I can still remember when I first heard that Betty Ford had breast cancer. It was 1974 and I had already lost two members of my family to the disease at that point. But when we talked about their deaths, we rarely used the words "breast cancer;" the disease was still something you mentioned only in hushed tones.
Betty Ford changed all that by talking openly and honestly about breast cancer and then later about her own addictions to pills and alcohol. She went on to start the Betty Ford Center, where she helped thousands restart their lives.
I started getting annual mammograms in my mid-40s not long after my mother was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. As a medical writer, I knew that there was little connection between my mother's postmenopausal cancer and my own chances of getting the disease in my 40s. But I needed the reassurance that all was well and my doctor was happy to order the screening based on then-current accepted recommendations.
You no doubt know by now that not all breast cancers are alike, which is why some women seem to bounce back from the disease like nothing ever happened, while others die of it. One of the deadliest types is called "triple negative" breast cancer, and some new research sheds light on who is most at risk.
A few years ago, advocates for breast cancer research and prevention were thrilled by the news that incidence of the disease appeared to be on the decline. Between 2002 and 2003, the rate about non-Hispanic white women in this country dropped an astonishing 7 percent. But what happened next?
If you're going through the menopausal transition, you probably don't have many nice things to say about hot flashes. A new study could change your mind. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have found that women who have the most intense hot flashes are 40 to 60 percent less likely to get the two most common types of breast cancer, invasive ductal and invasive lobular carcinoma.
I'm fascinated by recent press coverage of Dr. Marisa Weiss, an oncologist and founder of breastcancer.org who was herself diagnosed with (and successfully treated for) breast cancer last year. Here are ten things she personally does to stay healthy.
If you're a woman, you absolutely have to listen to this NPR radio interview with Dr. Marisa Weiss, a breast cancer oncologist who was herself diagnosed with breast cancer last year (men should hear it too, but for women it's a must).