Nowadays one of the most disturbing realities of life is the increase of cancer (when the cells in an area of the body start to divide rapidly and abnormally), it comes in different forms and it hits people of all ages and color. Particularly in women there is high risk and a growing awareness of breast cancer. In the US alone more that 3 million have been diagnosed and are living with the disease according to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. But with such an increase and high risk there is a deliberate need to educate woman and their loved ones about some of things that are not so widely talked about, whether it is facts about how to prevent it or awareness in general here are some of the 10 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer.
10. Early Detection, Mammograms and False Positives
One of the key thing to know about breast cancer is that you don’t have to necessarily go all out and worry about seeing a doctor for no reason as you can easily do self examination and search for lumps while dressing or taking a shower and feel for it under and around your breast region if you then suspect something of a lump you still needn’t worry yet as according to research 80% of lumps that women do come in for are benign meaning that they are not harmful and you shouldn’t be worried about it, however it should be essential that females who are older try and educate about early detection and younger ones try to act upon the advice of early detection as this is the key, the early it is found the better chances of you fighting it.
9. Hereditary? Yes and No
Like we see in so many diseases that people get as a result of their family history the same is true for breast cancer as well, with breast cancer what is important actually is not your mom’s side of the family as many people assume, yes it does have a contributing role but it is equally likely that the genes that you inherit from your father’s side of the family may also help you in early prevention and detection. Apart from that those who do not have any previous gene factors shouldn’t stay at ease at all as according to research 1 out of 8 women are likely to develop breast cancer even without any family history. So there are more than one factor that contribute to it.
8. Risk Factors
With the above statement being said the question that is bound to pop into your head is what then actually may increase ones chances of getting breast cancer? Well just a few on the list are , age; that is with age the risk increases, a woman’s decision of having no children at all or delaying having children, as women get older those who expose themselves to hormones such as progesterone for one reason or another, second hand smoke being likely to increase the risks three times according to a Mexican study, alcohol consumption according to the American Cancer Society drinking one glass will increase your chances slightly but increase the consumption to 3 to 5 times a day and you just put up your chances to a whooping one and half times! so be easy on that bottle.
7. Everyday Products can be Harmful
We talked about some of the risk factors that you may have already had a hunch about as these things may ultimately lead to other bad stuff as well but what you didn’t know was the items you carry around in your purse, you apply on your face or you just use to make your house clean and sparkly may also be harmful. It may come as a shock but research has identified at least 900 synthetic compounds in commercial as well as industrial products that could increase the risk of breast cancer. A name that you can keep in your mind is EDC (endocrine disruptor compounds) that are harmful and can be found in everyday cleaning products, pesticides, cosmetics, detergents, and so much more.
6. Is All Breast Cancer the Same?
When you hear someone has breast cancer you may ultimately jump to conclusions and see it as life threatening and no doubt it is life threatening but what is important to know is the fact that there are different types of breast cancer and knowing what type one may have may help out in talking to your doctor about what kind of treatment may be suitable according to it. For instance the tumors in the breast are categorized by using three identifiers as you may call it or IHC (immunohistochemical). 1. Estrogen Receptor (ER), 2.Progesterone Receptor (PR), and 3.Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/Neu).All can be tackled differently and it is important to check which one you may have. Similarly knowing the biology of the tumors can help you determine how aggressive of an action you may or may not have to take.
5. Can Ethnicity Play a Factor?
According to recent research by the National Cancer Institute and by the American Cancer Society, it is women of white or Caucasian color who are more likely to develop breast cancer but it is women of color, such as African American women who have a higher probability of dying from the disease itself. Also it has been studied that young black women and women of Latino descent living in low socioeconomic status are also at a higher risk of having aggressive breast tumors as compared to women of other demographics.
4. Survival Rate
Yes cancer is hard, it is debilitating it is heart wrenching but one thing that one should keep in mind and should know from the statistics is that it is not hard to beat, according to a research the overall five year survival rate of patients suffering from breast cancer that are in its less severe to mildest forms and are not so aggressive to attack is 89.4 %. Whereas most breast cancer types are of the localized forms up to 60% and when it is this type than the survival rate turns up a notch to 98.6%, the other half who have the type of breast cancer which need to be tackled aggressively has a lower survival rate 32% but still it is better than nothing.
3. Spreading to Other Areas
One thing that you should know about breast cancer is that if it goes untreated or unrecognized you may run the risk of not only getting breast cancer but also spreading it to other areas of your body where it can lead to more problems for you such as the lymph nodes specifically the underarms lymph nodes where once it happens it is very rigorous to treat.
2. Men are Also at Risk
We know that women are prone to having breast cancer due to various environmental factors and heredity factors but it is a very false perception that breast cancer only happens to women if you’re a male you are not completely out of the loop. 2350 men according to the American Cancer Society will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone and yes it is a small figure and not something to keep calm about, men are just as likely to get breast cancer because they also have breast tissue the thing that makes them less susceptible is the fact that their breast cell ducts are less developed and the female hormone which may lead to a disruption and problem for females is less in male. So yes one out of 1000 men may have or be diagnosed with breast cancer and this important fact should not be ignored.
With all this talk about breast cancer you may ask yourself what are some of the steps that one may take to minimize being at risk and the answer is exercise yes you heard right run, jog, walk, yoga, Pilates get your heart racing for 30- 60 minutes every day and research indicates that you may have a 20 – 80% chance of reducing the risk of getting breast cancer (according to the National Cancer Society) , along with reducing stress and having a healthy diet and trying to keep yourself out of harm’s way of harsh chemicals integrating these simple factors may help you and your family in the long run.