AlohaCare Monthly Check Up: Breast Cancer; Early Detection

AlohaCare Monthly Check Up: Breast Cancer; Early Detection

A thousand women are diagnosed with cancer every year in Hawaii.

In our monthly check up with Aloha Care segment, we focus on the importance of early detection.

"I was too busy to get a mammogram," Jackie Young said.

Jackie Young urges everyone not to make the same mistake she did. It took an ultimatum from her doctor for her to get checked for breast cancer.

"I found out from the surgeon on a Friday afternoon, I had breast cancer and he wanted to operate on a Monday," she said.

Doctors removed a lemon sized lump from her left breast, where she now proudly dons a cancer survivor ribbon. That was 11 years ago.

"We have about 150 who die every year," said pathologist Dr. Jeffrey Killeen, "so that's about 1,500 women in the eleven years I had, have had to suffer from this disease."

That's despite strides in the fight against breast cancer through research and early detection. Doctor Killeen helps diagnose cancer at Kapiolani Medical Center.

"The more women are screened and undergo biopsies," Kileen said. "We start finding earlier cancers that we wouldn't have found 5 years ago."

Here's what he looks for: with a healthy breast, blue cells will show up in orderly circular structures.

Notice the difference with early breast cancer. Clusters of those same blue cells are scattered. That's the cancer cells attacking the breast tissue.