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Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without the normal control. Cancerous tumors in the breast usually grow very slowly so that by the time one is large enough to be felt as a lump, it may have been growing for as long as ten years.
Basic Breast Cancer Facts
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. According to the Cancer statistics, it’s estimated that in 2020 about 268,900 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and about 2,672 new cases in men. About 62,930 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer). About 41,710 women will die from breast cancer this year. If you’re worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to get as much information as possible.
Please read some of the booklets from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). There is a booklet for each stage of BC. Here is the link. These booklets are extremely worthwhile.
About 80 percent of breast cancers originate in the mammary ducts, while about 20 percent arise in the lobules. (Lobules – Spherical-shaped sacs in the breast that produce milk.) Look at the reliable links section below to start your education.
Help us fund free or low cost mammograms to catch Breast Cancer in its earliest stages. Click on the donate now button above and in the comments section indicate that the funds are for mammograms.
- Info on Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, but deadly disease. Doctors say it is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are quite different from typical breast cancer. Please watch these informational videos. It is a silent Killer! Additionally there is a new IBC organization that has some useful info – EraseIBC. Here is the Link for the Erase IBC organization.
- PARP Inhibitors
This recent news affects those with heriditary cancer.PARP inhibitors may be especially helpful for patients with hereditary breast cancer. People who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations are at very high risk for developing breast cancer. Healthy BRCA genes can suppress tumor formation, but mutated BRCA genes are powerless against cancer cells. PARP inhibitors may exploit the weakness inherent in cancer cells with mutated BRCA. One possible use for PARP inhibitors may be prevention of hereditary breast cancer. Perhaps PARP inhibitors will become a preventative treatment for high-risk women and would make prophylactic mastectomies obsolete. If a PARP inhibitor is added to chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, researchers hope cancer cells that have resisted anticancer drugs will be become vulnerable to fatal DNA damage. In some cases, a PARP inhibitor may be used alone, rather than in conjunction with chemo and radiation. Even better news is that PARP inhibitors do not appear to affect normal, non-cancerous cells. That means fewer side effects for patients and faster recovery from treatments.
Newly Diagnosed? Start your education here.
Vital to helping you understand your condition and manage your care is keeping track of important phone numbers, treatment history, side effects, and laboratory results, such as your complete blood count (CBC). Use these tools to help organize this information so you can be an active participant in your cancer care. Keep them handy for use at home and bring them along to your doctor visits and other medical appointments.
- Important Contacts
- Health and treatment history
- Copies of reports – Blood tests, Pathology reports, etc
Understanding Cancer – An Introduction
The word cancer refers to changes in the body’s cells that cause them to grow out of control. These cells can grow very fast and spread, eventually crowding out normal cells and damaging entire systems of the body.
Reliable Links and Resources
National Comprehensive Cancer Network www.nccn.com
Read this First! This link is a ‘goldmine’ of great information. There are PDF files with nearly everything you need to know about breast Cancer by stage. It is well organized and answers the many questions that any patient would have after getting a Cancer Diagnosis. If you have been told that there may be an abnormality in your last mammogram and you need to get a diagnostic mammo, this is a great place to find info and understand the next decisions and discussions.
What you can find here:
One of the many Breast Cancer information sites. Information is updated regularly and the site is somewhat easy to navigate once you find the best place to start. The best way to navigate the site is to start with the section labeled Symptoms and Diagnosis – then go through the information item by item until you find what you are looking for. They provide information on treatment, support groups, current research and some very basic terms and descriptions. Some of the online booklets can also be quite helpful.
What you can find here:
One of the many general Cancer information sites. Information is updated regularly and dated. There is a very high level overview of each stage. The site requires you to click on many links to get at specific data.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has reliable information to get you started with your understanding of treatment options for Breast Cancer. Click here for a link.
Also on this site is a very useful link to the National Cancer Institutes Treatment Option Overview. Click here to go directly to the page.