Archive | October 3, 2018

Ask the Doctor: Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A woman has a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Elizabeth S. Lambert, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN with Carolina Women’s Physicians, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. We asked her some important questions about the disease. Here’s what she told us.

Dr. Elizabeth Lambert

Q: What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
A: Signs and symptoms may include a new, palpable lump, peau d’orange (skin changes that resemble the surface of an orange), nipple drainage or discharge, skin dimpling or puckering, and nipple retraction that is new.

Q: When should I see a doctor?
A: Call your doctor when you discover something new or different in your breast.

Q: Are there particular risk factors?
A: Age-related risk as well as personal and family history are important. nA family history of breast cancer could mean that patients need further evaluation and possibly genetic testing. Your doctor can evaluate your specific risks and facilitate further testing when pertinent. If you have a personal history of breast cancer, then you will be watched very closely by your oncologist.

Q: What are the best prevention methods?
A: Maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle is beneficial in prevention of many cancers — healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a normal BMI and not smoking. In addition, a monthly self-breast exam is recommended along with beginning mammography at a time that is appropriate for you as determined by you and your doctor.

Q: Following a diagnosis, what are the best ways for finding support and coping?
A: At Lexington Medical Center, the nurse navigator program is a comprehensive patient care program that guides patients with breast cancer from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Patients are assisted in finding emotional support groups, practical support groups, health and exercise resources as well as holistic therapies.

Q: Cancer can also form in men’s breast tissue. What should they know?
A: If men have close relatives with breast cancer, particularly if those relatives carry a breast cancer gene (BRCA I and II), they should be screened by their doctors. Approximately 1% of all new breast cancer diagnoses are in men. If a man notices a new lump in his breast, he should see his doctor.

Carolina Women’s Physicians provides comprehensive care for women, by women. The physician practice has offices in West Columbia and Irmo. Learn more at