Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019
OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it will be celebrated under the theme ‘Give Hope. Save Lives.’
As usual, men and women locally are being asked to show support for breast cancer survivors and those battling the disease by wearing pink ribbons or clothing.
What Is 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 is made up of 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. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
Kinds of Breast Cancer
The most common kinds of breast cancer are—
- Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells 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 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.
There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget’s disease,External medullary, mucinous, and inflammatory breast cancer.External
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a breast disease that may lead to breast cancer. The cancer cells are only in the lining of the ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.
While the majority of new breast cancers are diagnosed as a result of an abnormality seen on a mammogram or lump, a change in consistency of the breast tissue can also be a warning sign of the disease. For this reason, it is important that any new breast mass, lump or a change in the consistency of the breast tissue should be checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases. If abnormalities are found by a screening mammogram, the following are additional tests that can be used by physicians to diagnose breast cancer:
- Diagnostic Mammogram – a more detailed x-ray of the breast
The actual cause of breast cancer is unknown, but the following risk factors have been linked to the disease:
- Heredity/genetic predisposition – any woman who has a female relative, on maternal side of her family with breast cancer.
- Early commencement of menstruation (before 12 years) and late onset of menopause (after 50 years)
- Having a first baby at a late age (after 30 years) or having no children
Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
- Surgery: An operation where doctors cut out and remove cancer issue.
- Chemotherapy: Drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drug can be pills you take or medicines given through an intravenous (IV) tube, or, sometimes, both.
- Hormonal therapy: Hormonal treatment is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Radiation: The use of high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.
Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society
#69 Dundonald Street,
Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago
P: +1 (868) 226-1221
Barbados Cancer Society
Diagnostic and Services Centre.
Henry’s Lane, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, Barbados.
T: 1 246 436 8888. Fax: 1 246 429 3227.