5 Things a breast cancer survivor wants to tell people
The American Cancer Society approximates that each year over 178,000 American women and 2,000 American men will be identified with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is also the primary cause of death amongst women between 40 and 55 years of age and is the second general reason of death among women which is surpassed only by lung cancer. Luckily, the mortality rate from breast cancer has reduced in recent years with an improved stress on early detection and more effective cures.
A website asked some breast cancer survivors to share some facts for general public and here is some information that a breast cancer survivor wanted others to know.
1 What is breast cancer?
Cancer begins when cells start to grow out of control. Cancer can affect cells in almost any part of the body and it can also spread to other parts of the body. One such cancer is breast cancer, something that 1 in 8 American woman is estimated to be diagnosed with and even men are not safe from it.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells in the area of the breast. This tumor contains a group of cancer cells that have the capability to spread into nearby tissues or and also metastasize to different parts of the body. Breast cancer is common almost completely in women.
A breast cancer survivor was asked to share some information with public and this is what that survivor wants the people to know.
2 It can happen to anyone
Lots of emphasis is given on regular breast examinations or mammograms. The job of mammograms is to notice cancer before indicators occur, but sometimes cancer is entirely missed on a mammogram.
As it is, the most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breasts which is painless but totally noticeable when touched. But according to the American Cancer Society(ACS), there are some other indications namely swelling, pain in the nipple or breast, redness on the breast, roughness of breast skin, or stiffening of the nipple or breast skin; and discharge from the nipple that isn’t breast milk.
The ACS reports that more than 85 percent of women who get diagnosed with breast cancer may have no family history of the disease.
3 Chemo has more side effects than hair loss
Usually the treatment of any cancer is chemo and radiation. But both of them come with serious side effects. Especially chemotherapy, since it involves injecting same cancerous cells into the body in order to kill other cancerous cells.
Usually people suffer from hair loss due to chemo, but other side effects are lack of hunger, you won’t feel the need to eat anything. It also causes severe nausea and vomiting due to body reacting to the foreign cancer cells. Eventually the body’s immune system gets so exhausted so much that weakness and fatigue sets in.
Other side effects are soreness of joints, dryness in mouth and even weight gain.
4 Even men can get breast cancer
Yes, even men can get breast cancer. As you must have studied, that we all evolve from a single cell and it’s after weeks we are gendered in the womb after basically living as female for a long time. That’s the reason men still have nipples and also some breast tissue. And hence can also develop breast cancer.
The most common male breast disorder is known as Gynecomastia. It is not a tumor but somewhat a growth in the amount of a man’s breast tissue. Gynecomastia can seem as a button-like growth under the nipple and areola which can be felt and sometimes even seen.
Gynecomastia is very common in teenage boys because of the changes their body undergoes thanks to puberty and the balance of hormones get disturbed. And the same reason it is common amongst older men.
5 Breast size doesn’t matter
People think that women with either too small breasts or too large breasts have the risk of breast cancer due to amount of tissue involved. But actually the size of your breasts plays no role in your risk for getting diagnosed with breast cancer. And the same can be applied to the detection of cancer using a mammogram.
“As long as the technologist can get the tissue within the plates to compress it and get the image done — which they can almost always do — there shouldn’t be a problem, “says Dr Willow who is aleading expert in breast cancer.
She also says that getting diagnosed with cancer depends on whether or not you or a physician can feel a cancerous tumor in the breast. It also depends on how close the tumor is to the skin, its size and the texture of your skin and the location of the tumor. It has nothing to do with how small or big your breasts are.
6 Mastectomy is not always the best treatment
Mastectomy is the surgery done to remove one or both breasts in order to get rid of the cancerous growth or prevent the cancer from spreading into other parts of the body in women with high risk.
But as found out, it is not the best way to go always during treatment of breast cancer. Since breast cancer does not spread from breast to breast, the risk of getting cancer in your healthy breast goes down with time as the drugs and chemo given to treat the cancer reduces the chance of it making new cancerous cells.
Also for women who are diagnosed with cancer, but do not have a genetic mutation, removal of breast do nothing to prolong the life.