Pink: It's more than just a colour

Breast Health Centre marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Health Centre marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month
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Breast Health Centre website

Breast Health Centre at a glance

Did you know?

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday October 1, 2010
Updated Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Every week, between 10 and 12 Manitoba women are told they have breast cancer.

Today, thanks to advances in medical science and the establishment of specialized clinics such as the Winnipeg Health Region's Breast Health Centre, the odds of surviving breast cancer are much better.

Female breast cancer mortality rates have been declining since the mid-1980's. Health experts say this is likely the result of a combination of the increase in mammography screening and the use of more effective adjuvant therapies following breast cancer surgery.

The Breast Health Centre, located on Tache Avenue across from the St. Boniface Hospital, has played an important role in improving care for women. Established 11 years ago, the centre - the only one of its kind in Manitoba - has evolved into a facility that provides a multitude of services in a non-hospital setting.

The unique and integral feature of the Breast Health Centre is the team approach that co-ordinates assessments, diagnostic tests, treatment, education and support for clients through a variety of specialized programs and services, says Tania Sloan, Director of the Centre. On-site services include: mammography, ultrasound, ultrasound core biopsy, stereotactic biopsy, physiotherapy and lymphedema treatment, nutrition expertise, emotional support, and education.

The Region and the Breast Health Centre also work to raise awareness about breast cancer. To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the centre has coloured its windows in pink to draw attention to the issue. The goal is to get people thinking and talking about breast health.

It's also to encourage them to visit the Breast Health Centre website, where they will find important breast health resources and information.

But pink is more than a colour. It's also an important acronym to consider with respect to breast cancer:

Practice what you know - Eat healthy, be active, don't smoke and limit alcohol.

Investigate the information - getting your info from credible sources is important.

Normal - know what that is for your body and breasts.

Knowledge is power - inform yourself

Practice what you know

Some risk factors for breast cancer - like age or a family history of breast cancer - are beyond our control. Others, such as obesity, leading an inactive lifestyle, smoking and drinking heavily, are within our control.

While managing these risk factors lead to a healthier lifestyle and increase your overall health, these choices can also help reduce your risk for breast cancer.

Investigate the information

The advent of the internet created savvier clients who suddenly had a world of information at their fingertips. The Breast Health Centre has created a list of websites we recommend to read about breast cancer and related topics. Click here to read websites we suggest you visit to keep yourself informed.

Normal - know what's normal

Knowing your body and what it feels like on any given day - when you're feeling healthy and well-rested, when you're feeling overtired, when you're down with the flu, when you have your period - is important when it comes to breast health. Most women are familiar with days when their breasts are tender or sore given where they may be in their menstrual cycle. Knowing what that feels like and what that looks like versus something that's not common for you to experience is a very helpful tool in early detection.

Being breast aware means looking in the mirror when you're getting dressed, having a shower or taking a bath. It means if something looks or feels different, that you notice it and watch it. If it's something that is considered a breast cancer sign or symptom, call your doctor and have them assess what the concern means.

Knowledge is power

The better informed you are about breast cancer, the more empowered you are to manage your health. Research is ongoing and developments and discoveries are being made with respect to how best to treat breast cancer, what foods to avoid when you're having treatment and more. We are fortunate to have breast health experts within our region who are keeping on top of the latest developments in this specialty.

The Breast Health Centre at a glance

Since the Breast Health Centre opened in 1999 it has been serving women and men with breast health concerns.
The Breast Health Centre offers client-focused care for breast health in a clinical setting. Along with surgery and diagnostic imaging, it also offers lymphedema/physiotherapy therapy, psychosocial services and nutrition counseling and education.
While the Breast Health Centre also sees women and men for issues like breast pain, nipple discharge and other breast health concerns (the exception being breast feeding), the majority of their work is with breast cancer patients.
In an average week, the Breast Health Centre receives between 80 and 100 new referrals. During that same week, between 10 and 12 clients are told that they have breast cancer.
The Breast Health Centre's multi-disciplinary team works closely with every client from their first contact with the Breast Health Centre to diagnosis and treatment.
After a client has surgery, they are connected with CancerCare Manitoba for further treatment. During this time, clients are encouraged to pursue the services and supports offered through the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope.
Clients often return to the Breast Health Centre for various follow up services and supports.
The Breast Health Centre team meets weekly to review both the surgeons and diagnostic imaging schedules. This helps them assess how long the wait is for various appointments so they can identify the need for additional supports to keep wait times to a minimum.
On nearly every door at the Breast Health Centre, there is a design etched in glass that symbolizes the different journeys a client may take. As each journey is different and unique, so is the individual care each person receives by the dedicated staff at the Breast Health Centre.

Did you know?

  • Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Canadian women.
  • In 2011, about 23,400 women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • According to CancerCare Manitoba, about 810 of those cases will be in our province this year. And about 210 women will lose their battle with breast cancer this year.
  • The five-year survival rate for female breast cancer in Canada is 88% and 79% for men.
  • Every week an average of 445 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. During that same week, about 98 women will die from breast cancer.
  • One in nine Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

Source: Canadian Cancer Society /National Cancer Institute of Canada. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2010, Toronto, Canada, 2010

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