Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center: Mommy Perks Interview w/Dr. Port : Dr. Port’s Bio
Recently, I was invited to submit questions to Dr. Port, regarding breast cancer concerns. I posted on the Mommy Perks fan page, inviting the readers to submit their questions. Below are the questions they asked. Dr. Port has kindly answered each one:
1. Are the chances of getting breast cancer higher if you have had another form of cancer?
Women who have had breast cancer are among those at highest risk for developing a second breast cancer. So women with breast cancer must be followed closely.
2. How many types of breast cancer are there?
There are many different types of breast cancer, however the majority of breast cancers are ductal (approximately 80%), and lobular (approximately 10%). The remaining breast cancers are rarer. Some cancers are rare with a better prognosis, for example tubular and mucinous cancers, while some are rare with a poorer prognosis, such as inflammatory breast cancer which comprises approximately 1% of all breast cancers.
3. Is a mammogram enough to detect the presence of cancer or should I be getting an MRI?
Mammograms are the standard of care for breast cancer detection, and should be performed yearly, starting at age 40. Mammograms pick up approximately 85-90% of all breast cancers. MRI screening is only appropriate for selected groups of high risk women such as women with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, and those who have had previous chest wall radiation which increases the risk of developing breast cancer significantly.
4. Do your chances of having breast cancer increase exponentially with each generation of women before you who’ve had it? Is it just your mother or is it more about diet and environment?
Having a family history of breast cancer certainly puts a woman at increased risk for developing the disease herself. That increased risk can be marginally higher to quite a bit higher. Some lifestyle factors are also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. For example, heavy alcohol intake (more than 1-2 drinks/day) and post menopausal obesity have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. Many environmental factors have been studied, and very few have been identified as associated with breast cancer development. For most cases, the interaction between heredity, lifestyle and environmental risk factors is probably important in the risk for breast cancer.
5. If you have non-malignant lumps when you’re younger is there a chance that your risk for breast cancer is increased?
Many young women have masses in their breasts that are not cancer, and are completely benign. The most common cause of a lump in the breast in young women is a fibroadenoma. These are not cancer, don’t turn into cancer, and don’t put a young woman at increased risk for developing a future cancer. However, if a woman undergoes a breast biopsy, and it is normal or benign, there are some findings that despite being normal, place a woman at increased risk for developing a future cancer.
6. Are stem cells currently being looked at for treatment/cure? Or will they in the hopefully not to distant future?
Stem cells are not currently being used in the treatment of breast cancer, but anything is possible in the future. Stem cells are generally not as promising for cancer treatment as they are for other diseases that involve repairing or replacing function of an organ or system that has been lost. With cancer, abnormal cell growth is out of control, so philosophically, stem cells which can generate all kinds of new cells are not generally thought of as a way to fight or treat cancer. Some researchers are investigating whether or not stem cells are used by the cancer to aid in tumor growth and spread.
For more information on the Dubin Breast Center, visit: Leadership To Cure