Breast Cancer: What To Know And What To Look For
The opinions expressed in this article are the writers own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. It is one of the most common cancers in women with 30% of cancer diagnoses being breast cancer. Breast cancer is categorized into stages 0-4 which depend on the amount the cancer has spread. 63% of diagnoses are at a stage where the cancer has not metastasized, which means spread outside the breast. With this diagnosis, there is a 99% five year survival rate. This is good news for many people, and it makes it all the more important to understand the risk factors and signs of breast cancer.
Genetics are a risk factor that is important to be aware of. Having a family history or having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increases risk of developing breast cancer. Other factors include age, obesity, and early mensturation or delayed menopause. There are also several lifestyle factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. These include lack of physical activity, poor diet, and alcohol consumption. While its important to know these risk factors, they are not meant to discourage you. In fact, 60-70% of breast cancer patients have no known risk factors. Plenty of people with an increased risk never develop breast cancer too.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month , also referred to in the United States as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month , is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
Observances of the event have faced criticism for corporate involvement by drug companies, as well as instances of pinkwashing associated with the events.
After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis Many Black Women Face Barriers That Delay Their Care
Dont just be aware of the disease. Be aware of us. In the midst of the pink madness, it can be easy to forget what breast cancer really is: an ugly disease that takes the lives of far too many people each year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 4 million people mostly women, but men can develop breast cancer, too have a history of breast cancer. Dont get me wrong: We want as many people as possible to be aware of this cause. But we are more than pink ribbons, more than the statistics you see adorning the October campaigns.
If someone in your life is affected by breast cancer, check in on them this month. See how they are faring with the constant reminders. If they want to participate in BCAM activities, thats great but follow their lead.
Don’t Miss: Cancer Stage 3a
Remind Providers About The Importance Of Communication And Its Impact On Patients Quality Of Life
- Emphasize that patients often report health professionals as their most important information source .
- Prompt providers to spend more time talking to their patients and ask proactive questions, like, Have you had any problems that we havent discussed yet? and Are there any things that we can do better? .
- Remind providers to avoid heteronormative assumptions about their patients and explore a full range of surgical and post-surgical options. For example, forgoing breast reconstruction can be an affirming decision for some LGBTQ+ survivors .
What Are The Symptoms
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk .
- A new lump in the breast or underarm.
If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.
Recommended Reading: Breast Cancer With Positive Lymph Nodes
How Breast Cancer Survivors Feel About Breast Cancer Awareness Month
While celebrating her fathers birthday with family and friends, Tecia Kite inadvertently found a lump in her breast. Four days later she was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer at the age of 36. With lots of love and support from her husband Darrin, their three children, Kacia , Alex , and KJ , her Faith Over Fear Tribe and determination, she endured a double mastectomy, 18 weeks of chemo and the dreaded hair loss.
Tecia survived and beat the disease, which is the reason for this post. Below you will find a harrowing and honest perspective on Breast Cancer Awareness Month and some insight into the range of emotions this month creates for survivors. Some have a much harder time than others.
Please join us in raising consciousness and empathy for those who may be struggling during this month of awareness.
I didnt plan to post anything today or this month but I am moved by my pink sisters and all of the mixed emotions they are facing this month. Forewarningit is a long one!!!
For me? It makes me pause. My heart bleeds for those hurt and offended by the month and simultaneously, celebrates with those rejoicing the recognition.
Inwardly, I cant help but go back to the promise God delivered to me the day I went to the doctor. I reconfirmed this word from him over and over again during those initial days with Isaiah 43:1b-3a
How You Can Help
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Ready to RISE to the occasion? Here are a handful of ways you can help:
Rally In Screening EveryoneMake a donation to provide life-saving mammograms to women in need. New this year, choose exactly where your donation goes. Take our educationaleBookQuiz to find relevant breast health resources.
Rally In Supporting Everyone
Don’t Miss: Stage Iiia Breast Cancer Prognosis
For Nearly Four Decades Now The Country Has Recognized October As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month It Is A Time Annually Devoted To Educating Everyone About Breast Cancerincluding Metastatic Breast Cancer And The Importance Of Early Detection And Timely High
No matter who you are or where you live, breast cancer may touch your life. Its necessary to understand the warning signs of breast cancer, your risk and whats normal for you, so if there are any changes in your breasts, you can act.
Since 1989, Susan G. Komen has helped drive down mortality rates from breast cancer thanks to our focus on early detection and improvements in treatmenthowever, that progress is in jeopardy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people delayed their regular screening and the pandemic disrupted treatment and research progress.
And progress is needed. Through research, growing knowledge about breast cancer has led to new therapies and targeted treatments that improved outcomes for many people and replaced the one-size-fits-all treatments of three decades ago. It is research that brings hope to patients facing this disease, especially those living with MBC. We need to ensure more options for patients, especially when treatments stop working.
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the disparity in breast cancer treatments for rural and low-income people across the country, as well as the disparity in treatment between Black and white women. Black women in the U.S. are about 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
Thats why Susan G. Komen encourages you to dedicate this October as a time of action, both for yourself and others.
A Voice For Cancer Patients
Desirée Walker is a native New Yorker who serves on the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Centers Patient Advocacy Board. After receiving her first breast cancer diagnosis at age 38, Walker quickly threw herself into patient advocacy and has worked with organizations and agencies to address health care inequities.
I recall public service announcements only saying that the incidence of breast cancer was high for Caucasian women, she says in a recent HICCC interview.
After my recovery, I began outreach in communities of African heritage to share my story. It was important to me to be a face of the disease and encourage my community to be informed about breast cancer.
Don’t Miss: Stage 1 Breast Cancer Prognosis
What Is Breast Self
Read more tips from Stacy Ugras, MD, in NYP’s Health Matters.
The simplest way to do that is by looking at your breasts in the mirror with arms both up and down, making sure the breasts are symmetric and that there are no inconsistencies between the two. If there is evidence of skin dimpling or redness, discharge, or scaling of the nipples, tell your doctor. Symptoms like these present physically on the skins surface and you can easily monitor them on your own.
As for performing a breast self-exam, theres no right or wrong way, Ugras says. Many times, patients become overwhelmed and believe they are doing it incorrectly, but I always encourage them to focus on the big picture.
Spread The Walk The Walk Word This Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness month is all about just that, raising awareness about breast cancer. Lets come together and continue to make a difference, not just in October but every month of the year.
Walk the Walk are dedicated to raising money and awareness for vital breast cancer causes. Taking on one of our Virtual or Walking Challenges helps you get fit, raises money for research, and to support those needing our help, both going through treatment and living with cancer.
Read Also: What Causes Hormonal Breast Cancer
Rethinking Routine Mammography Among Older Women
Underutilization of breast cancer screening by some groups is a well-known problem, but mammography can also be overused. Columbia researchers are deploying de-implementation science to help improve outcomes and reduce unnecessary procedures.
Read more about the project on the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research website.
Risk Factors And Prevention
Not all cases of breast cancer can be prevented, but some can. Certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as genetics, are inherent to an individual and cannot be changed. Others are related to a persons lifestyle. This animation highlights some of the things that affect your risk of developing breast cancer and some behaviours you can adopt to reduce your risk.
Here is an informative video from WHO:
Also Check: Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Stages
Communicating With Diverse Audiences
When communicating about breast cancer, your audience may be diverse. Consider the information most useful to the relevant groups. Certain groups experience disparities in breast cancer screening, incidence, mortality, and survival . Cancer health disparities are complex and affected by various factors, such as, social determinants of health, behavior, biology, genetics, and more . Communication-related issues may also play a role in cancer disparities .
Facts Everyone Should Know About Breast Cancer
Read more recommendations from Luona Sun in NYP’s Health Matters.
Knowing your risk status is the most important first step, Sun says. This means having a consultation with your doctor to determine your risk. It could also include genetic testingif the patient is comfortable with it and wants itand a full family history evaluation.
Based on a persons risk level and age, doctors can map out a personalized screening plan moving forward.
For people with average risk, the American Cancer Society recommends that women 45 to 54 years old should get annual mammograms, and women between 40 and 44 have the option to begin annual screening. .
You May Like: Mbc Metastatic Breast Cancer
Rally In Supporting Everyone
Behind every photo is a story with the power to uplift and inspire others. Tell us how you or a loved one has been impacted by breast cancer.Well share your stories throughout the month of October in celebration of the ways we RISE together and as a message of hope for others on their own breast cancer journey.
Every Dollar Matters
Whether youre funding a mammogram, supporting education, or helping reach women in underserved communities, your donation matters. Click the button below to select how your contribution will be used.
Dense: Breasts: And: What: To: Do: About: Them
The only way you know you have dense breasts is when a radiologist looks at your mammogram, Friedlander adds. Dense breasts are not something your doctor can detect on a physical examination or not something you yourself can feel.
Having dense breasts does not mean you will get breast cancer. It does mean you need to be vigilant and get mammograms once a year.
3D mammography does a bit better at finding breast cancers in all women but particularly in women with dense breast tissue, Friedlander says.
Recommended Reading: Is Breast Cancer Curable
Breast Cancer Symptoms And Signs
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. Its important to check your breasts regularly, and see your doctor if you notice a change.
Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit you might feel the lump but not see it
A change in the color of the breast the breast may look red or inflamed
A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
A change to the nipple, for example it has become pulled in
A rash or crusting around the nipple
Breast Cancer Screening Aims At Finding Breast Cancer Early On
Today, the prognosis for breast cancer is reasonably good, as it has an 89% five-year survival rate. The aim of breast cancer screening is to detect cancer earlier than without screening. In Finland, women diligently participate in breast cancer screening nearly 90 percent of the age group follows the invitation sent every two years.
The main benefit of screening for breast cancer is the decrease in the mortality rate. According to studies, mortality among women who are over 50 years and who are invited to screening is about 22% lower than in situations without breast cancer screening. Screening often also helps to detect breast cancer early on when it is easier to treat. Moreover, breast cancer that is found at an early stage can usually be treated by using breast conserving therapy.
Read more about the breast cancer screening program in Finland here.
Text: Hanna Lipiäinen & Satu Seppälä
You May Like: How Many Women Die Of Breast Cancer Each Year
Pharmacy Association Of Nova Scotia
1-800-565-0548 or 473-3960
Please have your Nova Scotia Health Card ready!
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when breast cells begin to grow and divide at an uncontrolled pace. Normal breast cells grow and divide as needed and then die as they age or suffer damage. In contrast, breast cancer cells continue to divide, resist cell death signals, and gain capacity to invade, eventually forming masses called tumours. A cancerous tumour is a group of cancer cells that can grow into and destroy nearby tissue. It can also spread to other parts of the body.
Typically, breast cancer begins either in the cells of the ductsthis is called ductal carcinoma or the lobulesthis is called lobular carcinoma. Both types of carcinoma can be in situ or invasive. In situ means that the cancer is in its original place and has not invaded into the nearby tissues. Invasive means cancer has spread from where it began into the surrounding healthy tissues.
Less common types of breast cancer can also develop. These include inflammatory breast cancer, Paget disease of the breast and triple-negative breast cancer. Rare types of breast cancer include non-Hodgkin lymphoma and soft tissue sarcoma.
Quick Stats on Breast Cancer
- 1 in 8 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
- It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women .
- Thanks to early detection and new treatments, the 5-year survival rate is 87%.
In 2019, an estimated:
Your Support Helps Fund Innovative Research To Detect Breast Cancer Earlier
What if a bra could detect breast cancer? Through a grant awarded by CCS and partners, Dr Elijah Van Houten and his team are developing a bra that can detect small breast cancer tumours using cutting-edge technology that can sense and measure the differences between breast tumours and healthy breast tissue.
When detected early, breast cancers are more likely to be treated successfully. In addition to regular mammograms, this amazing technology could be part of the life-saving future of breast cancer screening.
We hope to transform breast cancer screening, making it a more comfortable, simple, regular and convenient way to undergo screening at home, says Dr Van Houten.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, donate to help create a world where no Canadian fears breast cancer.
When you donate, you can also create a digital pink ribbon, a virtual badge to print or share through your social networks to honour or remember loved ones affected by breast cancer.
Recommended Reading: Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer Survival
Genetics And Family Testing:
Although all cancers result from genetic errors , most cancers develop over time as multiple mutations accumulate in single cells. This can be due to things like aging or the environment. However, in some families, an inherited risk factor can be identified that causes increased cancer risk. This is true in at least 10% of breast cancers. The most common mutations are BRCA1 and BRCA2. If someone inherits such a mutation, the risk of developing breast cancer is much higher than for the average man or woman. Inherited risk can come from either side of the family, and the risk on each side is considered separately.
Having a close relative with breast cancer, such as a mother or sister, increases your chance for developing breast cancer.