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HHS HealthBeat (March 23, 2011)

Breast cancers

Woman receiving mammogram
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

There is no one version of breast cancer -- there are many. At the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Worta McCaskill-Stevens says the disease has a number of subtypes. Some examples: whether the cancer is sensitive to the female hormone estrogen, or the HER2 protein. Both conditions can encourage tumor growth.

Knowing the type helps doctors choose a treatment. But breast cancers also have something in common – getting screened regularly, such as with a mammogram, can spot the cancers early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Dr. McCaskill-Stevens:

``Breast cancer risk is not something that stands still. It increases with age, and so just because you have determined what your risk status is, it is important that you continue to do so over time.’’ (10 seconds)

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011