early detection 7

Taking Stock of Your Breast Health Awareness

Breast cancer today is just as prevalent, if not more so than it’s ever been. According to the American Cancer Society, over 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be or have already been diagnosed in women in 2017. The good news, however, is that there are over three million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone. With advancements in treatments and genetic screening as well as a younger portion of the population taking ownership of their breast health, breast cancer is a disease that can be detected and treated early to great effect.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Dr. Winfield Hartley, a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon with Boulder Plastic Surgery, urges both women and men to take stock of how they’re keeping track of their breast health and to commit to vigilance in their breast health awareness.

“The Front Range is an area where breast cancer diagnoses are particularly prevalent,” says Dr. Hartley. “Unlike some forms of cancer, breast cancer development is very multifactorial, and there are many different risk factors and indicators.”

According to Dr. Hartley, the key to breast cancer surveillance is vigilant self-monitoring and routine screening mammograms. From the symptoms most commonly associated with breast cancer, such as lumps in the breast area or armpits, there is a myriad of other breast changes that could also be indicators. Any changes to the look and feel of your breasts should be brought to the attention of a health care provider, including breast skin changes, dimpling, nipple inversion or discharge, changes in shape or appearance, or general tenderness. Hartley notes that it’s never too early to be aware of your breast health.

After the trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis and the ordeal of treatment, Hartley’s team at Boulder Plastic Surgery works to help patients remove the stigma of breast cancer and put it in the rear view mirror with a variety of breast reconstruction options. Boulder Plastic Surgery began in the early 1980s with the goal of being a community-focused practice where all plastic surgery needs could be fulfilled. Today, Drs. Hartley, Maxhimer and Kuisle focus their efforts largely on breast reconstruction procedures, with the aim of making patients look and feel like themselves again after breast cancer.

For more resources on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website.

*If you notice any changes in your breast health, bring them to the attention of your health care provider immediately.

“After radiation and two lumpectomies, Dr. Hartley worked closely with my general surgeon from the very beginning to produce results that were better than I ever imagined. I feel blessed to have crossed paths with Dr. Hartley and his truly wonderful nurse, Summer.” – Patient Irene Hesse