Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2021
As of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
01 | Introduction
Breast cancer refers to a malignant tumor that develops from cells in the breast. Cancer occurs as a result of mutations in genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells. While some cancers develop due to an inherited genetic abnormality, 85-90% of breast cancers are due to abnormalities resulting from the normal aging process.
02 | Stages
The stages of breast cancer are typically expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through 4. These stages are determined by the cancer’s characteristics, including how large it is and whether or not it has hormone receptors. Stage 0 refers to non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location, while stage 4 refers to invasive cancers that have spread to other parts of the body outside the breast.
03 | Symptoms
Breast cancer symptoms can vary widely, so it is important to have anything unusual checked by a doctor. Monthly breast self-exams should be part of a regular health care routine in addition to annual mammograms in women over 40 or at high risk of breast cancer. Some symptoms of breast cancer to look for are:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from surrounding tissue
- Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- A lump in the underarm area
04 | Treatment
Each individual’s treatment can differ depending on the type of breast cancer, the stage, size and a variety of other circumstances. The first step after diagnosis is usually surgery in attempt remove the cancerous cells. Other treatment options can include:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormonal therapy
- Targeted therapy drugs
For more information on breast cancer and supportive resources, please visit https://www.abcf.org