WHAT IS BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer is a type of cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas, while those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. Breast cancer occurs in humans and other mammals. While the overwhelming majority of human cases occur in women, male breast cancer can also occur.
The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms. Screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease, such as cancer, in people who do not have any symptoms. Early detection means using an approach that lets breast cancer get diagnosed earlier than otherwise might have occurred. Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis (outlook) of a woman with this disease. Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests. Following the American Cancer Society's guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.
HOW TO DO A HOME BREAST EXAM
Here's what you should look for:
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:
Breast Self-Exam — Step 1
Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: While you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Breast Self-Exam — Steps 2 and 3
Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Breast Self-Exam — Step 4
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
Breast Self-Exam — Step 5
I FOUND A LUMP
There are many causes for lumps in the breast. These range from normal changes in your body to abnormal breast disease. Breast lumps are either benign(noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
CAUSES, INCIDENCE, AND RISK FACTORS
Some lumps are age-dependent. Newborn boys and girls both have lumps of enlarged breast tissue beneath the nipple, which have been stimulated by the mother's hormones. These disappear within a few months of birth.
Beginning as early as age 8, girls may develop tender lumps beneath one or both nipples (frequently only one). These lumps are breast buds and are one of the earlier signs of the beginning of puberty.
It is also important to remember that hormonal changes just prior to menstruation may give a lumpy or granular feeling to the breast tissue.
The discovery of a lump in the breast usually brings the thought of breast cancer immediately to mind. Breast cancer may occur in men and women, but it is much more common in women. For specific information, see the article onbreast cancer.
However, it is important to remember that 80-85% of all breast lumps are benign, especially in women under age 40. Benign causes of breast lumps include:
- Breast infection (breast abscess)
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Fat necrosis (damage to some of the fat tissue within the breast; a fat necrosis mass cannot be distinguished from breast cancer without biopsy)
IF YOU FIND A LUMP GET IT CHECK OUT REGARDLESS!
BREAST CANCER IN MINORITY WOMEN
African-American women are more likely than all other women to die from breast cancer. Their tumors often are found at a later, more advanced stage. So, there are fewer treatment options. Some other reasons for this may include not being able to get health care or not following-up after getting abnormal test results. Other reasons may include distrust of the health care system, the belief that mammograms are not needed, or not having insurance. Also, research has shown that African-American women are more likely to get a form of breast cancer that spreads more quickly.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Latinas. Even though Latinas have lower breast cancer rates than white women, they are more likely than whites to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is more advanced and harder to treat. Yet, even with early diagnosis, Latinas are more likely to have tumors that are larger and harder to treat than white women. They also seem to get breast cancer at younger ages. Researchers do not know why these differences happen.
We do not know how to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as limiting how much alcohol you drink and being physically active.
There also are things you can do to find breast cancer early. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of cancer before a woman has symptoms. Screening can help find breast cancer early when it's most treatable. Two tests are commonly used to screen for breast cancer:
Mammograms. A safe, low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. Starting at age 40, women should have screening mammograms every 1-2 years. Depending on factors such as family history and your general health, your doctor may recommend a mammogram before age 40.
Clinical breast exam (CBE). The doctor looks at and feels the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. Ask your doctor if you need a CBE.
Regular screening is the best way to find breast cancer early in most women. If you are at higher risk you may need mammograms at an earlier age or more often. Or, your doctor might want to use other tests too. Let your doctor know if you find a change in your breast, such as a lump or nipple discharge that isn't breast milk.
BREATHE AND BELIEVE FROM THE FOUNDER
• When you are first diagnosed with breast cancer the first thing you must do is breath and believe.
• All diagnosis of breast cancer are not a death sentence
• Contact your doctor to get a exam.
• Know your family history. Does cancer run in your family?
• Become knowledgeable knowledge is power
• Become and advocate for yourself
• Get involved support groups awareness classes
• Remember the big c control- stay in control of you do your treatments your appointments stay aware of you status but then go live, go laugh and enjoy life. Don’t give cancer 100 of your time!