Cancer Education and Early Detection

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Breast Health Care

Will A Woman's Breast Change With Age?

Each woman's breast will change during her lifetime. The shape, size, and the feel of one's breast will be influenced by monthly menstrual cycles, childbirth, breast-feeding, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, menopause, weight changes, and age. You should examine your breasts on the same day of the month as a routine health habit. When you do breast self-examination, you are looking for a lump or an unusual thickening that feels different from the rest of your breast. Look for:

  • a lump or thickening in the breast;
  • a change in skin texture;
  • a nipple discharge (fluid coming from the nipple); or
  • a change in breast size or shape.

If you find any changes, you should report them
to your Health Care Provider immediately.

Who Is At Risk For Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer effects everyone. Although about 99% of all breast cancers occur in women, men get breast cancer too.

Age: About 75 percent of all breast cancers are found in women over the age of 50.

Family History: The risk increases for woman whose mother, sister or daughter has had the disease.

Other risk factors include: Having your first menstrual period at an early age, having a late menopause, having your first child after the age of 30, or never having children can put you at risk.

What Can You Do?

Whether your risk of breast cancer is low or high, there are some practical steps that you can take. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following Screening Guidelines for early detection:

  • If you are age 40 or older, mammograms should be done every year.
  • Get yearly breast exams by your health care provider.
  • Perform monthly breast self-examinations.

What Is A Mammogram?

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray picture of the breast. There are two purposes for which a mammogram is used:

  1. A screening mammogram is used to find cancer even before a lump can be felt.
  2. A diagnostic mammogram is a procedure that can be done at any age for changes in breast size, discharge, or lump

Women should get a mammogram where the equipment, technologists, physicians and procedures meet the nationally recognized standards, such as accreditation by the American College of Radiology and certification by the Food and Drug Administration.

Will Your Insurance Pay For A Mammogram?

State law requires that private health insurance/health maintenance organizations cover the cost of screening mammography, based on the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines.

If you are age 40 years or older, call one of the NJCEED screening programs listed below to see if you are eligible for free screening services. If you are 65 years or older and receive Medicare, screening mammograms performed at a Medicare-approved facility are covered every year. Ask the facility if it is approved by Medicare to perform screening mammograms.

If you receive Medicaid, screening mammography based on the American Cancer Society screening guidelines is covered. Diagnostic mammograms are generally covered by insurance programs.

Women's Screening Services:

The NJCEED Program offers the following services to women enrolled in the program: screening mammograms, clinical breast examinations, instructions on breast self-examinations, Pap tests, pelvic examinations, and colorectal cancer screenings. When indicated, further diagnostic tests are performed, such as needle biopsies, breast ultrasounds and colposcopies. Case management, tracking and follow-up are provided to all women and major emphasis is placed on rescreening women who are currently being served by the program.

  • Biopsy: Surgically removing a small piece of tissue that is checked under a microscope for cancer cells. A small tumor can frequently be removed at the time of the biopsy.

  • Breast self-examination (BSE): A monthly self-breast exam.

  • Cancer: Abnormal uncontrolled growth of cells.

  • Diagnostic mammogram: A special breast x-ray done to evaluate changes in breast size, discharge, and/or lumps(s).

  • Fibrocystic disease of the breast: A non-specific diagnosis for a condition in which there are lumps that you can feel.

  • Needle biopsy: Removing tissue through a hollow needle that is inserted into the breast lump. This tissue is then checked for cancer cells.

  • Screening: A procedure to detect cancer in people who are symptom-free.

  • Tumor: An abnormal growth of tissue (lump). Tumors can be either benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

If you do not have a Health Care Provider,
call your county medical society, or one of the numbers listed below.

Toll Free Calls:

  • Y-Me Breast Cancer Hotline : 1-800-221-2141
  • Cancer Information Services : 1-800-4-CANCER
  • American Cancer Society : 1-800-ACS-2345
  • New Jersey Cancer Education Early Detection: (609) 292-8540

New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Screening Programs (NJCEED)
Atlantic (609) 653-3484
Bergen (201) 634-2660
Burlington (856) 247-7386
(856) 968-7308
Camden/Virtua Health (856) 247-7386
Cape May (609) 465-1047
Cumberland (856) 641-8684
Essex/UMDNJ (973) 972-0308
Essex/St. Michael’s (973) 877-2989
Gloucester (856) 686-5036
Hudson (201) 963-0300
Hunterdon (908) 237-5409
Mercer (609) 989-0236
Middlesex (732) 745-3127
Monmouth (732) 224-6905
Morris (973) 971-5870

(973) 971-5707
English/ Spanish
Ocean (732) 341-1400
Passaic (973) 754-2705
Salem (856) 935-7510 x 8480
Somerset (908) 526-2335 x 112
Sussex (973) 702-2740
Union (201) 963-0300
Warren (908) 387-9882
NJCEED 1-800-328-3838