Battle Against Breast Cancer

A friend of mine at the age of 32 developed breast cancer, she never had a mammogram, well because it's not recommended at a younger age but she found a lump and had it checked. She underwent surgery had a total mastectomy then a year later had the other breast removed. It's now been over 5 years, she has had implants and doing fine. 

Myths that surround breast cancer. Knowing the correct facts and what are the wrong ones.

One common myth is a lump in the breast automatically means it's cancer. This is not true. It is reported that eight out of ten lumps are not malignant. Some of the non-cancerous stuff found in the breasts are the following: fibroadenomas, cysts or a fibrocystic disease.

Another myth is men do not acquire breast cancer. Well, they do. That's why men also have to be attentive to any change in their breasts. Request an ultrasound, if a lump is noticed.

Can a mammogram trigger the widespread of breast cancer. This is not true. The pressure from this x-ray does not do a thing except detect if there is a suspicious growth within the breasts.

It has also been said that a history of breast cancer in the family means the woman will get it too. Not necessarily true, although those with history have greater risk. But every woman must still have a mammogram, just to check and rule out cancer. It is not a communicable disease.

It is important to know about the risk factors of breast cancer:

1. Having menstruated at an early age and going into late menopause

2. Eating food which has ample amount of saturated fat

3. Having a family which has a history of acquiring the disease

4. Getting pregnant at a late age or not getting pregnant at all

5. Having undergone estrogen replacement therapy

6. Being obese

7. Having had therapeutic irradiation for treatment of Hodgkins Disease

There are different types of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma in-situ (most common type of breast cancer), infiltrating ductal, medullary carcinoma, infiltrating lobular, tubular carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma and inflammatory breast cancer which is characterized by drastic breast skin changes (redness, thickening and dominance of the hair follicles).

Like any other cancer, the breast cancer undergoes changes.

Stage 0 is when there are abnormal cells in the lobule's lining. The presence does not really equate with cancer but it increases the risk. Taking a drug called tamoxifen may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

T1: Tumor is 2 cm or less in diameter

Stage 1 and 2 refer to the stages wherein cancer has already spread beyond the ducts or lobes. Stage 1 indicates that the tumor is just of insignificant size and cancer cells have not gone beyond the breast.

T2: Tumor is between 2 and 5 cm in diameter 2 means the cancer has spread to under the arms, particularly to the lymph nodes and the tumor is now bigger than 2 inches. Radiation therapy can be conducted or mastectomy, which means the breast will be removed and reconstructed. 

T3: Tumor is more than 5 cm in diameter

Stage 3 is advanced cancer wherein the tumor in the breast has grown immensely and the cancer has spread to tissues and lymph nodes near the breast. Chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery and radiation therapy may be administered.

T4: Tumor is any size, has attached itself to the chest wall and spread to the pectoral (chest) lymph nodes

Stage 4 is called metastatic cancer. Radiation and surgery may be used as treatments.

Breast cancer can be fought and those who have it can win against it. Hollywood celebs even gather together for the Pink Ribbon, a movement to fight breast cancer. So women of the world, let's go and fight!

T: Tumor Size T followed by a number describes the tumor's size and whether it has spread to the skin or chest wall under the breast. Higher T numbers indicate a larger tumor and/or more extensive spread to tissues surrounding the breast