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Health Education

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What is breast cancer?

The breast is made up of supportive fibrous tissue, fatty tissue,  lobes of glandular tissue with ducts to eject milk to the exterior.  Breast cancer is defined when normal cells of the breast begin to grow and divide at an unregulated pace. Consequently, these cancer cells can become malignant where they can invade and spread (metastasize) to different areas of the body. The most common breast malignancy accounting for 80% is “Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma.” Most are unilateral and begin in the ducts of the breast. Overtime, these tumors become stony hard mass as it increases in size and may even metastasize.  The second most common breast malignancy accounting for 10% of breast cancer is “Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma.”  These are also unilateral, begin in the milk producing glands ( lobules) and have  the potential to be invasive; However, this type of breast cancer has a better prognosis than ductal carcinoma. The most common places breast cancer spreads to are the lungs and bone. Both men and women can get breast cancer, although the chances of men getting breast cancer are rare.
Breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer diagnosed in women in western industrialized countries.  An estimated 182,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to occur among woman in united states during 2000. After increasing by appoximately 4% per year in 1980s, breast cancer incidence rates in woman have leveled off in the 1990s to approximately 110 cases per 100,000 women. The average age is 64 years old and risk increases with age.
Estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States in 2013:
  • New cases: 232,340 (female); 2,240 (male)
  • Deaths: 39,620 (female); 410 (male)

Information provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov

The numbers change drastically in lower income communities. Why are caucasian women the highest diagnosed with breast cancer; yet, African American women are dying at a more alarming rate? Breast caner does not see a race, gender, origin, or religion, but knowledge is power especially for those who are financially unstable.

Breast cancer mortality rates by state provided by the (CDC) Center for Disease Control.

Breast cancer rates by race and ethnicity provided by the CDC.

Take your focus off false hope of a cure and focus on prevention!

What are risks of breast cancer?

  • Based on current breast cancer incidence rates, experts estimate that about one out of every eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life.
  • The strongest risk factor for breast cancer is age. A woman’s risk of developing this disease increases as she gets older. In African American women, age is not the highest risk factor.
  • Other factors can also increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, including
    • 1) Genetically susceptible background ( family history of breast cancer, chromosomal anomalies)
    • 2) Prolonged estrogen stimulation
      • Early menarche/late menopause
      • Nulliparity (never being pregnant)
      • Postmenopausal obesity
      • Hormonal replacement therapy
    • 3) Endometrial Cancer, ionizing radiation, smoking cigarettes
    • 4) High dense density ( determined by mammogram)

Factors that decrease the risk for breast cancer?

  • Breast-feeding: Natural flow of breast milk actually inhibits estrogen secretion
  • Exercise: Excess body fat secrets estrogen which increases a female sexual organs to prolong exposure of this hormone. A greater exposure of means leads to  constant stimulation of cells in the breast by estrogen which can result in these cells becoming cancerous.

Clinical Findings

  • Painless mass in the breast.  Usually  in the upper outer quadrant
  • Skin or nipple retraction
  • Painless enlarged lymph nodes in the axillary area
  • Hepatomegaly ( enlarged liver), bone pain if metastasis has occurred
  • Breast skin with dimpling like an orange (peak d’orange)
  • Bloody nipple discharge
What are screening options to detect breast cancer?
1. Mammograms
  • Primarily a screening test
  • Detects non palpable breast masses (detects 80-90%)
  • Does not distinguish benign from malignant lesions
  • Screening should start at age 40, every year; earlier if individual is high risk
2.  Thermography
Mammograms expose the body to more radiology and we would like to provide a service that can be painless, no radiology exposure, and be able to detect tumors without compression of the breasts. For more information on thermography please click here.
Genetic Testing
 a) Autosomal dominant BRAC1 and BRAC2  association
  • Breast and ovaries are frequently prophylactically removed

b) Li-Fraumen multicancer syndrome

  • Inactivation of TP53 suppressor gene.  Usually  this syndrome consists of multiple tumors such as sarcomas, leukemia, and breast carcinomas

c) Other gene relationships

  •  RAS oncogene, ERBB2, RB suppressor gene.

What are the different types of breast cancer?

There are several types of breast cancer, including:

  • Ductal carcinoma. This is the most common type and it begins in the lining of the ducts.
  • Lobular carcinoma. This is second common type and it occurs in the lobules (milk-producing glands).
  • Paget disease. This is a rare form of breast cancer that begins in the glands in or under the skin. It is often characterized by inflamed, red patches on the skin. Because Paget disease often originates from breast duct cancer, the eczema-like cancer usually appears around the nipple.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer. This is a rare form of invasive breast cancer. Usually there is no lump or tumor; rather this cancer makes the skin of the breast look red and feel warm. The breast skin also looks thick and pitted, much like an orange peel.
  • Triple negative breast cancers. These are breast cancers (most often invasive ductal carcinomas) that do not have estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and do not have an excess of the HER2 protein on the cancer cell surfaces. These breast cancers tend to occur more often in younger women and in African-American women. They tend to grow and spread faster than most other types of breast cancer.

Types of breast cancer, in alphabetical order, are:

Adenocarcinoma (adenocystic carcinoma), Angiosarcoma, Ductal carcinoma in situ, (DCIS)Infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma, (IDC)Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma, (ILC)Inflammatory breast cancer, Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) (also called lobular neoplasia), Medullary carcinoma, Metaplastic carcinoma, Mixed tumors, Mucinous carcinoma, Paget disease of the nipple, Papillary carcinoma, Phyllodes tumor (also spelled phylloides), Triple-negative breast cancer, Tubular carcinoma

This information was provided by  the Georgia Regents Health System.

Breast Cancer and Metastasis 

The breast is categorized in four quadrants. The outer quadrant is the most common area where breast cancer is found and from here, spreads to axillary lymph nodes. Inner quadrants cancers spread to internal mammary nodes. Extranodal metastasis  includes lungs, bones, liver, brain, and ovaries.



Breast cancer in men

  1. Risk Factors
    1. Inactivation of BRCA2 suppressor gene
    2. Klinefelter’s syndrome ( XXY): Chromosomal anomaly of extra X sex chromosome.  Men usually are characterized by female secondary sex characteristics including gynecomastia ( breast development) and female distribution of pubic hair.
  2. Clinical findings: Bloody discharge from nipples and hard mass
  3. Usually have poor prognosis

I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, who can I reach out to for immediate guidance and help? Email contact@IWillSurviveInc.org for even more resources. Fill out an application today!

Breast Cancer Hotlines

911- for emergencies.

Cancer Information Service 1-800-4-CANCER (TTY 1-800-332-8615)
A free service provided by the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Information Service is a public hotline to interpret and explain cancer research findings in clear and understandable language. Call Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm ET to speak with a live person; recorded information about cancer is available 24 hours per day.

The American Cancer Society 1-800-ACS-2345
The American Cancer Society is a volunteer advocacy organization that works to eliminate cancer through prevention, lifesaving treatment, and research, education, and direct service. Their 24-hour hotline provides information on all types of cancer from trained ACS staff.

Breast Cancer Network of Strength 1-800-221-2141 (En Espanol 1-800-986-9505)
The Breast Cancer Network of Strength’s YourShoes Support Center is a 24/7 hotline staffed exclusively by breast cancer survivors. These peer counselors match the caller with another survivor who has gone through a similar experience, and also provides matches for family and friends of those fighting breast cancer.

What can you do for the prevention of breast cancer?

  • Do not wait until you get breast cancer. Start now by NOT wearing deodorant with aluminum (as antiperspirant) and parabens. (Tom’s of Maine and some Arm & Hammer products are safe)
  • Do not wait to find ways to relieve stress. Pick up stress relief habits now.
  • Do not wait to cut back on alcohol intake and quit smoking.
  • Do not wait to start eating healthy. Did you know kale greens is the number one cancer fighting foods? When was the last time you had some?
  • Do try to stay away from artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors.
  • Do not continue eating excess processed foods and foods with GMO’s, BHT’s, and other carcinogens.
  • What are carcinogens? – cancer causing substances that are placed in many foods that the FDA approves in the United States of America. Carcinogens are placed in hygiene products as well.
  • Do start your monthly breast self exams. Talk to your doctor about any abnormalities.
  • Do not wait to let oxygen flow through your body. Deep breathing exercises help as well as picking up a good workout plan. Reach for 30 minutes of activity a day.
  • Do breastfeed! Your baby needs the nutrients to continue on a healthy life.
  • Do not drink bottled water after it heats up. BPA is released into your water with heat. BPA exhibits hormone – like properties that raise concern about its suitability in consumer products and food containers. Canada is the first country to declare BPA as a toxic substance. (Bisphenol A)
  • Do read the back of the ingredients on your food. Artificial sweeteners in sodas and many products that say “sugar free” may be dangerous for you. (aspartame)
  • If you choose to work with chemotherapy and radiology treatments, ask your doctor questions. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion and understand everything presented to you. ASK!
  • If you are recently diagnosed with breast cancer- immediately stop eating meats and dairy products for an optimal healing process and increase your water intake even more than the norm (half your body weight in ounces).

You are not perfect, but you can try to prevent all diseases from taking over your body by taking care of yourself and your family. Educate yourself! Living in a pharmaceutical country is a little more difficult because you really have to be careful. -I Will Survive, Inc.


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