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Breast Cancer

Among American women, breast cancer is the most common cancer, after skin cancer. About 1 in 8 (12 percent) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

For 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates that:

  • About 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and about 2,470 will be diagnosed in men.
  • About 63,960 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,920 women will die from breast cancer.

Incidence rates of breast cancer are highest in non-Hispanic white women; however, breast cancer death rates are highest in African American women.
Source: American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2018.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, surpassed only by lung cancer. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than age 50. It is believed that earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment, has led to these decreases./p>

Today, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., including those still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
Source: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2018.

Featured Programs

Find Metastatic Breast Cancer Resources Fast

The ACCC Metastatic Breast Cancer Project’s new online resource bank connects you to curated materials (webinars, articles, blogs, and more) to help close communication, education, and information gaps for patients and providers.

Search by topic, resource type (e.g., webinar, article, blog, tool), place in care continuum, or by the effective practices identified in the ACCC Metastatic Breast Cancer Project Workbook and latest case studies in Metastatic Breast Cancer: Effective Principles in Action
Learn More & Explore the Resource Library

Quality Improvement in Breast Cancer Through BRCA Testing: Grants Announced

To support quality improvement (QI) projects in breast cancer, ACCC has partnered with Pfizer Global Medical Grants to award more than $1.8 million in funding to 15 projects that are aimed at improving the quality of breast cancer patient care. The projects will focus on conducting quality improvement initiatives that support increasing the rates of BRCA testing for patients with early stage or metastatic breast cancer. The grant awards are providing an opportunity for community oncology programs to implement initiatives that will address barriers to counseling and testing, and to utilize innovative approaches to extend best practices to a much larger patient population, including underserved minority patient groups. 
Learn More

Advanced Genetic Testing for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has joined with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and The France Foundation to support a series of live Grand Rounds/Tumor Boards, “PARP Inhibitors: Advancing Personalized Medicine for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients.”

ACCC member cancer programs are invited to participate in a live Grand Rounds program where a subject matter expert will travel to participating institutions to lead a one-hour accredited session. The Grand Rounds will provide the multidisciplinary cancer team with strategies to appropriately incorporate genetic testing and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor therapy for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

Learn More & Apply 

Managing Patients with HER2+ Breast Cancer 

ACCC is partnering with AXIS Medical Education in an educational research project to assess the value of a robust, independent, quality-focused educational intervention that aims to improve a community cancer program's quality measures related to management of patients with HER2+ breast cancer (all stages). Two ACCC-member Cancer Programs are participating in the project. 
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ACCCBuzz Blog Posts

Just Breathe - Listening to the Patient's Perspective

By Meredith Goldberg
October 12, 2017

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. In this guest blog post, breast cancer survivor Meredith Goldberg shares her perspective on the importance of making space to “just breathe.”  

There was a moment when the voice on the other end of the line told me, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer,” that I thought for sure that I was part of a very elaborate prank.

Breast cancer? Me? I’m only 32 years old. They must have the wrong number. They must have the wrong person.

“Ms. Goldberg, are you there?” the voice on the line asked.

No such luck.

As the nurse began telling me what I needed to do next, the biopsy that needed to be performed, the surgeon that needed to be found, I stood in the kitchen of my best friend’s house, frozen. I should have been writing down her instructions. I should have put her on speaker so my best friend could have heard any of this info, but I didn’t. I was in shock.

This was the first in a string of moments during my cancer “journey” (for lack of a better word) where I was inundated with information that eventually just escaped my brain. And it was all information that I needed, information that was crucial to my course of treatment and subsequent wellness routine.

As I moved through my cancer “journey,” I found that this happened to me often. I would be sitting with my surgeon, my plastic surgeon, my radiologist, my naturopath, my whomever, and suddenly I was staring out the window with the “Farmer in the Dell” on a loop in my head. It wasn’t because I was bored; far from it. These were the people tasked with keeping me alive, the people making sure that I made it to my 33rd birthday, and beyond. I wanted to listen, really I did, but I became so overwhelmed on certain occasions that I just mentally shut down.

The argument could be made that I should have spoken up. I should have said, “Excuse me, can you repeat that?” and that is an accurate statement. But there is something about sitting across from a medical professional that can be super intimidating, especially if you are a person that up until the age of 32 had never even had a cavity.

It wasn’t until I had what I like to call “the talk” with my oncologist about my course of chemotherapy that I first experienced one of my doctors taking a step back. He could sense the fear in my face.  He could see the tears streaming down my cheeks as he told me that I was about to undergo 12 rounds of chemo, 6 Herceptin-only rounds that would have no effect on my body, but that the 6 rounds of Taxotere, Carboplatin, and Herceptin that would precede the Herceptin-only therapy would leave me completely bald.

“Ok, that’s enough for today,” he said as he closed my ever-expanding file. “You’ve had enough. We can talk more next week. I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

He was a little too late with the overwhelming, but I appreciated the break.

From that point on, I learned that I had every right to say, “Hey, you know what? I’ve had enough.” And to my surprise (and delight) my doctors honored my feelings and took a step back.

At the end of the day, I always appreciated the sense of urgency that was applied to my treatment and the time that was put into creating my care plan, but what I appreciated even more was when we closed my file for the day, sat back and just took a deep breath.

Meredith Goldberg is the author of From Cocktails to Chemotherapy: A Guide to Navigating Cancer in Your 30’s, now available on Amazon.

From Oncology Issues

  •  Engaging the Community to Improve Patient-Centered Care for Inflammatory Breast Cancer
    Gayathri R. Devi, PhD, et al.
    Through a community engagement session and focused interviews, researchers from Duke University School of Medicine, N.C., held a consortium to help stakeholders identify barriers to inflammatory breast cancer awareness, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. Today the Duke Consortium for Inflammatory Breast Cancer is committed to translating research into action.
  •  The Inherited Cancer Registry (ICARE) Initiative
    Tuya Pal, MD, FACMG; Cristi Radford, MS, CGC; Anne Weidner, MPH; Ann Louise Tezak, MA, MPH; Deborah Cragun, PhD, MS, CGC; and Georgia Lowrey Wiesner, MD, MS
    The Inherited Cancer Registry (ICARE) is an academic-community partnership among healthcare providers, researchers, and individuals at an increased risk for inherited cancer. Learn about ICARE’s research registry for high-risk individuals and education efforts on inherited cancer for both patients and providers.
  •  Highlights from ASCO 2018
    By Cary A. Presant, MD, FACP, FASCO
    ASCO 2018 offered a wealth of new data that will continue to transform clinical practice and cancer program development. Most important, implementation of the scientifi c advances we learned at ASCO 2018 will improve the length and quality of life of our cancer patients.
  •  Breast Care ACCESS Project
    By Sharon Lieb Inzetta, RN, MS, CBCN, CN-BN, ONN-CG, and Laura L. Mussara, BS, MBA
    Through its Breast Care ACCESS Project, Summa Health redesigned its breast cancer care continuum to address disparities in treatment, reducing patient outmigration, increasing procedures and referrals, and lowering wait times.
  •  Creating a Place for Late-Stage Breast Cancer Patients
    Timothy J. Pluard, MD; Jane Peck; and Emily Kayrish
    Saint Luke’s Hospital’s Koontz Center for Advanced Breast Cancer is one of the only centers in the United States dedicated solely to the comprehensive care of women with late-stage breast cancer.
  •  Closing the Loop with a Post-Biopsy Breast Clinic
    Kimberly C. Hutcherson, MD, and Katherine S. Michaud, MPA
    The Gwinnett Medical Center Breast Program Leadership Team saw an opportunity to create a more comprehensive diagnostic care pathway to include more timely results to breast biopsy patients, streamlined access to treatment specialists, and improved processes and communication with referring physicians.
  •  A Time for Healing: An Annual Retreat for Breast Cancer Survivors
    Debbie DeNitto
    To help meet the unique needs of its breast cancer patients post-treatment, the cancer program at Winchester Medical Center hosts an annual overnight fall retreat (Saturday-Sunday).
  •  Onco-Contraception for Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
    Erika K. Radeke, MPS; Alicia Roston, MPH; Shweta Bhatt, MD; Arden Roston, BA; Lindsay Zimmerman, MPH; Louis G. Keith, MD, PhD; and Ashlesha Patel, MD, MPH
    While contraceptive counseling during breast cancer diagnosis and treatment should be an integral part of disease management, it is often overlooked by clinicians.
  •  Best of ASCO 2017
    Cary A. Presant, MD, FACP, FASCO
    ASCO 2017 was filled with new information and long lines as 39,000 oncologists worldwide came together to hear the latest advances in cancer care.
  •  Views: Are You Dense? My Journey to Patient Breast Health Advocacy
    Nancy M. Cappello, PhD
    Nearly 13 years ago, I slipped through a significant and potentially fatal crack in our healthcare system when I was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer.
  •  A Pathway for Identifying Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer and Providing Personalized Management and Risk Reduction
    S. Kate Hughes, MS, CGC
    In the summer of 2014 staff at the Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center (NHDLD Cancer Center), Winston-Salem, N.C., developed a screening method aimed at detecting women in our community who are at increased risk for breast cancer.
  •  Peer Mentoring: A Volunteer-Run Program Benefits Breast Cancer Patients & Survivors
    Dona Hobart, MD, and Marcia McMullin, RN, BSN, MA
    With the understanding that one-to-one mentoring services have proven effective in improving both quality of life and survival rates, the Center for Breast Health at Carroll Hospital developed a volunteer-run peer mentor program, Embrace Peer, in April 2014.
  •  Compliance with Breast Cancer Post-Therapy Surveillance
    Melissa Carandang, MD; Wesley Babaran, MD; Lawrence Wagman, MD; Lianne Nacpil, MPH, CTR; Timotea Lara, RN, MSN, NP-C; Norma Castro; and Shannin Greene
    In 2011, Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital initiated a study to measure patient compliance with post-therapy surveillance in women treated using state and federal safety net funding.
  •  Beyond Breast Conservation: Oncology Surgery in the Community Setting
    Paul Baron, MD, FACS, and Josh Mondschein, MD, MSCI
    Cancer programs that do not currently have specialists who offer oncoplastic surgery to their breast cancer patients should consider learning more about these procedures and setting up a program to offer these services.

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