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.
- 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.
- 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)))
- Physical activity
- 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.