Photo from Brightwater Medical Centre
These statistics however should not be the reason to despair and to fear as breast cancer is preventable.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month long celebration is dedicated to create awareness and understanding on breast cancer and how it can be prevented. It is important for every woman to know the risks of breast cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. This disease not only affects women but men too.
There are several types of breast cancer. The most common is the invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma (IDC) which starts in the milk duct and grows into a fatty tissue inside the breast. These cancer cells spread to the other parts of the body through the lymphatic system and the bloodstream.
The ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common non-invasive type of breast cancer wherein cancer cells do not spread to other parts of the body. (source: American Cancer Society)
Photo from National Breast Cancer Foundation
Who are at risk?
The more you get older, the more you are prone to breast cancer. The risk is also higher for women who have relatives with breast cancer and to those who started their menstruation below the age of 12.
Women who are also diagnosed with certain benign breast conditions are also at risk. Excessive alcohol and being overweight also increases the risk of breast cancer.
Prevention is better than cure
Look for signs of breast cancer such as lump in the breast, redness of the nipple, pain in the nipple or breast and swelling. Screening mammograms are very effective in detecting breast cancer especially for women age 40 and older. Younger women in their 20s and 30s should have breast exams, whether a clinical breast exam or breast self-exam. Always talk to a health practitioner should there be any signs and changes in the breast.
Let’s color the town pink this October! Let us create awareness on breast cancer to every women…and men.
Maria Celeste Abellana
iSTORYA League of Writers
Celeste is a content writer. blogger. social media addict. learning social media marketing. loves music and coffee. work-from-home mom. single parent to an awesome boy who is growing up too fast.