Breast Cancer – How Can I Help?

There are many ways you can support those affected by breast cancer.  Your support will help to provide mammograms and education to women in need, increase breast cancer research, and increase breast cancer awareness. There are a number of local and national organizations out there that will help you contribute to this important cause!  Most organizations will take donations, provide fundraising ideas and opportunities, and provide opportunities to volunteer your time.  Check them out!

Indiana Women in Need


Susan G Komen Central Indiana


Susan G Komen Foundation – National



National Breast Cancer Foundation



Breast Cancer Research Foundation


Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment of breast cancer generally depends on the stage of the cancer.  More advanced cancers (Stage III and IV) often require more intense treatment (surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy).  Several common types of breast cancer treatment are explained below.

Surgery: Usually the first line of attack against breast cancer.  Surgery is often required to remove the breast cancer tumor.  There are different surgery options that include a lumpectomy (removal of breast cancer tumor) and mastectomy (removal of the breast tissue).  The ideal surgical treatment is often dependent on the cancer’s size and staging.

Radiation Therapy: treatment with high-energy rays or particles that destroy cancer cells.  Radiation to the breast is often done after lumpectomy or after some mastectomies to help lower the chance that the cancer will return.

Chemotherapy: Treatment with cancer-killing drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into a vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemo is given in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a recovery period. Treatment usually lasts for several months.  There are many different chemotherapy drugs and new drugs are being studied in clinical trials every day.Chemotherapy is often used before or after surgery, and in more advanced breast cancers.  Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many undesirable effects such as hair loss, mouth sores, and nausea and vomiting.

Hormone Therapy: Another form of systemic (oral tablet) therapy that can be used before or after surgery.  It is usually done to prevent cancers removed during surgery from coming back.  Most types of hormone therapy for breast cancer either lower estrogen levels or stop estrogen from acting on breast cancer cells. This kind of treatment is helpful for hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, but it does not help patients whose tumors are hormone receptor negative.

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, or discuss with your physician.  The link below, from Susan G Komen,  includes an an interactive treatment tutorial for newly diagnosed patients.




Stages of Breast Cancer

Once a person has been diagnosed with breast cancer, their doctors will determine the stage of the cancer to express how far the disease has developed.  This staging is important because it helps to determine the best way to contain and treat the cancer.  Staging is based on a number of characteristics, such as tumor size, spread of the cancer,and how many lymph nodes are involved.  For more detailed information, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has a series of patient-friendly videos to help explain the staging process.

Introduction to Stages of Breast Cancer:



Stage 0-1:



Stage 2:



Stage 3:

Stage 3


Stage 4:

Stage 4

Breast Cancer in Men

Did you know that men can develop breast cancer?  Breast cancer can occur in men, although it is rare.  Less than 1% of all breast cancers are in men.   Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected (found) in men between 60 and 70 years of age.  For more from the National Breast Cancer Foundation please follow the link below.



Risk factors for breast cancer in men include the following:

  • Being exposed to radiation
  • Having a disease linked to high levels of estrogen in the body, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or certain genetic disorders
  • Having several female relatives who have had breast cancer, especially relatives who have alterations in the BRCA-2 gene (a gene that increases risk for breast cancer)

Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.

Last Day to Sign up for Butler’s Breast Cancer Screening Event

Are you or your spouse due for your regularly scheduled breast cancer screening? The St. Vincent Mobile Mammography unit will be on campus, Monday, November 3rd from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   You can schedule this annual recommended screening and avoid the inconvenience of having to visit an off-site doctor’s office.  Today is the last day that you can register! Pre-registration is required and can be completed at the link below.

mammography van


This screening is available to all eligible Butler University faculty and staff and their spouses.  Students are also welcome to register if they meet the eligibility criteria.  If interested, please contact for further information and eligibility criteria.  Registration deadline is TODAY!

How does ethnicity affect breast cancer?

The rate of women getting breast cancer and/or dying from breast cancer varies by race and ethnicity.  Most recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the American Cancer Society show that Caucasian women are most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.  African-American women, however, are most likely to die from breast cancer.  The graphs below illustrate the most recent data provided from the CDC.



Although white women have higher rates of postmenopausal breast cancer compared to Africa-American women, African-American women have higher rates of premenopausal breast cancer. This may be due, in part, to differences in prevalence rates of some reproductive factors related to breast cancer risk. For example, compared to white women, African-American women tend to have an earlier age at first period, more lifetime periods and higher blood estrogen levels.

Above information provided by:

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