Nutrition and exercise for cancer risk reduction
Finding a breast lump or otherwise suspecting you have a breast problem can be frightening. You worry that it may be breast cancer, and you wonder what will happen if it is.
The Undiagnosed Breast Clinic helps women who have breast cancer symptoms or have a concern about their breast health, including the following:
- Have found a lump
- Have had an abnormal mammogram or breast ultrasound
- Seek a second opinion about a lump or other abnormality
- Have symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer (swollen red breast, often but not always with an inverted nipple)
We also provide regular screening mammograms and clinical breast exams, which are recommended annually for all women over age 40.
Helpful information for your clinician
If you've never had a mammogram at MD Anderson, please make every effort to bring your original mammogram films from other facilities. This will help MD Anderson physicians confirm your internal breast anatomy, giving them a better point of reference if any abnormalities are present.
If you've had an abnormal mammogram, breast ultrasound or biopsy, or have had these done elsewhere to evaluate a problem, providing the results to your MD Anderson clinician will help us give you an accurate diagnosis. You may have these reports faxed to the Cancer Prevention Center prior to your visit. When you come in for your visit, please bring prior original mammogram films, ultrasound or biopsy slides.
People with fair complexions, those who have had several blistering sunburns, individuals with a family history of skin cancer and those who have been exposed to coal tar, pitch, arsenic compounds, creosote, or radium are at risk and should be screened.
It's important to pay attention to changes in your skin and see a doctor if you notice a change in the size or color of a mole or freckle, a new mole or lesion, or an area of scaliness, itching, bleeding, tenderness or pain.
MD Anderson dermatologist will perform a head-to-toe skin evaluation. If needed, we can perform a skin biopsy immediately. A head-to-toe skin screening exam is recommended annually for adults.
The clinic also provides education on reducing the risk of skin cancer and how to avoid a second occurrence.
Gynecologic cancers are cancers affecting the female reproductive organs. They include:
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine or endometrial cancer
- Fallopian tube cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
It's easy to dismiss the first signs of gynecologic cancer. Ovarian cancer symptoms, cervical cancer symptoms, and other signs of gynecological cancer often may appear as pain in the pelvic area or as menstrual irregularities. A diagnostic evaluation can determine whether these symptoms are actually an early sign of cancer.
Some gynecologic cancers, especially ovarian cancer, tend to run in families. If your mother, sister or daughter has been diagnosed with certain types of cancer, this may place you at an increased risk for developing the disease. Participating in screening and early detection examinations annually, a recommendation for all adults, is your best bet against cancer.
The Undiagnosed Gynecology Clinic helps women with:
- Evaluation of abnormal Pap tests
- Bleeding not related to menstrual periods
- Chronic bloating
If you experience any of these symptoms, or if your annual well-woman exam indicates the need for further evaluation, we can perform additional tests or determine if treatment may be needed.
The clinic also provides screening exams for women without any symptoms, including Pap tests and pelvic examinations, which are recommended annually for all women over age 18.
Women treated for early stage breast cancer are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The Healthy Heart Program helps patients improve their overall fitness and heart health. Healthy Heart Program staff will provide you with a personalized exercise routine. You will also receive information regarding your risk of heart disease and ways to improve your heart health over a lifetime.
How does the program work?
Your evaluation will include a heart risk screening exam and a treadmill exercise test. Your results will provide information on:
• Impact of prior cancer treatment on heart health
• Fitness level
• Cholesterol levels
• Risk of hypertension or high blood pressure
• Risk of Diabetes
• Body weight and waist measurements
• Impact of family history on heart health
• Smoking cessation information, if needed
Who is on the Healthy Heart team?
Our team includes physicians, exercise physiologists, health educators, dietitians and nurses.
The most important member of this team is you. You are encouraged to follow your exercise plan, ask questions, and report your progress.
Am I a candidate for the Healthy Heart Program?
If you have been diagnosed with or treated for breast cancer and are able to walk on a treadmill you may be a candidate for the Healthy Heart Program. A physician referral is needed.
Managing your weight, eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco, and being physically active are some of the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk. The Healthy Living Clinic can help you make these healthy lifestyle changes.
Tobacco cessation services also are available to patients who are current tobacco users or recent quitters (within the past 12 months). This service is free to MD Anderson patients through the Tobacco Treatment Program. Patients receive behavioral counseling and tobacco cessation medications.