Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? The Department of Health and Human Services projects that in 2017, there will be an estimated 252,710 new cases of breast cancer in the United States. Whether or not this population survives their diagnosis depends entirely on how early they detect their cancer before it spreads and grows. Here’s a simple summary of breast cancer and how to preempt its development.
Cancer is a disease that is caused by abnormally escalated growth and division of cells in the human body. When cells become cancerous, they form lumps of tissue known as tumors. Tumors are a unique type of swelling in that they aren’t accompanied by inflammation. This is what makes cancer a particularly dangerous disease. The symptomless nature of early tumors means that people won’t even notice them unless they’re distinctly visible. Tumors can either be benign, or malignant. Benign tumors settle in a single area of the body without spreading to any neighboring tissue. On the other hand, malignant tumors not only grow in one area of the body, they also invade surrounding tissue and regenerate persistently. As indicated by its name, breast cancer is a type of cancer that exhibits these aforementioned characteristics, but is localized to the breasts or chest area. Even though it occurs rarely in men, both men and women can suffer breast cancer.
Normal breast cells become cancerous as a result of mutations in DNA. DNA is a material in each human cell that comprises genetic instructions – including instructions that dictate cell-division. As a result, when DNA in the breast cells mutates, it triggers dysfunctional cell-division which forms tumors. Most breast cancers originate in the mammary glands, which are the ducts that carry milk to the nipples. The lumps which form in other areas of the breast are either referred to as sarcomas or lymphomas. Any presence of breast lumps is cause for alarm, however the majority of them actually tend to be benign. Early detection through regular screenings not only discovers breast cancer before its symptoms can be felt, it increases the odds of successful treatment.
The most effective way to fight breast cancer is to hinder it with early detection. Conversely, early detection can only happen if you make the decision not to ignore the possibility of cancer. Take the time not only to learn your body, but also to take care of it through healthy living and routine medical checkups. If you make a habit of keeping watch for indications of cancer it automatically increases your chances of diagnosing it before it becomes malignant.
- Schedule Regular Screening Tests: Screening Tests are specialized medical examinations that are designed to find or diagnose a given disease. Routine screenings make it possible to detect cancer before it spreads. The earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.
- Schedule Routine Mammograms: Both mammograms and screening tests are essentially medical exams that evaluate patients for cancer, however mammograms are strong enough to detect cancer-related changes in tissue years before tumors start to form.
- Breast Self-Exam: Self-exams are not the most effective way to preventively diagnose cancer, however they still create a chance that you’ll detect a lump that needs treatment. At the very least, breast self-exams allow you to become familiar with your body and pay attention to any unusual symptoms you may notice.
There’s an age-old saying that says prevention is better than cure. This especially stands true when it comes to cancer. Screening tests and mammograms may sound tedious and involving, however their importance can’t possibly be understated. Be proactive and take charge of your health by making the right decisions today. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.