Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What you need to know (video)
SAN DIEGO, October 10, 2017 – One out of 8 women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.
To put this phenomenon in perspective, walk down the street of a typical neighborhood and count out 8 dwellings. Residing in one of them will be a woman who will become stricken with breast cancer.
As the most common form of cancer in women, striking women of all ages, National Breast Cancer Awareness is the ideal time to bring this epidemic to the forefront.
In his 2016 Presidential Proclamation, Barack Obama had this to say:
“During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we honor all those who lost their lives to breast cancer, and we recognize the courageous survivors who are still fighting for it. For these individuals, and for their loved ones who give their unwavering support during the most trying times, we recommit ourselves to the essential and necessary work of forging a future free from cancer in all its forms.”
The good news is that there is a 5-year relative survival rate of 99% for those with early-stage breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society further indicates that there are more than 3 million survivors in the U.S.
Early stage breast cancer oftentimes means that early detection was a critical component of a high success rate.
“There can be life after breast cancer. The prerequisite is detection.”
In a 2015-2016 report, Breast Cancer Facts and Figures, published by the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is described as a form of cancer which causes the cells in the body to change and grow out of control, beginning mostly in the glands or ducts used for milk production.
The report continues to describe lobular carcinoma of the breast, which is cancer growing within the lobules of the breast. Some breast cancers are found in both the ductal and lobular regions.
If any form of breast cancer becomes invasive, it can spread to the lymph nodes.
According to the report, the main staging system for determining the severity of breast cancer is as follows:
- Stage 0 (In situ stage)
- Stage I (Early stage invasive cancer)
- Stage II (Regional tumors which have spread to surrounding tissue or lymph nodes)
- Stage III (Stage II in nature, though wider spread; may have spread to distant organs or lymphs above the collarbone)
- Stage IV (Most advanced stage invasive cancer, with the most extensive metastasizing)
With lower stage breast cancers, it may be more difficult to detect due to the small size.
For more advanced stages, there might be lumps or nodules upon self-examination, pain, swelling, redness of the breast tissue,changes to nipples, and more.
It is critical to report any symptoms to a qualified healthcare professional.
Annual mammograms are recommended for women age 40 and over. It is staggering that 3.1 million American women with a history of breast cancer on January 1, 2014, and approximately 321,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60, 290 cases of in situ breast cancer were reported in 2015.
According to the American Cancer Association, Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women, killing approximately 40,290 in 2015.
“With over 3 million women battling breast cancer today, everywhere you turn there is a mother, daughter, sister, or friend who has been affected by breast cancer.”
With early detection being critical in successful breast cancer treatment, preventing breast cancer is an often overlooked component.
In addition to annual mammograms and medical check-ups, healthy self-care is equally as important. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet low in fats and sugars, regular exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake can go along way to preventing breast cancer while reducing risks for other types of diseases.
For further information about the issues surrounding breast cancer you may go to the following resources:
healthfinder.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Susan G. Komen in the city nearest you
For a special touch, go to 1-800-Flowers any time you place your floral 0rder, and add the word HOPE in the promotional code at checkout. For each purchase of $39.99 or more, $10.00 will be donated to The American Cancer Society.
“I’m happy to tell you that having been through surgery and chemotherapy and radiation, breast cancer is officially behind me. I feel absolutely great and I am raring to go.”
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!