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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Going Pink



I decided to join the other bloggers to Go Pink today. Personally, I have a good friend who survived breast cancer, but lost all of her sisters and her mother to it, and my best friend since I was 6-months-old's mother is a recent survivor. So I'm dedicating this post to each of them.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for this post or what I would have time to do. I finished Hazel's and my Halloween costumes just in time to go to the Halloween party at her school today. So I visited Susan G. Komen for the Cure, American Cancer Society and more to get some facts, statistics, etc. I source each thing I have borrowed from the sites to pass the information on to you. Each of the sites I checked out were full of information so if you want more details, please visit them!

Well after gathering all this information to share with you, I sat down to relax and began to needle felt an angel for the angel swap I'm participating in. Instead of an angel for the swap, however, I made a breast cancer guardian angel.

Facts and Statistics
Women
In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. women [31]:
  • There will be 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer (includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors).
  • There will be 39,520 breast cancer deaths.  

Age and breast cancer

All women are at risk for breast cancer. The two most important risk factors for breast cancer are:
  • Being female
  • Getting older
The risk of getting breast cancer increases as you age. Most breast cancers and breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older. Until more is known about preventing breast cancer, early detection and effective treatment offer the best defense against breast cancer mortality.
No matter your age, you should become familiar with how your breasts look and feel. If you notice any changes, see your health care provider right away. Learn about the warnings signs of breast cancer.

Men
Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. men [31]:
  •  There will be 2,140 new cases of breast cancer.  
  •  There will be 450 breast cancer deaths. 
Rates of breast cancer incidence (new cases, including new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors) and mortality (the rate of death) are much lower among men than among women [31]. For example, in 2007 (most recent data available) [32]:



 Ok, so what I take from that is as we get older we are at higher risk (especially if you are female). Hmmm...that is all of us women.

Symptoms
Early breast cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it can change how the breast looks or feels. The common changes include:
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • Discharge (fluid) from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin at the center of the breast). The skin may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.
You should see your health care provider about any symptom that does not go away. Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Another health problem could cause them. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your health care provider so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated.
Source: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/breast/page5

Risk Factors:
Studies have found the following risk factors for breast cancer:
  • Age: The chance of getting breast cancer increases as you get older. Most women are over 60 years old when they are diagnosed.
  • Personal health history: Having breast cancer in one breast increases your risk of getting cancer in your other breast. Also, having certain types of abnormal breast cells (atypical hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS], or ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS]) increases the risk of invasive breast cancer. These conditions are found with a breast biopsy.
  • Family health history: Your risk of breast cancer is higher if your mother, father, sister, or daughter had breast cancer. The risk is even higher if your family member had breast cancer before age 50. Having other relatives (in either your mother's or father's family) with breast cancer or ovarian cancer may also increase your risk.
  • Certain genome changes: Changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, substantially increase the risk of breast cancer. Tests can sometimes show the presence of these rare, specific gene changes in families with many women who have had breast cancer, and 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 genetic changes. Also, researchers have found specific regions on certain chromosomes that are linked to the risk of breast cancer. If a woman has a genetic change in one or more of these regions, the risk of breast cancer may be slightly increased. The risk increases with the number of genetic changes that are found. Although these genetic changes are more common among women than BRCA1 or BRCA2, the risk of breast cancer is far lower.
  • Radiation therapy to the chest: Women who had radiation therapy to the chest (including the breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of breast cancer. This includes women treated with radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma. Studies show that the younger a woman was when she received radiation treatment, the higher her risk of breast cancer later in life.
  • Reproductive and menstrual history:
    • The older a woman is when she has her first child, the greater her chance of breast cancer.
    • Women who never had children are at an increased risk 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 take menopausal hormone therapy for many years have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than in African American/black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • Breast density: Breasts appear on a mammogram (breast x-ray) as having areas of dense and fatty (not dense) tissue. Women whose mammograms show a larger area of dense tissue than the mammograms of women of the same age are at increased risk of breast cancer.
  • History of taking DES: 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.
  • Drinking alcohol: Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.

Hmmm....things we can control...our weight, our diet, our physical activity and drinking alcohol. Here are some more interesting factors to consider:

Can a healthy diet help prevent breast cancer?

A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.

Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?

There is an increased risk of breast cancer for women under 35 who have been using birth control pills for more than ten years.

How often should I do a breast self-exam (BSE)?

Give yourself a breast self-exam at least once a month. Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes in size, a lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, or a discharge from the nipple. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. However, 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, or not cancerous.

How does menstrual and reproductive history affect breast cancer risks?

Women who began their menstrual cycles before age 12, have no children, or had their first child at 30 or older, or began menopause after 55 are at a higher risk.

How Often Should I Go To My Doctor For A Checkup?

You should have a physical every year. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see the doctor immediately.

What Kind Of Impact Does Stress Have On Breast Cancer?

Although some studies have shown that factors such as traumatic events and losses can alter immune system functions, these studies have not provided any evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress and breast cancer. An area currently being studied is whether or not stress reduction can improve immune response and slow progression in women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Source: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/About-Breast-Cancer/FAQs.aspx

Do we know what causes breast cancer?

Many risk factors may increase your chance of developing breast cancer, but it is not yet known exactly how some of these risk factors cause cells to become cancerous. Hormones seem to play a role in many cases of breast cancer, but just how this happens is not fully understood.
Certain changes in DNA can cause normal breast cells to become cancerous. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes — the instructions for how our cells function. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than how we look.
Some genes contain instructions for controlling when our cells grow, divide, and die. Certain genes that speed up cell division are called oncogenes. Others that slow down cell division, or cause cells to die at the right time, are called tumor suppressor genes. Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations (changes) that “turn on” oncogenes or “turn off” tumor suppressor genes.

Inherited gene mutations

Certain inherited DNA changes can increase the risk for developing cancer and are responsible for the cancers that run in some families. For example, the BRCA genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) are tumor suppressor genes. Mutations in these genes can be inherited from parents. When they are mutated, they no longer suppress abnormal growth, and cancer is more likely to develop.
Women have already begun to benefit from advances in understanding the genetic basis of breast cancer. Genetic testing can identify some women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tumor suppressor genes (or less commonly in other genes such as PTEN or p53). These women can then take steps to reduce their risk of developing breast cancers and to monitor changes in their breasts carefully to find cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. These are discussed in the following sections of this document.

Acquired gene mutations

Most DNA mutations related to breast cancer occur in single breast cells during a woman's life rather than having been inherited. These acquired mutations of oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes may result from other factors, like radiation or cancer-causing chemicals. But so far, the causes of most acquired mutations that could lead to breast cancer remain unknown. Most breast cancers have several gene mutations that are acquired.
Tests to spot acquired gene changes may help doctors more accurately predict the outlook for some women with breast cancer. For example, tests can identify women whose breast cancer cells have too many copies of the HER2 oncogene. These cancers tend to be more aggressive. At the same time, drugs have been developed that specifically target these cancers.

And that is where I'm going to end this. If you need more information please visit the sourced sites and visit your doctor. Also check out The ArtsyGirl Connection for more blogs Going Pink today!

3 comments:

  1. Thank YOU so much for joining in today Carrie, its such a special day and it means so much to me to have you take a minute and Go Pink for such a wonderful cause.. YOU REMAIN AWESOME always..This is really brilliant and great information.. LOVE how much you compiled for the day. WOW.. thanks again..TY so much.. xoxox.. Marilyn..Wishing you an amazing weekend.. : ))

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  2. Loved this post! I'm surprised at how much I didn't know. Thanks.

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