Win the Fight Against Breast Cancer!
Every TWO minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer.
In other words 720 women EVERY DAY!!
Wouldn't it be wonderful for those of you who want, to be able to be in touch with some of those women who are sharing your journey.
This is one of the things we hope to be introducing to this site before too long together with breaking news about treatment which even your doctor may not be aware of.
Make sure and sign up for the newletter so you never miss a piece of information that may be life changing for you.
Research continues and scientists are learning more about causes and new ways to prevent, find, and treat this disease. Because of research you can look forward to a better quality of life and far less chance of dying from this disease than ever before.
Cancer begins in cells.
Sometimes the orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor.
Remember not all tumors are cancer.
Tumors can be benign or malignant:
Benign tumors are not cancer:
Malignant tumors are cancer:
Malignant tumors generally are more serious than benign tumors. They may be life-threatening.
Malignant tumors often can be removed, but they can grow back.
Cells from malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Also, cancer cells can break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. That is how cancer cells spread from the original cancer (primary tumor) to form new tumors in other organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis.
When breast cancer cells enter the lymphatic system, they may be found in lymph nodes near the breast.
The cancer cells also may travel to other organs through the lymphatic system or bloodstream. When cancer spreads (metastasizes), the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer. It is treated as breast cancer, not as bone cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor "distant" or metastatic disease.
The breasts sit on the chest muscles that cover the ribs. Each breast is made of 15 to 20 lobes. Lobes contain many smaller lobules. Lobules contain groups of tiny glands that can produce milk. Milk flows from the lobules through thin tubes called ducts to the nipple. The nipple is in the center of a dark area of skin called the areola. Fat fills the spaces between the lobules and ducts.
The breasts also contain lymph vessels. These vessels lead to small, round organs called lymph nodes. Groups of lymph nodes are near the breast in the axilla (underarm), above the collarbone, in the chest behind the breastbone, and in many other parts of the body. The lymph nodes trap bacteria, cancer cells, or other harmful substances.
These pictures show the parts of the breast and the lymph nodes and lymph vessels near the breast.
For those of you interested in risk factors continue reading, otherwise skip to the next bit that interests you....
No one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors often cannot explain why one woman develops breast cancer and another does not. They do know that bumping, bruising, or touching the breast does not cause cancer. And breast cancer is not contagious. You cannot "catch" it from another person.
Research has shown that women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease.
Studies have found the following risk factors for breast cancer:
Age: The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women over 60. This disease is not common before menopause.
Personal history of breast cancer: A woman who had breast cancer in one breast has an increased risk of getting cancer in her other breast.
Family history: A woman's risk of breast cancer is higher if her mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer. The risk is higher if her family member got breast cancer before age 40. Having other relatives with breast cancer (in either her mother's or father's family) may also increase a woman's risk.
Certain breast changes: Some women have cells in the breast that look abnormal under a microscope. Having certain types of abnormal cells (atypical hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS]) increases the risk of breast cancer.
Gene changes: Changes in certain genes increase the risk of breast cancer. These genes include BRCA1, BRCA2, and others. Tests can sometimes show the presence of specific gene changes in families with many women who have had breast cancer. Health care providers may suggest ways to try to reduce the risk of breast cancer, or to improve the detection of this disease in women who have these changes in their genes.
Reproductive and menstrual history: The older a woman is when she has her first child, the greater her chance of breast cancer.
Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who went through menopause after age 55 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who never had children are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who take menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen plus progestin after menopause also appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Large, well-designed studies have shown no link between abortion or miscarriage and breast cancer.
Race: Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than Latina, Asian, or African American women.
Radiation therapy to the chest: Women who had radiation therapy to the chest (including breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of breast cancer. This includes women treated with radiation for Hodgkin's lymphoma. Studies show that the younger a woman was when she received radiation treatment, the higher her risk of breast cancer later in life.
Breast density: Breast tissue may be dense or fatty. Older women whose mammograms (breast x-rays) show more dense tissue are at increased risk of breast cancer.
Taking DES (diethylstilbestrol): DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. (It is no longer given to pregnant women.) Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The possible effects on their daughters are under study.
Being overweight or obese after menopause: The chance of getting breast cancer after menopause is higher in women who are overweight or obese.
Lack of physical activity: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Being active may help reduce risk by preventing weight gain and obesity.
Drinking alcohol: Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
Other possible risk factors are under study. Researchers are studying the effect of diet, physical activity, and genetics on breast cancer risk. They are also studying whether certain substances in the environment can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Many risk factors can be avoided. Others, such as family history, cannot be avoided. Women can help protect themselves by staying away from known risk factors whenever possible.
But it is also important to keep in mind that most women who have known risk factors do not get breast cancer. Also, most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. In fact, except for growing older, most women with breast cancer have no clear risk factors.
If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss this concern with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce your risk and can plan a schedule for checkups.
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