"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer

October 2017, will be the 32nd anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Lives are saved and early diagnosis rates rise, when people educate themselves about the illness. Forty thousand women and men die from breast cancer each year. Although it is not preventable, there are ways to protect overall health.

One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Becoming familiar with one’s own breasts, and knowing what is normal, will help one detect changes and abnormalities if they occur. When a lump, soreness, thickness of the breast skin, or suspicious sight on the breasts are noticed it is important to seek medical attention.

The risk factors include: a family history of breast cancer; early menstruation, before the age of 12; and late menopause, after age 55. Sixty to 70 percent of people do not present with these issues. Other people, have these risk factors will never develop cancer. Doctors almost never pin down an exact cause of cancer. This is why it is imperative people educate themselves and help loved ones stay informed informed.

There are three chemicals, produced in the body, that fuel the growth of breast cancer. Those chemicals are estrogen, progesterone, and her2/neu gene. The spread of the cancer can be difficult to grasp because the cell growth is fueled by usually healthy chemicals of the body.

When cell DNA is damaged, mutated cells quickly reproduce abnormally. Rapid cell growth can form a tumor, which is a mass of abnormal tissue. There are two types of tumors: benign tumors are non-cancerous, and malignant tumors are cancerous.

When a tumor is diagnosed as benign, doctors usually leave it alone rather than remove the mass. Even though these tumors are not aggressive toward surrounding tissue, they may continue to grow, press on organs, cause pain, or other problems. In these situations. the tumor is removed to help ease the pain.

Malignant tumors are aggressive, because they invade and damage surrounding tissue. For these types of growths, the doctor will perform a biopsy, which is a diagnostic procedure. This helps determine the severity of the situation.

Breast cancer, for women, usually begins either where the milk is being produced, the lobules or in the milk dusts. Lobular Carcinoma in situ is a precancerous condition that forms and is contained in the lobules.

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops and breaks thru the lobules, with the potential to spread throughout the body. Ductal Carcinoma forms in the milk ducts. Less frequently, it can grow in the stromal tissue, which is the fatty and fibrous connective tissue of the breast.

Treating this type of cancer as soon as it is found is extremely important. If left untreated, cells may overwhelm healthy breast tissue. If it spreads in the lymphatic system, it can also spread to other parts of the body easier.

Woman need to have access to regularly scheduled mammograms. People in need can put together an community fundraiser and partner with a national charity. This will educate and innovate communities nationwide.

Written by Antwon Rogers
Edited by Jeanette Smith


NECN: Breast cancer
National Breast Cancer Foundation: breast cancer in the news
Daily Journal Online: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Image Courtesy of Sombrero Galaxy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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