The Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer – October the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. It is that month of the year which has its own importance. Warm bright days, the month in which fruits and vines are blessed by the sun. I can go on discussing the beauty of the month of October. However, this is not the topic that I am here to discuss. The month of October is also known as ‘breast cancer awareness month.‘
‘Then came October, full of merry glee.’ –Spencer
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. One out of every eight women gets prone to this disease. In many cases, the ladies won’t even get to know about their sufferings. But by the time they get to know about it, it’s too late. Hence many campaigns are arranged and also awareness is spread through other grounds. Breast cancer charities work throughout October to increase awareness of the illness. Not only do they work hard year after year in search of a cure, but especially in October. Now let’s dive into this further.
My reason for creating Breast Cancer Awareness
So, I was 14 when I got to know that my mother was suffering from cancer and that to the last stage. I never asked what type of cancer it was, but this was something which hit us very badly. I have seen the trauma it created in our family. The doctors used to say that there is only 1% chance that my mother will survive after the operation. There were times where our confidence broke completely. It was like we were losing faith.
However, we decided not to bow down in front of this evil. We all stood together. Helped not only ourselves but each other to remain strong during that tough time. By god’s grace, the operation was successful and she survived. Today we are happy that we stood strong and together came out as winners.
I hope now you might understand why this topic is very close to my heart. So, to all the women out there I just wanna say, stay strong. By following a healthy diet and regular checkups we can tackle this evil.
Now, here I am Grown up enough to understand what is Breast cancer all about. Thus, October being the Breast Cancer awareness month, I would like to do my part of creating awareness through our Good Vibes Blog.
What is Breast Cancer?
Cancer occurs when changes called mutations to take place in genes that regulate cell growth. The mutations let the cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way.
Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast.
Types of Breast Cancer
There are several kinds of cancer broken into two categories ‘invasive’ and ‘non-invasive’.Invasive one spreads from breast ducts to other parts whereas noninvasive does not spread from the original tissue.
Ductal carcinoma in situ– is non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.
Lobular carcinoma in situ- Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells haven’t invaded the surrounding tissue.
Invasive breast cancer (ILC or IDC) –Invasive (or infiltrating) breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue. The most common types are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Invasive ductal carcinoma makes up about 70-80% of all cancers.
Other, less common types of cancer include:
Paget disease of the nipple- This type of cancer begins in the ducts of the nipple, but as it grows, it begins to affect the skin and areola of the nipple.
Phyllodes tumor- This very rare type of breast cancer grows in the connective tissue of the breast. Most of these tumors are benign, but some are cancerous.
Angiosarcoma– This is cancer that grows on the blood vessels or lymph vessels in the breast.
Special types of invasive cancers
*Triple-negative breast cancer- is an aggressive type of invasive cancer that accounts for about 15% of all breast cancers. It is difficult cancer to treat.
*Inflammatory breast cancer- is an uncommon type of invasive breast cancer. It accounts for about 1% to 5% of all cancers.
Different people have different signs. Most of the time there are no signs at all. However, there are some warning signs which are as follows.
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Let me tell you that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
STAGES OF BREAST CANCER.
Breast cancer can be divided into stages based on how large the tumor or tumors are and how much it has spread.
Stage 0 –During this the cancer cells remain confined to the ducts in the breasts and have not spread.
Stage 1A: The primary tumor is 2 centimeters wide or less and the lymph nodes are not affected.
Stage 1B: Cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes, and either there is no tumor in the breast, or the tumor is smaller than 2 cm.
Stage 2A: The tumor is smaller than 2 cm and has spread to 1–3 nearby lymph nodes, or it’s between 2 and 5 cm and hasn’t spread to any lymph nodes.
Stage 2B: The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm and has spread to 1–3 axillary (armpit) lymph nodes, or it’s larger than 5 cm and hasn’t spread to any lymph nodes.
Stage 3A: Cancer has spread to 4–9 axillary lymph nodes or has enlarged the internal mammary lymph nodes, and the primary tumor can be any size. Tumors are greater than 5 cm and cancer has spread to 1–3 axillary lymph nodes or any breastbone nodes.
Stage 3B: A tumor has invaded the chest wall or skin and may or may not have invaded up to 9 lymph nodes.
Stage 3C: Cancer is found in 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, those near the collarbone, or internal mammary nodes.
Stage 4 – Stage 4 cancer can have a tumor of any size, and its cancer cells have spread to nearby and distant lymph nodes as well as distant organs.
EVALUATION OF BREAST CANCER
Tests and procedures to evaluate cancer.
Breast exam- Your doctor will check both of your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities.
Mammogram- A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are commonly used to screen for cancer.
Breast ultrasound- Ultrasound may be used to determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
Biopsy- A biopsy is the only definitive way to make a diagnosis of breast cancer. During a biopsy, your doctor uses a specialized needle device guided by X-ray or another imaging test to extract a core of tissue from the suspicious area.
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of your breast
Other tests and procedures can be used depending on your situation.
TREATMENT OF BREAST CANCER
Your doctor determines your breast cancer treatment options based on your type of breast cancer, its stage and grade, size, and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones.
1. Breast cancer surgery
—removing cancer, lumpectomy (done by removing the tumor and a small margin around it)
—removing the entire breast, mastectomy
(Most mastectomy procedures remove all of the breast tissue — the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue and some skin, including the nipple and areola)
—Removing a limited number of lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy). ( the lymph nodes that are the first to receive the lymph drainage from your tumour.)
—Removing several lymph nodes (axillary lymph node dissection) (Removal of lymph nodes from the armpits)
—Removing both breasts. (Some women with cancer in one breast may choose to have their other (healthy) breast removed)
2. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy fast-growing cells, such as cancer cells. If your cancer has a high risk of returning or spreading to another part of your body, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy after surgery to decrease the chance that cancer will recur.
4. Hormone therapy
This Therapy is used to treat breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones.
5. Targeted therapy drugs
Targeted drug treatments attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells. As an example, several targeted therapy drugs focus on a protein that some breast cancer cells overproduce called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The protein helps breast cancer cells grow and survive. By targeting cells that make too much HER2, the drugs can damage cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
Immunotherapy uses your immune system to fight cancer. Your body’s disease-fighting immune system may not attack your cancer because the cancer cells produce proteins that blind the immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by interfering with that process.
7. Supportive (palliative) care
Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness.
An important thing that I want to mention is, this disease can also occur in men. But, as it is more common in women, I wrote my article keeping them in mind. All the factors and treatments mentioned above are the same for men. The best protection is early detection…
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“There can be life after breast cancer, the pre-requisite is early detection.”- Ann Jillian
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