What You Need To Know About Breast Cancer, And The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer, Occurs In Both Men As Well As Women.

Women in the United States get this cancer more than any other type of cancer except skin cancer. The number of new cases has increased every year over the last 30 years.

It is second to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in American women.

However, the good news is deaths have decreased a little bit every year for the past several years.

What Causes Breast Cancer?

While we do not yet know exactly what causes it, we do know that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. Source: American Cancer Society

What Are Your Risk Factors?

  • Gender: Simply being a woman is the main risk factor
  • But, male breast cancer can and does occur.

  • Age: The chance of getting it goes up as a woman ages.
  • Genetic Risk Factors: About 5% to 10% of cases are thought to be linked to inherited changes in certain genes

  • Family History:Risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. The relatives can be from either the mother's or father's side of the family. Having a mother, sister, or daughter with it about doubles a woman's risk. Just as it increases the risk for prostate cancer in men.

    (It's important to note that 70% to 80% of women who get it do Not have a family history.)

  • Personal History Of The Disease: A woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting a new cancer on the other side, or in another part of the same breast
  • Race: White women are slightly more likely to get it than are African-American women. But African American women are more likely to die of this cancer. At least part of the reason seems to be because African-American women have faster growing tumors. Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian women have a lower risk of getting it
  • Having Dense Breast Tissue:Dense breasts can also make it harder for doctors to spot problems on mammograms
  • Menstrual periods: Women who began having periods before age 12 or who went through menopause after the age of 55 have a slightly increased risk.
  • Earlier Breast Radiation: Women who have had radiation treatment to the chest area (as treatment for another cancer) earlier in life have a greatly increased risk of the disease.
  • Treatment With DES: In the past, some pregnant women were given the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) because it was thought to lower their chances of miscarriage
  • Not having children or having them later in life: Women who have not had children, or who had their first child after age 30, have a slightly higher risk
  • Recent Use Of Birth Control Pills: Studies have found that women who are using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk than women who have never used them
  • Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy: also known as hormone replacement therapy or HRT
  • Not Breast-Feeding: Some studies have shown that breast-feeding slightly lowers your risk
  • Alcohol: Use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk. Women who have one drink a day have a very small increased risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol
  • Being Overweight Or Obese: Being overweight or obese is linked to a higher risk, especially for women after menopause, and if the weight gain took place during adulthood
  • Lack Of Exercise: Studies show that exercise reduces risk. The American Cancer Society suggests that you exercise for 45 to 60 minutes 5 or more days a week
Source: American Cancer Society

It's not necessary to have a lump, to have cancer!

What Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)?

This is an uncommon form of rapidly advancing cancer that usually accounts for approximately 1% to 3% of all breast cancer diagnoses.

This cancer causes the breast to appear swollen and inflamed. It will also often cause considerable breast pain.

This inflamed appearance is often caused when cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast, preventing the normal flow of lymph fluid and leading to reddened, swollen and infected looking breast skin, that's why it's called inflammatory breast cancer.

It is now believed it is not caused by infection or inflammation as was once thought.

IBC, An Advanced And Accelerated Form Of Breast Cancer Is Usually Not Detected By Mammograms Or Ultrasounds.

It requires immediate aggressive treatment with chemotherapy prior to surgery and is treated differently than more common types.

This cancer usually grows in nests or sheets, rather than as a confined, solid tumor and therefore can be diffuse throughout the breast with no palpable mass.

The cancer cells clog the lymphatic system just below the skin.

Lymph node involvement is assumed. Increased breast density compared to prior mammograms should be considered suspicious.

Women who have IBC may remain undiagnosed for long periods, even while seeing their doctor to learn the cause of her symptoms.

The Symptoms of IBC Are Similar To Mastitis, a breast infection, or breast cysts. Symptoms include breast pain, and some doctors, not recognizing IBC, will prescribe antibiotics.

If a response to antibiotics is not apparent after a week, a biopsy should be performed or a referral to a breast specialist is warranted.

A large portion of young women with inflammatory breast cancer have their first symptoms during pregnancy or lactation.

The misconception that these young women are at lower risk for cancer, and the fact that IBC is the most aggressive form of breast cancer may result in metastases when the diagnosis is finally made.

One Or More Of The Following Are Typical Symptoms Of IBC:

  • Swelling, usually sudden, sometimes a cup size in a few days
  • Itching
  • Pink, red, or dark colored area (called erythema) sometimes with texture similar to the skin of an orange (called peau d’orange)
  • Ridges and thickened areas of the skin
  • Inverted Nipple
  • Nipple discharge, may or may not be bloody
  • Breast is warm to the touch
  • Breast pain (from a constant ache to stabbing pains)
  • Change in color and texture of the areola

Here are a couple of tips for caregivers and survivors of cancer:

  • Just be there. It is hard on you to be around a sick person; but, your care and concern really does help make the sick person feel better.
  • If the sick person can be in a support group where there are long term survivors, it will help a great deal!

Make Some Dietary Changes.

  • Follow An Inflammation Free Diet, high in omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are found mostly in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines.

  • Take a pharmaceutical grade Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement. It's impossible to get enough from diet alone.
  • Try to avoid junk foods and processed foods such as chips, crackers, and cookies.
  • Stay away from white bread, pasta, rice and sugar as much as possible.
  • Do not use Vegetable oil, Canola oil, or Margarine.
  • All Of The Above Cause Chronic Inflammation.

  • Use olive oil, Pure Virgin Coconut Oil, butter
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use pure manuka honey which is proven to be an anti inflammatory.
  • Try to find a source of grass fed beef
  • which is high in omega 3s.

    Breast Cancer Can Strike At Any Age. Be Informed, So If It Does Happen, You Can Be A Survivor Like I Am.

    What Are Researchers Learning?

    Researchers speculate that omega 3 fatty acids in combination with other nutrients, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, and Coenzyme Q10) may prove to be of particular value for preventing and treating breast cancer, and also breast cysts.

    Researchers at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia, found that lab mice bred to develop breast cancer had a significantly lower risk of the disease if fed the human equivalent of a handful of walnuts a day.

    "It is clear that walnuts contribute to a healthy diet that can reduce breast cancer."

    Studies show that omega 3 fish oil can provide a range of health benefits, from preventing heart disease to lowering male breast cancer risks.

    Chronic Inflammation Is Believed To Contribute To The Development And Spread Of Breast Cancer, And Cancer Survivors With Chronic Inflammation May Be At A Higher Risk Of Recurrence.

    A study led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has identified two proteins in the blood that could become important prognostic markers for long-term survival in breast cancer patients.

    The proteins are associated with chronic inflammation, which is known to contribute to cancer development and progression.

    Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., and colleagues measured the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) in 734 cancer patients at 31 months after diagnosis.

    They found that elevated levels of CRP and SAA are associated with reduced overall survival, regardless of patient age, tumor stage, race and body mass index.

    These associations are strong and they suggest that, in the long-term, elevated levels of inflammatory markers predict a woman's chances of surviving after breast cancer," said Ulrich, a member in the Hutchinson Center's Cancer Prevention Program.

    "It also appears that there may be a threshold effect in that only women in the highest third of inflammation markers had increased mortality."

    Likewise, clinical and experimental data suggest that chronic inflammation promotes mammary tumor development.

    Breast cancer patients have elevated concentrations of CRP before surgery, more so in women with advanced disease, which suggests that CRP may be related to tumor burden or progression.

    A high CRP level is also a marker for heart disease and other diseases caused by chronic inflammation.

    Cancer survivors with chronic inflammation may have an elevated risk of recurrence as a result of the effects of inflammatory processes on cell growth ,or the presence of cancer cells that induce inflammation, according to the study.

    Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

    Medical College of Wisconsin ties breast cancer to inflammation.

    “We know that inflammation can be triggered in response to a number of factors including environmental, hormonal, genetic or infections,” Khanna said.

    “However, research shows that when the condition becomes chronic, it can lead to a great many diseases, including cancers.”

    Other studies have shown that vitamin D stops cancer cells from dividing and promotes cancer cell death.

    Sufficient amounts of vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight has been shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

    The body produces its own vitamin D in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. The vitamin is also found in certain foods, including eggs and fatty fish.

    To reduce your cancer risk. Have your CRP checked, your vitamin D levels checked and follow an anti inflammation diet.

    Information On Breast Cancer From National Institute of Health

    You Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk
    Prostate Cancer
    Hodgkin Lymphoma
    Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

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