Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness in the Month of October
A concerning health condition, breast cancer impacts hundreds of thousands of patients annually in the United States. With October dedicated as the official Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there’s no better time than the present to learn more about the facts and statistics surrounding this medical condition and how routine screenings can help lower your risk.
Much like all types of cancer, breast cancer develops when groups of cells start to divide randomly and at an accelerated rate, as opposed to their typical life cycle and process. Many times, breast cancer initiates in the milk-generating structures (lobules) when genetic material in these cells begins to change. In the event that modified cells reproduce faster than the body can eliminate them, the cells aggregate into a mass to form a tumor.
Tumors in the breast can form in various areas of lobules, as well as in the adipose (fat) tissue that surrounds and protects the milk-producing regions of the breast. In rare cases, cancer of the breast can even spread to distant locations of the body, including the digestive tract. In these instances, the GI specialists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants collaborate closely with other DFW physicians to provide care for cancers that metastasize to gastrointestinal tissues. Receiving an early breast cancer diagnosis is essential to preserving your overall health and wellness.
Breast cancer risk factors
Breast cancer is one of the most widespread types of cancer in women. In fact, one in eight women will develop the disease during their lives. Experts anticipate that over 280,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout 2021, and around 50,000 women will be diagnosed with noninvasive carcinoma in situ breast cancer.
The highest number of women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 55, although breast cancer remains among the chief causes of mortality for women aged 35 – 55. Non-Hispanic African American women and non-Hispanic white women are at the greatest risk for cancer of the breast, but African American women and Latina women have a higher probability of dying due to the condition.
Hereditary factors can also increase the risk of developing this type of cancer. Individuals with relatives who have had cancer of the breast are more apt to experience the condition throughout their lives. Although being female, of older age, or genetics can’t be altered, there are several things that a person can do to help prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Additional breast cancer risk factors are as follows:
Inadequate amounts of vitamin D
Breastfeeding for less than a year
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Radiation treatment earlier than age 30
Chemical contraception and other forms of hormone intake
Becoming pregnant over the age of 30
Lack of exercise
Changing things in your lifestyle as well as scheduling routine exams can help lower your chance of developing breast cancer, especially if any of the above factors apply to your life.
Types of breast cancer
Cancer of the breast is identified as noninvasive carcinoma in situ or malignant (invasive). Cancers that are noninvasive are groupings of cells that tend to grow in one location, splitting abnormally but not mutating outside of their primary role in further ways. This cellular tissue can commonly be removed via surgery and carries a lower probability of recurrence.
Malignant types of tumors are more threatening because they spread tendrils of cells into the nearby area, sometimes even dislodging pieces of themselves and spreading throughout the body. These growths could also produce and give off destructive hormones and other factors that unfavorably affect a person's health.
The categories of breast cancer are as follows:
Lobular carcinoma: Lobular carcinoma begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules). When this kind of tumor is in situ, it is the least harmful form of breast tumor because it is unlikely to grow. Although, it should still be addressed as recommended by a physician given that it could point to the likelihood of more tumors developing as time goes on. In the event that lobular carcinomas are diagnosed as invasive, they are generally more problematic and are commonly hard to detect.
Angiosarcoma: Angiosarcoma is a less common type of cancer that originates in blood vessels, the skin, or lymph vessels.
Phyllodes tumors: Phyllodes tumors are non-malignant tumors that begin in connective tissue fibers.
Ductal carcinoma: Originating in the milk ducts, this type of cancer can be invasive, spreading beyond the milk duct and affecting other tissues of the breast. Ductal carcinoma can also be in situ, meaning it remains in the milk ducts. In the event that it is caught in the very early stage, in situ cancers are commonly easy to address; however, they can become malignant if they are not treated. Approximately 80% of breast cancer cases are invasive ductal carcinomas.
Paget disease of the nipple: Paget disease of the nipple is a type of breast cancer that begins in the areola or nipple area.
About breast cancer screenings
The ideal method of breast cancer prevention, besides living a healthy, active lifestyle, is to schedule breast cancer screenings on a regular basis. These screenings frequently include a clinical breast exam in addition to a mammogram, which is an x-ray of the breast tissue carried out to discover excessively dense tissue within the breast. Routine breast exams are extremely crucial for catching breast tumors in the early stages and creating the greatest possible chance of survival. Patients can also conduct a breast cancer self-exam and should do so on a routine basis. Your physician can provide instructions on how to perform this correctly.
Set up a breast cancer screening appointment
The staff at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants are proud to commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and urge patients in DFW to help protect their overall health by having regular examinations for breast cancer. To determine the ideal methods of identifying the disease and the best way to protect your health, it is vital to undergo regular breast cancer screenings performed by a qualified doctor.