ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREAST CANCER
Did you know? In Pakistan, one out of every nine women has a risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer among females ranks number one among other cancer types in Pakistan with a percentage as high as 19.33%.
2.3 million people were diagnosed with breast cancer globally, in 2020 alone. This means every 14 seconds, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the world.
Earlier in 2022, it was estimated that about 2,710 new cases of invasive men breast cancer will be diagnosed. This shows it is equally harmful to men.
HISTORY OF PINK RIBBON:
Charlotte Halley, who battled breast cancer, initiated the pink ribbon concept. Today, the pink ribbon is more than just a symbol, people all across the world wear pink ribbons during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all year round to honour survivors, remember those who lost fighting against the disease and support those who defeated breast cancer.
October is considered breast cancer awareness month across the world. In the recent past, you must come across local mass media awareness campaigns about breast cancer causes, treatments & symptoms.
TYPES OF BREAST CANCER
The most widespread types of breast cancer are:
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
- Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)
- Invasive Lobular Cancer (ILC)
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
The study suggests, about 1 in 5 new breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Almost of women with early-stage breast cancer can be cured.
DCIS is non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. Simply means the cells that line the ducts change to cancer cells but they do not spread through the walls of the ducts into the nearby breast tissue.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is an early highly treatable cancer, if it is left untreated or undetected, it will widespread across the nearby breast issues.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
IDC is encroaching cancer where abnormal cells begin forming in the milk duct and spread across the surrounding breast issues. It is also a type of cancer that commonly affects men.
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)
LCIS is a cancer type where abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast.
- It does not spread across surrounding breast tissues
- It is highly curable
- In LCIS, there is a higher chance of routing cancer from one breast to another
Invasive Lobular Cancer (ILC)
ILC starts from the breast lobules and surrounds the normal tissues. It also travels from the blood and lymph system (located in various parts like the neck, chest, abdomen, etc.) to other parts of the body.
EARLIEST SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
How someone can distinguish whether she has signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
- Swelling near armpit and chest, affecting lymph nodes
- Change in skin nature e., dimpling.
- Feels pain in breast and nipple
- Nipple turns inward
- Skin irritation
- Pain in any area of the breast
- Nipple discharge, sometimes blood
HOW TO DIAGNOSE BREAST CANCER AT HOME?
Doctors always prescribe additional tests to diagnose the severity of cancer. Sometimes doctors refer them to breast surgeons or specialists. It does not mean they have cancer but helps out in identifying other problems, in case they have any. The tests are:
- Look at your breasts in the mirror. Look for changes in skin appearance, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or orange peel skin.
- Take note of the shape and outline of each breast as well.
- Look to see if the nipple is turning inward.
Experiment raising your arms above your head in the same way.
You must get used to the feel of your breasts. This will help you in finding any changes there. If you do, make contact your doctor immediately.
IS BREAST CANCER CURABLE?
Just like other diseases, breast cancer can also be cured.
Breast cancer treatment can be highly effective, with 90% or greater survival rates achieved when the illness is detected early.
Surgery and radiation therapy are commonly used to control the illness in and surrounding affected areas, and systemic therapy (anti-cancer medications either orally or intravenously) to treat and/or limit the risk of cancer spreading (metastasis).
CAN BREAST CANCER SPREAD FROM ONE PART TO ANOTHER?
Yes, it can spread across other parts of the body, depending on the type of cancer a patient have. Cancer can spread to:
Another fact is that doctors still named it for the area where it began. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lungs, it will be called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.
IMPORTANCE OF BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Awareness about breast cancer is incredibly important. Mass media campaigns by commercial or nonprofit organizations have helped society in many ways.
A huge influx of awareness mobilizes the world to do more research on it, and design more feasible, and cost-effective medication or treatment for the affected ones.
Here we have several ideas which we can opt to do cancer awareness:
- Wear Pink – it’s an international symbol of breast cancer.
- Volunteer yourself – join hands with local or national organizations that are spreading awareness about breast cancer.
- Help any cancer patient – give funds to the hospitals providing breast cancer treatment.
- Create your fundraiser – mobilize your local commute and make them active participators.
We know that it’s a global issue, and there’s a need to put in a collective effort. We all must take a pledge that we can at least generate breast cancer awareness among our circle that will create a snowball effect, and make other people aware.