- Maya Angelou
Cancer, the dreaded “C” word. It has become such an epidemic in our society that people are loath to even mention its name. The many faces of this disease challenge an individual to show their fighting spirit and will to live. It’s every woman’s nightmare to feel a lump in her breast and face the chilling prospect that it could be cancer. While nine out of 10 people referred to a specialist with possible signs don’t actually have the disease, 46,000 people every year find out that they have. If you are a breast cancer survivor or patient or you have a family member or friend who is, then hopefully this month’s focus on Breast Cancer Awareness will help you find inspiration and additional strength to deal with Breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous disease— differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Obviously no woman wants to receive this diagnosis, but hearing the words “breast cancer” doesn’t always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts, and finding hope.
Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.
Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Approximately 1,700 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to that in women, including mammography.
Symptoms of breast cancer may include:
• A lump in the breast
• A change in size, shape, or feel of the breast
• Fluid (called “discharge”) from a nipple
You have a better chance of surviving breast cancer if it’s found early. Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get a mammogram.
MEN AND BREAST CANCER
Did you know? Breast cancer can occur in men. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 1700 men are diagnosed each year.
Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.
Radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen, and a family history of breast cancer can increase a man’s risk of developing breast cancer. Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for breast cancer in men may include the following:
• Being exposed to radiation.
• Having a disease related to high levels of estrogen in the body, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or Klinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder).
• Having several female relatives who have had breast cancer.
Male breast cancer is sometimes caused by inherited gene mutations (changes). The genes in cells carry the hereditary information that is received from a person’s parents. Hereditary breast cancer makes up approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some altered genes related to breast cancer are more common in certain ethnic groups. Men who have an altered gene related to breast cancer have an increased risk of developing this disease.
Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt. Lumps and other symptoms may be caused by male breast cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be seen if changes in the breasts are noticed.
Tests that examine the breasts are used to detect (find) and diagnose breast cancer in men.
Survival for men with breast cancer is similar to survival for women with breast cancer.
Survival for men with breast cancer is similar to that for women with breast cancer when their stage at diagnosis is the same. Breast cancer in men, however, is often diagnosed at a later stage. Cancer found at a later stage may be less likely to be cured.
Male breast cancer is real and can be just as dangerous as breast cancer in women. Because men often wait to report the symptoms of male breast cancer, the disease is more likely to have spread, leaving many men with less hope that treatment will lead to recovery.
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
The outlook for men with breast cancer was once thought to be worse than that for women, but recent studies have not found this to be true. In fact, men and women with the same stage of breast cancer have a fairly similar outlook for survival.
DID YOU KNOW?
• About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
• In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.
• About 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2010. Less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men.
• About 39,840 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer.
• For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
• Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. More than 1 in 4 cancers in women (about 28%) are breast cancer.
• Compared to African American women, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer, but less likely to die of it. One possible reason is that African American women tend to have more aggressive tumors, although why this is the case is not known. Women of other ethnic backgrounds — Asian, Hispanic, and Native American — have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than white women and African American women. • In 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
• A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer.
• About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
• The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
• African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the US for most cancers.
• Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women. An estimated 26,840 new cases of breast cancer are expected to occur among African American women in 2011. Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among African American women, surpassed only by lung cancer. An estimated 6,040 deaths from breast cancer are expected to occur among African American women in 2011.
• Overall, about 1 in 2 Hispanic men and 1 in 3 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The lifetime probability of dying from cancer is 1 in 5 Hispanic men and about 1 in 6 Hispanic women. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Hispanics.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
An Early Detection Plan enables you to be proactive about your health by reminding you to perform routine breast self-exams and to schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms, depending on your age and health history.
An Early Breast Cancer Detection Plan should include:
• Beginning at age 20: Performing breast self-exams and looking for any signs of change.
• Age 20 to 39: Scheduling clinical breast exams every three years.
• By the age of 40: Having a baseline mammogram and annual clinical breast exams.
• Ages 40 to 49: Having a mammogram every one to two years depending on previous findings.
• Ages 50 and older: Having a mammogram every year.
• All Ages: — Record personal exams, mammograms and doctors’ appointments on a calendar or in a detailed file. — Maintain a healthy weight, following a low-fat diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption.
This month, the City of West Park is proud to recognize and support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month—a time to promote regular mammograms and increase early detection of breast cancer. On October 19th we will “Paint the City Pink”. Residents are asked to show support of those battling cancer and those who have lost their lives to cancer by wearing pink. Wear pink to work, have your children wear something pink to school, display something pink around your house or your business then come to our Commission meeting with your display of pink. Remember to contact me at City Hall with your ideas, suggestions or concerns. I represent you and appreciate your input into the continued success of our beloved city. I can be reached at (954) 889-4164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.