Assemblyman David Weprin Breast Cancer Awareness

Each year breast cancer kills as many as 40,000 women in the United States. These numbers are of great concern to community leaders such as Assemblyman David Weprin as the number of breast cancer cases continue to grow in parts of Queens.

Over the years the Assemblyman has worked with several community and health organizations to raise awareness. As part of his continued efforts to educate residents about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, Weprin has collaborated with Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Chairwoman of Radiology Dr. Sabiha Raoof to provide the following five vital facts about the disease:

Fact 1.Breast cancer occurs in one in every eight women living in the United States. It is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer and second leading cause of death.

Fact 2. Some of the factors that put you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer include:

  1. Smoking
  2. A family history of breast cancer -having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer
  3. You are over the age of 55 (Most invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 and older)
  4. You have dense breast tissue
  5. Excessive consumption of alcohol
  6. Radiation to chest or face before age 30
  7. Being overweight or obese
  8. You have used hormone replacement therapy to ease menopausal symptoms

Fact 3. Symptoms of breast cancer include nipple retraction, skin irritation, dimpling, swelling of the breast or armpits, unusual discharge from the nipple and lumps in the breast.

Fact 4. There are changes that you can make in your lifestyle that can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, some of which are:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight
  2. Being physically active
  3. Eating a healthy diet
  4. Breastfeeding( It has been found that breastfeeding can lower cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than one year)
  5. Quitting smoking
  6. Limiting alcohol consumption
  7. Limiting or avoiding hormone replacement therapy

Fact 5. According to Dr. Raoof, “Early detection is the key to reducing the risk of developing breast cancer and the probability of premature death. Women who have regular mammograms are more likely to find breast cancer early and are less likely to require aggressive treatment to be cured. Studies show that the rate of survival is much higher when breast cancer is detected in its earlier stages. “

Earlier this year, as part of the “Get Screened, No excuses” campaign; Assemblyman Weprin joined Governor Andrew Cuomo at Citi Field as legislation was signed to increase patients’ access to breast screening services and facilities. As part of the legislative agreement, 210 hospitals and hospital extension clinics will offer extended hours of screening for at least four hours per week to help women who have difficulty scheduling mammograms during the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday. In addition, the legislation eliminates annual deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance payments for screening and diagnostic imaging for the detection of breast cancer; including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and MRIs.

In conjunction with this initiative Jamaica Hospital has extended hours of operation at all of its locations where mammograms are offered. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-291-3276.

For detailed information about breast cancer and screening guidelines please visit the American Cancer Web site.