BREAST CANCEREven after many years and billions of dollars in research we still don’t know what causes cancer but we do know what we can do to see if we are at risk for it and what to do to try and reduce our risks, the part our genes play in it, and the treatment and early detection of this disease.Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast and is classified in 2 types- Ductal- this is in the ducts of the breasts , the tubes that supply milk, the most common. Second Lobular- this starts in the tubes that produce the milk. Rare cases can start in other areas of the breast as well.
CAUSES AND RISKS FACTORSDIET and EXERCISE :a) Physical Activity- make sure you exercise daily , at least 45-60min, 5x week. This is shown to reduce breast cancer risk.b) Proper Nutrition- eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fiber, low in fat and limit processed and red meats in your diet.c) Weight Management- keep your weight in a manageable range and avoid obesity
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO USE AND AGEA) Women should avoid consuming alcoholic drinks of more than 2 dailyB) Use of tobacco should be avoided as this has been shown to increase the risks of breast cancer as well as other cancers.C) Age- Risks increase with age- 2 out of 3 breast cancers are found in woman 55 or older.D) Being a woman – Just being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENTEarly detection is key in the treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer and the first is to be proactive .A) Mammograms – Should be done every year after a woman turns 40B) Woman need to do SBE – self breast exams monthly and call the doctor if they notice any change in the breast shape, color or if any discharge is noted from the breastC) Breast biopsy to evaluate a lump to see if it is cancerous.D) Breast cancer is considered either invasive , meaning it has spread to other tissues or non invasive ( in situ) that it is localized to specific tissue or lump.
TREATMENT OPTIONSTreatment options vary depending on the stage and type of cancer diagnosed.A) Local Therapy – Therapy intended to treat a tumor at the site without affecting the rest of the body, ex; surgery, lumpectomy or mastectomy- (removal of the breast ),radiation,B) Systemic Therapy – This therapy refers to drugs given by mouth or directly into the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy are these types.C) Adjuvant Therapy- Systemic therapy given after surgery to make sure the cancer is gone and to kill hidden cellsD) Neoadjuvant Therapy – Chemo therapy or hormone therapy to shrink tumors before surgery is done.
CONTROLLABLE AND UNCONTROLLABLE RISK FACTORSA) Genetics and family history have an impact on your risk for getting breast cancer. About 5-10% are from a genetic defect that is inherited from a parent called “ mutations”, the BRCA 1 and the BRCA 2 genes and can make your risk about 80% of developing breast cancer.B) Having a first degree relative ( mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer about doubles a womans risk.C) Woman with denser breasts have a higher risks due to the density of the tissue, this makes it more difficult to spot problemsD) Pregnancy history- woman who havent had a child or did so after age 30 have a higher risk of breast cancer.E) Woman using hormone replacement therapy are at greater risk for developing breast cancer
COMPLIMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE OPTIONSThe goal of complimentary and alternative treatments for breast cancer is to balance the whole person – physically, mentally, and emotionally while the conventional medicine does its work. For many this helps to relieve symptoms, ease treatment side effects and improve the quality of life.Some forms of complimentary treatments are ; Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Massage, Meditation. Yoga, Tai Chi Hypnosis, Music therapy just to name a few.When making a decision about the type of treatment a person chooses they should make sure to research all options as well as combining traditional and complimentary and alternative treatments as the benefits of doing this can be very beneficial. The most important thing to remember is that taking care of your body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in preventing this disease and detecting it early on.
THE ROLE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM PLAYSBreast cancer cells start out as normal cells, that begin to grow out of control because of an abnormal gene. The immune system plays a major role in limiting the development of these abnormalities, often before the cancer has a chance to grow. An alert immune system takes them out and protects us by not allowing the cancer to get beyond the very earliest stage.When the cells do over take the immune system it then becomes cancer and the immune system then needs help to fight it and recover from it, many times with the help of medicines that boost the immune system such as ; antibody medications, immune growth factors – these medicines stimulate production of new immune cells, vaccines- these stimulate your immune system to fight back, give it a wake up call.
RELIABLE COMMUNITY AND WEB SUPPORTA person should check in there local town or city for support groups offered through churches, hospitals and other cancer support groups available.Web support groups are also available for those with breast cancer to chat with about different treatments and support options available some are :Breastcancer.org , American Cancer Society. Org , American Botanical Council , a site that offers current herbal and nutritional facts.