes population (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) and Hispanic populations.

Take Action Thursday: October 10, 2013- Kimberly’s Story

Many Lame Excuses By: Kimberly Mann 10-10_Olivia_age_3_and_Kimberly_Mann_age_41

Recently I had my first mammogram at the age of 41 ½.  Yes, I delayed getting my mammogram for an entire year and a half despite my increased risk for breast cancer.  My maternal grandmother is an 18-year breast cancer survivor.  One would think that would make me very motivated to have my annual screenings.  I have many reasons for not going to get my mammogram; honestly looking back at it, they are all really lame:  I’m a healthy person, I exercise every single day, I work full-time, I’m a part-time Master’s student, I have three children in multiple activities, I am busy, busy, busy taking care of everyone else!  There just wasn’t time to go and get a mammogram.

This summer I made time to take care of me by getting my first mammogram.  What finally motivated me to go?  Looking back on it, it was a simple conversation with a group of ladies after my aerobics class.  These ladies were complementing me on being a good example to my three year old daughter by taking her to my exercise classes, pushing her in a stroller as I run, towing her behind my bike, and having her swim with me when I swim laps.  One of my friends was off to get her mammogram after class.  She asked me where I go to get my mammogram.  I had to answer, “Nowhere, I’ve never been!”  My friend turned to me and said, “So much for that good example for your daughter!  Go and schedule it today!”  That was all it took, someone pointing out to me that I needed to be a better example to my three-year old daughter.  I scheduled my mammogram that very day.  I vow to go every single year so that I can be a good example to my daughter.  I will take care of me!

Webinar Wednesday: October 9, 2013-

Log on today to our Wednesday Webinar as we talk about clearing up the confusion about screening guidelines; presented by Dr. Linda Harrison, radiologist at Diagnostic Imaging Centers in Kansas City, MO.

Register Here10-9Webinar-Clearing up Confusion

Talk about it Tuesday, October 8th, 2013- Get Screened!

Women in the United States have a “1 in 8” (or about 12 percent) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means that for every eight women in the U.S. who live to be age 85, one will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Getting regular screening tests is the best way for women to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest.

What Screening is right for me?

Regular breast cancer screening is important for all women, but even more so for those at higher risk. If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, you may need to be screened earlier and more often than other women.

A woman is considered at higher risk if she has one factor that greatly increases her risk or several factors that together increase risk. Your health care provider may use different tools to assess your risk and help you make a personalized breast cancer screening plan.

Factors that greatly increase breast cancer risk include:

A mutation (or a first-degree relative with a mutation) in the TP53 or PTEN genes (These gene mutations can lead to Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome. People with one of these syndromes or who have a first-degree relative with one of these syndromes have an increased risk of breast cancer.)

It is important to determine your personal risk.  Talk to both sides of your family about your family health history and talk with your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.  Assessing your risk will help your doctor develop a personalized breast cancer screening plan for you.

If you are at higher risk talk with your health care provider to determine which screening tests are right for you – and when they should begin.   The tests may include clinical breast exams, mammograms or breast MRI.

Continue the discussion at each visit with your doctor as your family history or personal history may change over time, which may then change your screening plan.

Women at average risk are to:

  • A mammogram every year starting at age 40
  • A clinical breast exam (CBE) at least every three years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40
  • Sign up for your screening reminder at

There is not a predetermined age to stop having mammograms or CBE’s.  As we age, women who are in good health and could benefit from treatment (if breast cancer were found) should continue to get mammograms. Breast cancer risk increases with age, and mammography does not appear to be less effective, for instance, in women 70 and older.  Women of all ages should continue to talk with their doctors about what screening tests are right for them.

Finally, be aware of breast changes.

You are the best judge of your own body and the best advocate for your health.  Know what is normal for you!  Be aware of the look and feel of your breasts.  Regardless of your age or the date of your last screening, be sure to contact your health care provider anytime you notice any of the following changes in the look or feel of your breasts.

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Myth Monday, October 7th, 2013 – Patty Krug, a survivor’s story: 

Patty Krug is a breast cancer survivor who talks about why self breast exams and mammograms are the most important steps in breast health and awareness.  Watch Video

Patty Krug self exam and mammogram video

Myth Monday, October 7th, 2013 Answer:


Myth Monday Answer: Mammography IS Safe!
Mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer used today. It can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small (too small to be felt) and chances of survival are highest. However according to a study reported in 2011, only about 50 percent of women age 40 and over WITH insurance received mammograms as recommended.

Susan G. Komen recommends that women at average risk should begin receiving screening mammograms annually at age 40,. For those who are at a higher risk for breast cancer, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor about screening options right for you personal screening recommendations.

Tje reasons that women choose not to get mammograms are numerous but many simply come from incorrect information.

I don’t need a mammogram because . . . 

No one in my family has ever had breast cancer.  

The truth is that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer have NO family history. You can still get breast cancer even if no one in your family has had the diagnosis. The biggest risks for breast cancer are being female and getting older.

Having a mammogram is painful!  

A mammogram does require compression of the breast, which is not always comfortable, but the mammogram should NEVER hurt! Consider getting your mammogram between days seven to 14 of your menstrual cycle.  Well-trained mammography technologists should listen to their patients and should never compress beyond the patient’s comfort level.  Some health systems offer free mammopads – a soft, thin foam cushion – which can also help with comfort.  Let your mammography technologist know if you’ve had a difficult experience in the past. Let your technologist know if the compression hurts.

I’m too busy for a mammogram, especially since I think they are a waste of time. 

Mammograms are not perfect, but they are the best screening tool we have today for breast cancer.  Some mammograms may show an abnormality that requires additional imaging and a biopsy and no cancer is found. This is called a false positive.  Some women have dense breast tissue or for other reasons,  a cancer may be hidden on a mammogram. This is called a false negative.  However, mammography correctly identifies about 78 percent of women who have breast cancer, and for women 50 and over, mammography correctly identifies about 83 percent of breast cancers correctly. In other words, mammograms save lives – and it is the best screening tool widely available that can find breast cancer early! 

Having a mammogram causes cancer.

A woman is exposed to a small amount of radiation during a mammogram and while the radiation exposure is associated with a higher risk for breast cancer over time, studies show that the benefits of mammography outweigh the risks from radiation exposure.

I don’t want to know if I have breast cancer.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death. Getting regular screening tests is the best way for women to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest. Over the past 20 years, great progress has been made in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, leading to decreased mortality rates. As a result, the number of breast cancer survivors continues to rise. In fact, there are almost three million breast cancer survivors in the United States today (more than any other group of cancer survivors)!

Get Screened!

  1. Have a clinical breast exam beginning at age 20, at least every three years and annually beginning at age 40.
  2. Have a mammogram annually beginning at age 40.
  3. If you are at a higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your doctor about which screening tests are right for you.
  4. Sign up for your screening reminder at

Be proactive about your health and get your mammogram.  If not for yourself, then for all those who love you and couldn’t imagine a life without you!


Follow the Funds Friday: October 4, 2013-

Read about Deb Tuft’s survivor story and how the Aspirus Women’s Foundation free Mammogram program, funded by Komen Central Wisconsin, saved her life.

Survivor’s Breast Cancer found two weeks after wedding – Deb’s Story

Aug 07, 2013 10:46 AM CDT

By Cami Mountain, Anchor, Multimedia Journalist WAOW

Deb Tuft of Wausau had a massive curve ball thrown into her marriage right after saying ‘I do’.

Two weeks after her wedding to Chris, she had a mammogram at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.  At just forty years old, it was the first she’d ever had.  One mammogram turned to two, then an ultrasound and a biopsy, then diagnosis. Read Deb’s Story here.

Deb Tuft

Aspirus Women’s Health Breast Screening and Diagnostic Program
Tel: 715-847-2121

The Aspirus Hospital and Aspirus Women’s Health saves lives by providing access to services for women who are low income, uninsured or underinsured.  Those that qualify can receive a screening mammogram and/or an appointment with their provider for a breast history/exam. The patient incurs no cost for the services. All costs for the services are paid from grant funds. These services are available to qualified women until March 31, 2014 (or if the grant funds are exhausted before that date). These services can all be received during any normal business hours at any Aspirus site within the 7-county Susan G. Komen Central Wisconsin Affiliate service area.

In its sixth year, the Aspirus Women’s Health program continues to improve their free screening and treatment program. In their 2012-2013 grant year, 125 women received free screening and/or diagnostic services.

Counties served:  Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Taylor, Wood and a portion of West Shawano County



Take Action Thursday: October 3, 2013-

Click Here: Take Action Thursday Ben’s Story to read our Take Action Thursday story and learn about Ben DuMont and how he supported his wife through her aggressive form of breast cancer diagnosis and journey.

Remember, co-survivor does not necessarily mean SPOUSE. You are a co-survivor if you are a close friend, sibling, child, mother, father or other family member who is helping a breast cancer survivor in their journey. It’s important  that not only survivors take action, but their co-survivors do as well.

Bridget and Ben TATH 100313


Webinar Wednesday: October 2, 2013-

We’ll discuss #Disparities & #Breast Cancer and learn insights for our communities from experiences metropolitan Chicago will share. Register today, click on the image below!


Talk About it Tuesday: October 1, 2013 -


Who is affected by Breast Cancer?

Being female and getting older are the two biggest risks for breast cancer. One in 8 women, in the U.S., will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. However, breast cancer does not only affect women.

Read more: Talk About it Tuesday – More Than Just Women

Myth Monday: September 30, 2013 Answers -



When it comes to breast cancer, “young” usually means anyone younger than 40 years old. Breast cancer is less common among women in this age group but it can and does happen! In the United States, about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases occur in women under age 40. While the risk of breast cancer increases with age, all women are at risk for getting breast cancer.

Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an increased risk of breast cancer [7-9]. Estimates of this increased risk vary greatly. Women who carry a BRCA1 gene mutation have a 50 to 70 percent chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. For BRCA2carriers, estimates range from 40 to 60 percent [8].

While in a group of 100 women with a BRCA1 orBRCA2 mutation, between 40 and 70 will develop breast cancer by age 70. Because these numbers represent average risk, the risk of breast cancer for any one woman with a BRCA1or BRCA2 mutation may fall outside this range.

Diagnosing breast cancer in young women can be more difficult because their breast tissue is often more dense than the breast tissue of older women. By the time a lump can be felt in a young woman, it is often large enough and advanced enough to lower her chances of survival. In addition, the cancer may be more aggressive and less responsive to hormone therapies. Delayed diagnosis in young women is a problem. Because it is rare for a young woman to get the disease, they are often told to wait and watch a lump. Tell your doctor if you notice any change in your breasts, and think about getting a second opinion if you are not satisfied with his or her advice.



Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among nearly every racial and ethnic group, including African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latina women. Race is not considered a factor that might increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. However, the rates of developing and dying from the disease differ among ethnic groups.

White women do have a higher rate of developing breast cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.  However…

  • Among women under age 45, African Americans have a higher incidence of breast cancer than white women.  They are also more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors than white women.
  • Hispanic/Latina women have a lower incidence of breast cancer than white women.  They are more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors and late stage breast cancer than white women


Follow the Funds Friday September 27, 2013: Marshfield Clinic’s Wellness Beyond Breast Cancer Program, A survivor’s story. Linda’s Story

Wellness Beyond Breast Cancer Brochure 2013

Linda Grignano photo

Click here: Taking Action, to read our Take Action Thursday story from a breast cancer survivor, Tina Frey.

Tina Frey Take Action Thursday photo

The Susan G. Komen® Promise:

To save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.

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