Test your knowledge about breast health
By Sally E. Smith
Breast cancer can affect any woman, anytime. It's important for each of us to know as much about breast cancer as possible, so here's a quiz to test your knowledge. See the answer key for important facts about breast health.
1. True or false: The larger your breasts, the more chance you have of developing breast cancer
2. True or false: Only women can get breast cancer
3. Which of the following are risk factors for breast cancer?
- A. Increasing age
- B. Family history
- C. Not having given birth
- D. Early onset of menstruation
- E. Taking The Pill
- F. Regular consumption of alcohol
- G. All of the above
4. True or false: Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have two or more known risk factors for the disease.
5. True or false: Pre-menopausal plus-size women are at greater risk of developing breast cancer.
6. How many genes have been identified as active in breast cancer?
- A. 5,500
- B. 5,327
- C. 221
- D. 0
7. True or false: Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for African-American women.
8. True or False: The Breast Cancer Research "semipostal" stamp has been discontinued by the post office.
9. What are the chances of a woman's developing breast cancer in her lifetime?
- A. 1 in 49
- B. 1 in 24
- C. 1 in 11
- D. 1 in 9
10. True or false: You can prevent breast cancer.
11. When you should perform your monthly self-breast exam?
- A. Three days before your period begins
- B. During your period
- C. Three days after your period ends
- D. Two weeks after your period ends
12. How often should women ages 30 and older receive a clinical breast exam by a doctor or nurse practitioner?
- A. Twice yearly
- B. Every year
- C. Every two years
- D. Every three years
13. How often should women over the age of 40 get a mammogram?
- A. Every year
- B. Every other year
- C. Every three years
- D. There is no standard recommendation
14. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
- A. A painless or painful lump in your breast
- B. A change in density of your breast
- C. A lump under your arm
- Redness or dimpling of your breast skin
- E. Nipple discharge
- F. All of the above
15. True or false: A mammogram is the only way to diagnose breast cancer.
16. True or false: The standard treatment for breast cancer is removal of the entire breast.
17. With early detection and treatment of their breast cancer, what percentage of women are cancer-free five years later?
- A. 18%
- B. 33%
- C. 42%
- D. 96%
18. How many breast cancer survivors are living in the U.S. today?
- A. 15,000
- B. 100,000
- C. 1 million
- D. 2 million
19. How can you support the breast cancer patient in your life?
- A. Make phone calls and go online to gather information and support
- B. Listen to her, but don't give advice
- C. Accompany her to medical appointments and take notes and ask questions
- D. Suggest she join a support group and find her one
- E. Suggest she call a peer hotline and speak with a breast cancer survivor
- F. If she needs a headwrap due to chemotherapy, help her buy one
- G. All of the above
The Breast Health Quiz Answer Key:
1. False. There is no correlation between breast size and cancer risk
2. False. This year, an estimated 1,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 400 will die from the disease. Richard Roundtree ("Shaft") had a mastectomy in 1993.
3. H. Seventy-eight percent of breast cancers occur in women age 50 and older, but the incidence in women ages 40-49 is increasing; having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer increases your risk; Not having given birth or having your first child after age 30 increases the risk of breast cancer; Women who are using oral contraceptives or who have used it within the past ten years face a slightly increased risk; Studies have found an increased risk in women who had one or two drinks or more a day.
4. False. Seventy-five percent of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have absolutely no known risk factors, other than they're women.
5. False. Pre-menopausal plus-size women are at less risk for developing breast cancer than thinner women, while we may be at a slightly greater risk post-menopausally.
6. C. While 5,500 genes have been identified in the breast and of those, 5,327 are active in cancer, 221 genes are active in breast cancer.
7. True. It is also the leading cause of death for all women ages 30-49.
8. True. As a result of legislation enacted in 1997, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Breast Cancer Research stamp in July 1998. The stamp cost forty cents, with seven cents going to the National Institutes of Health and the Medial Research Program of the Department of Defense. Because the legislation included a "sunset date" of July 28, 2000, the stamp - which raised $11 million for breast cancer research - was discontinued on that date.
9. D. One out of nine women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
10. False. There is no sure-fire way to prevent breast cancer. However, studies have demonstrated that the drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene can prevent breast cancer in women who have an increased risk of developing the disease. Because there are no guarantees and potentially serious side effects of the drugs (tamoxifen brings with it an increased risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus, a blood clot in the lung and a blood clot in a major vein), women who are not at increased risk should probably not take the drugs. The National Cancer Institute is currently conducting a clinical trial of tamoxifen and raloxifene, to compare the effectiveness and risks of the two drugs in breast cancer prevention.
11. C. Three days after your period ends.
12. B. Women age 30+ should go in for a clinical exam every year, while women ages 20-29 should receive a clinical exam every three years.
13. D. For some time, there has been a debate among researchers and clinicians about the recommended length of time between mammograms for women over the age of 40. The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations recommends annual mammography screening beginning at age 40 and continuing at least through a woman's 70s. A woman with known risk factors, however, may be urged to begin getting annual mammograms at a much earlier age.
14. F. Any of these are symptoms of breast cancer, although having one or more symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you have the disease. It does mean, however, that you should see your doctor immediately to be checked.
15. False. A diagnostic mammogram may be used to investigate a breast problem, but other procedures include ultrasound (to determine whether a lump is solid of filled with fluid); fine needle aspiration (removal of fluid or a small amount of tissue to be checked for cancer cells); core biopsy (removal of a piece of tissue with a larger needle); and surgical biopsy (removal of all or part of a lump, which will then be checked for cancer cells).
16. False: Removal of the entire breast (radical mastectomy) is rare these days, since studies have shown that more conservative treatments are just as effective. More conservative surgical treatments of breast cancer include lumpectomy (the cancerous mass is removed along with a bit of normal tissue) and quadrantectomy (where 1/4 of the breast is removed. These surgeries are usually followed by radiation therapy (intense x-rays), which destroys any remaining cancer cells. In addition, chemotherapy may be utilized either after surgery (to reduce the risk of recurrence) or before surgery (to reduce the size of a large tumor). Hormone therapy (usually in the form of the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene) may also be utilized to prevent estrogen from binding to cancer cells and causing them to grow.
17. C. Ninety percent of women who find and treat their breast cancer early are cancer-free five years later.
18. D. Two million women in the U.S. have survived breast cancer.
19. G. All of the above.
Sources: National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, National Institutes of Health, The American Cancer Society, SHARE and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
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