An Introduction to Breast Cancer

What is a tumor….

A tumor is a swelling of a part of the body caused by an abnormal growth of tissue, whether benign or malignant.

What does it mean to be benign or malignant?

Benign- A benign tumor is a tumor that lacks the ability to invade neighboring tissue. This characteristic is required for a tumor to be defined as cancerous and therefore benign tumors are noncancerous.

Malignant-A malignant tumor is not self-limited in its growth, is capable of invading into adjacent tissues, and may be capable of spreading to distant tissues.

So What is Breast Cancer?

A malignant tumor in the cells of the breast that causes cells start to grow abnormally.

WHERE DOES IT AFFECT…

It affects the breasts and can spread elsewhere.

Warning Signs:

  • Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
  • A lump in the breast (not all lumps are cancerous.)
  • Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling anywhere on the breast
  • Unexplained swelling of the breast OR Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange.

    Risk Factors-
  • Inherited gene mutations
  • Acquired gene mutations
  • Gender - Simply being a woman is the main risk factor for developing breast cancer.
  • Aging- Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older.
  • Race and ethnicity- Overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women, but African-American women are more likely to die of this cancer.
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Birth control- ORAL CONTRACEPTION
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Tobacco Smoke….. (((Especially Secondhand)))

    Prevention…
  • Physical activity
  • Breastfeeding
  • Control your weight.
  • Eat healthy foods.

Chemotherapy is one method used to treat:

  • early-stage invasive breast cancer to get rid of any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery and to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back
  • advanced-stage breast cancer to destroy or damage the cancer cells as much as possible

What I learned was that even though breast cancer is a bad thing that is scary, there will always be people trying to help you get through it and a plethora of information to tell you what you are up against.

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