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Breast Cancer; what you need to know

Updated: Nov 14



Breast Cancer; what you need to know


As we observe breast cancer Awareness month, Byon8's mission is to help educate you in detail about breast cancer so that you're better informed to better take of yourself, detect it early and help others who may need to know this.

So don't shy away from sharing this with your friend, sister, mother or colleague, that would be your way of contributing towards beating cancer. #breastcancerawareness


So, what's Breast Cancer?


Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.

Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast comprises three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple.


No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age.


Symptoms

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).

  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.

  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.

  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.

  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.

  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.

  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.


Reducing the risk of breast cancer

  • Keep a healthy weight.

  • Be physically active.

  • Choose not to drink alcohol, or drink alcohol in moderation.

  • If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks and find out if it is right for you.

  • Breastfeed your children, if possible.

  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your risk.

Diagnosing breast cancer

  • Breast ultrasound.

A machine that uses sound waves to make pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.

  • Diagnostic mammogram.

If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.

  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.

  • Biopsy.

This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies (for example, fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, or open biopsy).


Treatment of breast cancer Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread.

  • Surgery.

An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.

  • Chemotherapy.

Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.

  • Hormonal therapy.

Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.

  • Biological therapy.

Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.

  • Radiation therapy.

Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.


Breast Cancer in Men


Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer.

Breast cancer is most often found in women, but men can get breast cancer too. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man.

The most common kinds of breast cancer in men are the same kinds in women—

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma.

The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.

  • Invasive lobular carcinoma.

Cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

Is a breast disease that may lead to invasive breast cancer. The cancer cells are only in the lining of the ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.

Symptoms in men

  • A lump or swelling in the breast.

  • Redness or flaky skin in the breast.

  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.

  • Nipple discharge.

  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.

#breastcancerawarenessmonth

Resources to learn more about Breast Cancer

Source: CDC, WHO

  • https://www.ncikenya.or.ke/

  • https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/understanding-breast-changes

  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis.html

  • https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-treatment-pdq#_148

  • https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/resources/how-to-talk-about-breast-health/

  • https://www.breastcancerkenya.org/about-breast-cancer

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