October is all about raising breast cancer awareness. This year, the statistics are still worrying, with one woman out of eight at risk of developing the disease. Even men are not excluded in the picture, as one out of every thousand would be diagnosed with the deplorable disease during his lifetime.
Although a cure remains elusive, the best advice any doctor would give is to engage in preventive measures such as a yearly mammogram and self-examinations. If you notice any sudden, unusual changes in your body, do not hesitate to see your healthcare provider, as early detection is the best way to fight cancer, as with any disease.
In addition to having annual checkups, another great step towards fighting breast cancer is to support organizations that help breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families. This is important because most people nowadays have a loved one, friend, colleagues, or know someone who is currently battling breast cancer and any kind of effort dedicated to fighting breast cancer would be very much appreciated by the community.
Quick Facts on Breast Cancer
The first step in fighting any disease is to gather as much information about it as you can. Just like an enemy, you cannot defeat it if you do not know its weakness, whereabouts, and other details that would make it easier to overcome. Here are some basic facts about breast cancer that you can share with your friends and relatives.
- What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the breast tissue.
- What is the most common type?
Most breast cancer patients are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, which starts developing in the lining of the milk ducts, the thin tubes that are responsible for carrying milk from the breast lobules to the nipple. Lobular carcinoma is another type of breast cancer, which begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. There are a small number of people who will experience both in their lifetimes.
- What do you call a breast cancer that has spread to other nearby areas?
When a cancer that started in the lobules or breast ducts have spread to the surrounding tissues, this is called an invasive breast cancer. There is also a rare type of cancer that occurs only to one out of a hundred female American patients with invasive breast cancer, which is called inflammatory breast cancer. In this type, the breast becomes red and swollen because the cancer cells obstruct the pathway of the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.
- Do men get breast cancer?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, breast cancer occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
- What are the current statistics on breast cancer in the US?
The number of estimated new cases in the United States in 2014 is an astounding 232,670 for women and 2,360 for men. Regrettably, 40,000 women and 430 men will be losing their lives to breast cancer this year.
- What kinds of treatment are available to cancer patients?
People diagnosed with breast cancer are given several treatment options, such as surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. In some cases, treatment involves more than one of the aforementioned. There are even patients who choose to follow a holistic treatment for cancer, which is concerned with treating not just the symptoms of the cancer, but the very cause as well.
- How do doctors decide what treatment to give their patients?
There is no single proven treatment for breast cancer. One treatment may be best for one patient and another for somebody else. However, the kind of treatment usually depends on the following factors:
- The stage of the cancer upon diagnosis
- Whether the cancerous tumor has too much HER2, which is a protein that can affect cancer cell growth
- Whether the tumor has hormone receptors
- Health status of the patient upon diagnosis
- Whether the patient has already gone through the menopausal stage
- The size of the tumor in relation to breast size.
Again, it is highly recommended to constantly check for any irregularities in your breast area, as well as to schedule an annual consultation with your doctor for a mammogram. Share this information with a loved one to help spread breast cancer awareness this month.