2 What is Breast Cancer?Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are two main types of breast cancer:Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.Lobular carcinoma starts in the parts of the breast, called lobules, that produce milk.In rare cases, breast cancer can start in other areas of the breast.
3 Causes of Breast Cancer Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.Risk factors include:Age and gender.Family history of breast cancer.Genes.Menstrual cycle.Obesity.Childbirth.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT).Radiation.Alcohol use.
4 Symptoms of Breast Cancer Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:Breast lump or lump in the armpit.Change in the size, shape, or feel of the breast or nipple.Fluid coming from the nipple; may be bloody, clear to yellow, or green.Symptoms of advanced breast cancer may include:Bone pain.Breast pain or discomfort.Skin ulcers.Swelling of one arm.Weight loss.
5 Exams and TestsTests used to diagnose and monitor patients with breast cancer may include:Breast MRI.Breast Ultrasound.Breast biopsy.CT scan.PET scan.Mammography.Sentinal lymph node biopsy.
6 How to Treat Breast Cancer Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV. The higher the staging number, the more advanced the cancer.For women with stage I, II, or III breast cancer, the main goal is to treat the cancer and prevent it from returning (curing).For women with stage IV cancer, the goal is to improve symptoms and help them live longer. In most cases, stage IV breast cancer cannot be cured.Stage 0: Lumpectomy plus radiation or mastectomy is the standard treatment.Stage I and II: Lumpectomy plus radiation or mastectomy with some sort of lymph node removal is the standard treatment. Hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy may also be recommended following surgery.Stage III: Treatment involves surgery, possibly followed by chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy.Stage IV: Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
7 How to Treat Breast Cancer After treatment, some women will continue to take medications such as Tamoxifen for a period of time. All women will continue to have blood tests, mammograms, and other tests after treatment.Women who have had a mastectomy may have reconstructive breast surgery, either at the same time as the mastectomy or later.
8 Aunt Mary’s Journey with Breast Cancer The story started eight years ago, when a lump appeared in Aunt Mary’s right breast. As Aunt Mary said “this lump felt hard and had uneven edges”. Aunt Mary didn’t care about the lump and ignored it because it did not hurt. Later on she started seeing a yellow fluid coming out from the nipple, and she also ignored it and thought that it might be something normal.Two years later Aunt Mary started experiencing bone pain, breast pain and lost so much weight.Aunt Mary couldn’t take the bone pain anymore and decided to go to the doctor to give her some pain killers.When the doctor knew about all the symptoms Aunt Mary had, he asked her about a family history of breast cancer, and her answer was “yes doctor, my mother died from breast cancer.”
9 Aunt Mary’s Journey with Breast Cancer, Continued. The doctor performed some physical exams on her breast, neck and the chest area, and then told her that “With one first degree relative such as mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer almost doubles”.The doctor asked Aunt Mary to get some tests done such as; MRI, Ultrasound, breast biopsy, CT scan, PET scan and Mammography.According to the results of the tests aunt Mary have done; she had stage II breast cancer.The diagnosis of Aunt Mary’s breast cancer had a deep effect on the entire family, especially her husband and her two kids. Her kid’s daily routines were interrupted and they were very scared about their mother.
10 Aunt Mary’s Journey with Breast Cancer, Continued. Not only my aunt’s household members were affected by her illness; but we were all stressed and depressed. Even though the doctor explained to us that getting a breast cancer doesn’t mean we are going to lose the patient; the death of my grandmother because of the breast cancer was always scaring us.The author mentioned in the article The Effects of Breast Cancer on the Family that, “The NIH reports that adult family members who have experienced a loss due to cancer in the past are the most likely to develop depression”.Aunt Mary gave up and she was very depressed and she thought that she will not live much longer.
11 Aunt Mary’s Journey with Breast Cancer, Continued. Because the lump size was large, Aunt Mary needed a surgery called mastectomy, in this surgery her entire breast is removed.After the surgery she did radiation therapy to kill cancer cells that were missed during the surgery.After Aunt Mary was done with the treatment, she continued to take medications, and had more blood tests, mammograms, and other tests.The results for these tests were that she is cured and there are no more cancer cells in her breast or her body.
12 Aunt Mary’s Breast Cancer Journey There were two major things that helped Aunt Mary to overcome her fear of illness and heal faster.Reading the breast cancer success stories over the internet and seeing that there are many survival experiences with people who had breast cancer and they healed completely, was one of the two things that gave Aunt Mary so much hope in healing.Church was another thing that helped her so much to have more faith and hope which helped her to heal.
13 Breast Cancer Foundations There are many Breast Cancer Foundations, Such as:National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.American Breast Cancer Foundation.Cure Breast Cancer Foundation.Breast Cancer Research Foundation.Libby Ross Foundation