There are over 17 different kinds of breast
Early Warning Signs to watch for are:
- a lump or thickening in the breast
- discharges of fluid from the nipple
- development of an inverted nipple
- changes in the nipple's color or texture
- swelling of the breast
- dimpling skin of the breast
- a depression in the breast or inward curve
- changes of size, contour or shape of the breast
- the appearance of prominent veins on the breast surface.
- Basically notice changes
and report these to a doctor. Do regular self breast exams. Look in the
mirror. If you feel or think something is wrong then trust your instincts.
Have annual breast examination by a physician or trained health care professional.
Have mammograms (breast x-rays) beginning
at age 40; as reccommended by The Susan Komen Clinic.Don't
wait until you are 50. Read this pathfinder article
on 40's mammograms.
Exactly what is breast cancer?
is similar to other kinds of cancer in that it is caused by the uncontrolled
growth of abnormal cells in the body. I was told by my doctors in 1992 that
there are over seventeen different kinds of breast cancer. One rare kind, which is a very
fast killer, can kill you in a matter of weeks. This I was told by my social
worker at the hospital, who was counseling the husband of a woman, who had
just been diagnosed with breast cancer and then died with days of the diagnosis.
Other types take decades to develop. By now, in 1997, probably even more
kinds have been discovered and identified.
- The breast are designed to produce milk and are made up of both ducts
and lobes. Each breast consists of from 15 to 20 lobes, or segments and
the duct of each lobe opens separately on the nipple. Between the surface
skin and the underlying muscles there is a fatty layer on the front of
the chest where the breast develops. The breast is made up of both glandular
structure embedding in fatty tissue which give the breast form and the
lobes which are separated and supported by strands of fibrous tissue. Infiltrating
ductal carcinoma begins in the breast ducts and is a common form of cancer.
Lobular carcinoma originates in the milk producing glands. With time the
disease develops and breast cancer cells can advance and collect into the
underarm lymph nodes. From their it can spread or metastasize to the lymph
system, lungs, liver, heart, bones or brain. It is spread through blood
or by the lymphatic vessels.
- So exactly what is breast cancer? Cancer is a disease when abnormal
cells in some organ or tissue, in this case the breast, grow out of control
and increase in number. When these cells form a mass it is called a tumor,
which can enlarge locally and invade and destroy normal tissue around it
or it can spread to different body parts, as described above. Some breast
cancer is hormone dependent and test can show if a tumor has hormone receptor
in its cells, in other words, it may be an estrogen receptive positive
cancer. That means the cancer uses the hormone estrogen to grow. Harmone
thearapy can interrupt the flow of estrogen to starve and kill the tumor.
Tamoxifen is the main anti-estrogen drug.
- The following is a quote from the handbook , Facts on Breast Cancer
by the Canadian Cancer Society; " Cancer of the breast can have
all the features which are characteristic of cancers in general. The tumor
usually arises from the cells of milk sacs or milk ducts, although malignant
tumors occasionally arise from the supporting structure. Even a cancer
arising from the sacs or ducts may show variation. It may grow into the
duct canal and signal its presence early with bleeding from the nipple.Alternatively,
it may grow into the breast tissue as a mass which is usually very hard,
but may, with some kinds of tumors, be soft. Cancer of the breast occurs
almost exclusively in women - in fact, it is one hundred times more common
in women than in men."-end quote. About 1 per cent of all breast cancers
are in men.
- More than 10 times as many people are dying of breast cancer in
Canada than from AIDS. Canada ranks second in the world for the highest
incident rate of breast cancer. Statistics Canada data in 1994, states
that there were 17,000 new cases and 5,400 deaths from breast cancer. While
HIV/AIDS deaths in Canada were 1474 during 1992-93. I am unable to find
the actual Statistics Canada rate for Breast Cancer deaths in 1992-93.(
More women died of lung cancer than of breast cancer in 1993. )
- And in the United States, The American Cancer Society estimates
that in 1995, 182,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 46,000
women will die from it. Compare to the Aids death rate of 74,180 cases
in 1995 and approximately 5,000 deaths.
- Yet, watching the Oscars awards on television I noticed
few, if any pink ribbons worn by actors and actresses, but many
red ribbons worn in support of AIDS awareness.
At a gala theater opening in Toronto, I only saw 3 pink ribbons worn, but
over 100 or so red ribbons. My conclusion is that it is more in fashion
to support AIDS/SIDS awareness, rather than
Breast Cancer awareness. I recieved this email , "I have the pink
ribbon on my site and am glad to be promoting such a cause. it sometimes
seems like all people care about is aids and like i never see anyone wear
the pinkribbon in hollywood and stuff, only the red which ticks me off." However, I do not want to slight the loss or deaths caused
by Aids or in
any way offend those with the disease of Aids. I feel that both diseases deserve the funding and resources
to find a cure. I recieved an email
recently saying," I don't think it's right to make people concerned
with the two diseases fight with each other over funding or the limelight-
we are allies, not enemies." Any death from
either disease is no less costly or more acutely felt.
- While Modern Medicine seems good on the attack; which is surgery, radiation
and chemotherapy; alternative medicine seems better on the build up of
the body, through diet , vitamins, food supplements, and exercise.
- by Carol Sutton, written on Valentines Day, February 14, 1997
- edited on April 12, 1997