Breast cancer has never been a diagnosis that attaches itself to a particular age group or generation. Although it is most commonly found in women over the age of 50, there is still a high number of young men and women who are diagnosed every year. One of the scariest things? The tools to help with the diagnosis and to detect at an earlier age are still not up to par, nor do they help with diagnosis as well as one would hope. When it comes to awareness, it needs to begin at a young age and not be a topic or knowledge limited to anyone.
It's common for many women to not worry about the slightest possibility of breast cancer until they reach their 50th birthday, after starting regular mammograms around their 40th birthday. But for many young women, just starting families and very exciting careers, it's a different story. According to the Young Survival Coalition, "breast cancer in young women tends to be diagnosed in its late stages and is more aggressive. It is estimated that 12% of cases of breast cancer will be in women under the age of 40 and approximately 26,393 women will be under 45 years of age. Every year more than 1000 women under the age of 40 die from breast cancer." Some of these young women who are diagnosed are very healthy and come from a family never touched by breast cancer, so it can come as quite a shock to receive this information out of the blue. Which is why we have stressed in past blogs, that as soon as you can start educating yourself and understanding your body as a young woman, the better. Be aware of signs, symptoms, and what to look for. Learn how to give yourself self breast examinations, and never be quite if something seems out of the ordinary. Be proactive in mentioning anything to your doctor, and never let something go unsaid. They are there to help you with any step along the way. Women who do have family members who have been diagnosed need to be even more proactive, starting exams early and having mammograms as early as their mid 30's. It is also recommended to do the newest genetic testing available to test for the BRAC1 or BRAC2 gene mutation. If you test positive for either, it is more likely that breast cancer could be in your future. If so, become proactive as possible and learn to watch your body closely with your eyes and those of a professional.
Sadly, as common as breast cancer can appear in younger women, it still isn't a topic that is spoken about enough. This is why we want to spread more awareness on the topic and provide some eye-opening information. Please take all of this information to heart, and spread the awareness as much as you can. Care for yourself and the women around you. Share, support, and never be quite. We are here to help guide you through any of these steps.
The Facts and Diagnosis
How it Affects Younger Bodies and Lifestyles
We are here to also spread awareness and offer as much support and guidance as you need. Be aware that cancer will never discriminate based on age or sex, and that staying as educated and aware about your body is the best defense that you can have.
Awareness shouldn't and can't be reserved just for October. Let it be a daily thing, something you can practice with others, and find a path that works for you. As we end October, we wanted to add a little continuation to our last blog. You can do so much for those who are fighting their cancer battle, but there is so much that all parties can do to help themselves and the world at large.
We have been proud to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness for all of October's 31 days. We have proudly been wearing pink, standing up strong with each of you, offering all the comfort and guidance that we could, and talking about how you can offer love and support to those fighting hard against breast cancer. We were very serious when we pressed that as important Breast Cancer Awareness month is, it's important to make this awareness an all year battle. This is a daily fighting for so many, and to conquer the battle, we have to fight and show awareness at every opportunity possible. Designating October to be Breast Cancer Awareness month has opened up the conversation about risk, education, the importance of getting a mammogram, breast health, and screening. Now that the conversation has started and continues to grow stronger every year, let's not lose the momentum!
Find your support group. For those fighting, surround yourself with what and who you need to keep going. Those who keep you inspired, keep you loved, and keep you fighting. If you are a woman who has just hit her 40th birthday, it's time to start getting a mammogram every year and doing regular self-breast examinations once a month. Self-breast examinations should become a practice in your life as soon as you hit puberty, and it needs to be a topic that can be discussed at any age. Find your tribe and support group who can start you off on a healthy and positive path towards your best breast health. Once you start giving yourself breast examinations and begin mammograms, make sure to take anything you find very seriously. Nothing should be ignored. Early detection leads to a very high rate of getting rid of any cancer cells.
If this is a scary path to walk alone, this is a good time to call on or to form your own group. One that can support you and hold you accountable. Find friends going through the same thing, lean on your mom, your grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. They'll be there. It is very important to take these steps as well if you come from a high-risk family. Take the steps to care for yourself because of those in your family who have been diagnosed, and with the possibility that you could be too. Those from high-risk families should start their screenings at 30 and return once a year.
You can also go beyond finding a support group. Find a doctor you trust and who allows you to make your breast health important to you. All of us at The Breast Place are here for you and your journey. Once you have started, don't stop. Inspire others, nurture those around you, and teach as many as you can. No matter your age, keep a support group and offer support to others if you can. The term bosom buddies has never applied better.
Head to Toe
Keeping your whole body healthy is just as important to your body as it is to your breast health. Regular exercise, a healthy sleep schedule, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and practicing limited alcohol consumption can seriously lower the risk of breast cancer. Practicing these things and setting an example for others, can be inspiring to those around you and in your own journeys.
Be a storyteller. Too many women have fought the battle against breast cancer, and every day we are getting closer to changing those numbers for the better. But your victories, hardships, setbacks, and triumphs need to be heard. You can listen to your doctors, teachers, the news, and any book out there. But the stories told by your peers and others who have been on the battlegrounds, are what will really stick with you. If you're not ready to or don't want to share your story, that's okay. But know that someone out there needs and wants to hear your story, and someone out there will always listen.
Be a fierce listener. If your loved one is going through this battle, don't fill a conversation with your experiences or opinions. Just give them your love and what they need to say your full attention. In reverse, if you need someone to talk to, surround yourself with those who will listen to you and respect what you have to say. This is an important part of your healing process, and you deserve it as much as anyone.
No matter what your journey is, you have so much to share. Once you win your battle, be there for those who need it. If you are fighting, find sturdy ground to lead to victory. We are here to always promote, fight, and support awareness and we will help you do so in any way we can.
As October comes to a close, breast cancer awareness doesn't and shouldn't stop. Go beyond wearing pink and honoring these brave men and women for just a month. Find ways to support and love them all year round.
Happy Mid October, everyone! We hope you're still wearing your pink proudly and have been taking this month to reflect and support those who are fighting, have fought, and continue to fight the battle against breast cancer. But once this month is over, you don't have to stop your efforts. Use this month and every month to spread awareness about this disease that affects 1 in 8 women and over 2500 men a year in the US. It's a difficult fact, but most of us know at least one person who has been affected by this disease. We want to help and do anything that we can for our loved ones, but sometimes words fall short. It can be hard sometimes to know the perfect things to say or do during times of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. So, we wanted to share some tips with you on how you can support and love your loved ones as they start or continue through their journey. First, forget the pretense of perfect. Don't put that pressure on your loved one or yourself. Simple, honest things and actions from the heart always mean so much.
There is so much you can do, and even doing a little bit can go a long way. You can help your loved ones, and you can stand with them through their journey. We are here to help you stay strong, find your path, and continue your fight. We proudly wear pink for you this month and every month.
October is breast cancer awareness month. But for a survivor, it is every single day. Do you know the history behind the yearly observance and what happened before it officially started?
Happy October to our strong survivors, patients, friends, family members, and support groups. This month we will be standing together wearing pink to honor each of you. But before this yearly observance became a permanent staple in October, do you know how it was established and the history leading up to its creation? As we stand together, we wanted to share a little history of how we got to where we are today.
As you know, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international campaign observed through the month of October. Its focus is to increase global awareness about breast cancer. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the then Imperial Chemical Industry. The aim of the organization from the start has been to promote mammography as the best form of prevention against breast cancer. The purpose now is to increase awareness, to educate about the methods of early detection and prevention, and to raise money to continue research for a cure. But at the end of the day, it all goes beyond the month of October. It is truly about working towards prevention, education, and guaranteed treatment for everyone.
The very first organized effort to bring widespread attention to Breast Cancer happened as a week-long event in October of 1986. But the journey of awareness started long before that night in October 1986.
The 1980's came in with a rush of change along with a rush of sadness. After her three year battle, Susan G. Komen passed away at the age of 36. In 1982, the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was started, and in 1983 the very first Race for the Cure was held in Texas with 800 participants. Today those numbers are in the millions, and races happen across the country. They passed out pink ribbons as a symbol for awareness at the Race for the Cure race in New York City in 1991. But the pink ribbon is something of a mystery of how it came to be the symbol it is today and who is credited with its creation.
Some credit it to Susan G. Komen, some to a woman named Charlotte Haley, and others to Evelyn Lauder. Charlotte Haley in the late 80's/early 90's started to pass out peach color ribbons to raise awareness for the lack of breast cancer funding and research after her sister, daughter, and granddaughter were all diagnosed. Evelyn Lauder, who in 1993 formed the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, along with SELF Magazine editor Alexandra Penney approached Haley to use the ribbon. She refused, saying both Estee Lauder and Self were just too corporate. These women approached their lawyers who suggested they change the color. So they took the peach ribbon and turned it pink. When the Breast Cancer Research Foundation was founded, Lauder stated the pink ribbon as its symbol. But this was two years after the Race for the Cure passed them out in 1991. No matter its origin, today it serves a symbol of survival, strength, and hope. We wear it proudly.
Since the creation of these powerful foundations, many other walks and events have been organized to raise awkwardness, education, and fund to continue research. This includes the three day Susan G. Komen 60 mile walk.
Every day your strength and your story adds to this history. Even though you and the journey you are on goes beyond this one pink month, we will continue to use it to spread awareness for you. We are here to support you, proudly stand by you, and to remind you that on this journey you are not alone.
After a mastectomy, it's best to know all the options that are available to you and to make the right choice for your body and your needs. We want to see you first and talk about all of your options, of course. But Natural Breast Reconstruction is one of those options that offers its own path. Let's visit all of these options together.
It is our passion to be here for you in your journey. From the very beginning we want to be here with support, care, and knowledge. Your journey, your needs, and your recovery are just as unique as you are. Helping you along this journey and keeping you informed and comfortable to the options readily available to you is your choice and our main focus. Having another choice is always important. As you've gone on this journey with your doctors, nurses, and support team, I'm sure you have researched, had questions, learned a lot, and searched for more options since your diagnosis.
Making smart, healthy, and informed choices dealing with your body through this process is incredibly important. As your journey continues, you'll also need to continue to make decisions. This could include making choices as you're possibly facing a mastectomy. There are many options out there for you, and the choice varies personally from patient to patient and what their needs are. You might be looking at hidden scar surgery, nipple-sparing mastectomy, implant reconstruction, or natural reconstruction. Know your options and what is best for your body and your needs.
As we continue our journey with these blogs, let's talk about natural reconstruction. This procedure takes tissue from your body (like your stomach, thighs, back, or buttocks) and creates the reconstructed breast. The tissue used in this procedure is called a "flap", and there are a handful of different flap surgeries available to you. One is called a Free Flap. This removes tissue from its original blood vessels and is moved to your chest. This type of flap procedure requires your plastic surgeon to be skilled in microsurgery, which allows the surgeon to attach the blood vessels from the tissue flap to the blood vessels in the chest at its new location. This allows the tissue to receive the correct amount of blood supply it needs to thrive. The tissue is then formed into the shape of a breast and is stitched into place.
Another choice is called a pedicled flap. This allows the tissue to remain attached to its original blood vessels and is moved under your skin to your chest. Once it is moved to your chest, it too is formed and stitched into place. The newly reconstructed breast will have little sensation as you find with implant surgery. One of the plus sides of a flap procedure is that the tissue used is from parts of the body that are similar to breast tissue and feels very natural.
This natural type of breast reconstruction has become very popular over the years because it usually lasts a lifetime. After 10 to 20 years implants need to be replaced. After your mastectomy, and before you make any decisions on breast reconstruction surgery, we want our patients to visit with us first before making any decision on what's next. You have time after your surgery to decide what's next for you, the decision does not need to be made right away.
Depending on where the flap tissue comes from, there are different names for each type. These are some examples.
Flap Tissue from your Belly
Flap Tissue from your Back
Flap Tissue from the HiP/Buttocks
Picking the best flap for you all depends on your body type, breast size, if you plan on getting pregnant in the future, guidance from your surgeon and doctor, and what hospitals and surgeons are available to you. This procedure and the process it takes to decide is unique to your body, your lifestyle, and what you want your life to be. We are here to help guide and support you through this decision. Please don't hesitate to explore our website to learn more or contact us for more information. Today, as always, we celebrate YOU!
The Breast Place is excited to announce its move to a new, larger North Charleston facility at 4975 Lacross Road, Suite 110, on July 2, 2018.
In addition to a more central location than its present North Charleston address - 2910 Tricom St, #201 - the new Lacross Road facility will see the addition of four exam rooms to allow for even faster, more comprehensive care. The facility continues to offer same-day appointments for patients who've received recent diagnoses or are simply concerned by a recent change in their breast health or abnormal mammogram.
"Our new location will allow even more women access to services for prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer," said Dr. Jennifer Beatty, who founded The Breast Place in October 2011. "Being independent and privately-owned, we are able to offer options tailored to the needs of each unique individual."
By: Mary Katherine Wildeman
As Mother's Day approached, Heather Toeppner bounced a grinning, healthy 9-month-old with clear blue eyes on a bench outside the Medical University of South Carolina.
They were an image of happiness and health. Toeppner's short cropped hair was the only sign that cancer had recently wracked her body.
Toeppner, 32, said she always liked to cultivate control and organization in her life. But her sense of order was toppled in 2017 when she was diagnosed with cancer, gave birth to a preemie, breast-fed her baby, underwent chemotherapy and radiation and struggled with postpartum depression, all within one year.
Now, two months after finishing her last round of radiation, she said she's had to learn to live in the present.
By: Jennifer Fiorini, MD
At The Breast Place, our focus extends beyond breast health. This month we launched The Breast Place Fitness Challenge to promote the prevention of both breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. More women die of cardiovascular disease than breast cancer. Even in women with breast cancer, dying from heart disease is a leading cause of death. This is partly because cardiovascular disease is ten times more common than breast cancer and because breast cancer has become more treatable.
Last month the American Heart Association published a statement on the relationship between breast cancer and heart disease. There are two main messages in their statement. First, that heart disease and breast cancer have many of the same risk factors and will often be found in the same patients. And second, that most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer will survive their cancer diagnosis. Because of this, health care professionals must keep in mind that long term survival depends on taking cardiac health into consideration in the quest to cure cancer.
Published by: Post and Courier
Breast cancer surgeons in North Charleston recently launched "a New Year's resolution reboot" to encourage women to get out and exercise.
"Exercise is taking a more prominent role in the treatment of breast cancer," said Dr. Jennifer Fiorini, co-owner of The Breast Place. "Cardiovascular exercise three times per week has been proven to reduce breast cancer risk."
Women are encouraged to follow Fiorini and fellow surgeon Dr. Jennifer Beatty on Instagram and Facebook as they undertake this fitness journey.
"We are working to improve the long-term survival rate," said Beatty, in a press release. "Our fitness challenge provides support and structure to help patients succeed in developing healthy habits. It's also a great way to encourage the community not to lose sight of their 2018 New Year's goals."
Published by: Moultrie News
On Feb. 15, The Breast Place is launching a New Year's resolution reboot to motivate women in Charleston to stay committed to living an active lifestyle. Follow Dr. Jennifer Beatty and Dr. Jennifer Fiorini, owners and breast cancer surgeons at The Breast Place, on Instagram and Facebook as they take to the beach, martial arts studio, and their very own practice for a seven-week fitness challenge that requires three 30 minute workouts per week.
"Exercise is taking a more prominent role in the treatment of breast cancer," said Dr. Fiorini. "Cardiovascular exercise three times per week has been proven to reduce breast cancer risk".