October is here, we wear pink head to toes, and even hair. Today women from all over the country get together to fight against breast cancer. The pink ribbon represents all the efforts organisations like Breast Cancer Care make to support women during and after the treatment.
Breast Cancer Care wants to connect, inform and collaborate with women. But, do we know enough about cancer and how to support someone going through the treatment?
It’s hard to know everything about breast cancer, a good place to start is here . There you can find super useful information. As a woman I look bewildered at the statistics. Fortunately, things are a lot better now than 40 years ago and hopefully things will be even better in a near future.
Yet, not matter how much women know about breast cancer still having to deal with the illness is devastating for many women and their families. Likely, thousand of organisations work day and night to give women hope and support. What’s more, the follow up patients receive after the treatment is also super important.
What we know about breast cancer?
According to the statistics 1 in 8 women are likely to suffer breast cancer at some point in their lives. And 80% of cancer occurs on women over the age of 50. Although breast cancer most commonly affects women, 350 men are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.
What are the main causes of breast cancer?
While there is not one main factor that determines the risk of getting cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic there are various risk factors such as genetic predisposition or a family history of breast cancer. Also, being female, increasing age, obesity, lack of exercise, drinking alcohol, becoming pregnant after the age of 30 or having never being pregnant are very high risk factors.
Yet, many times doctors can’t find the real causes of cancer. And that’s why early diagnosis is crucial to increase the chances of a successful treatment.
How the cancer develops?
Our bodies are made of millions of cells, and each cells contain DNA. Quite often, in order to repair old cells or replace old ones, the body makes new cells. So, a cell splitting into two, makes a new set of DNA instructions. This process can happen several times, and at the same time.
But things start to go wrong when the DNA hasn’t been copied properly into the new cells. Often, the cell dies, but sometimes this kind of cells survive, and when they do they can behave strangely, splitting into abnormal cells at a fast rate causing tumours.
Not all tumours are dangerous. Benign tumours don’t need treatment. But, when a malign tumour starts to invade neighbouring tissues, they could be cancerous and must be treated. If left untreated it can grow bigger affecting surrounding breast tissue. As we say before this is the reason why early detection is super important to treat cancer.
But no all are bad news, as technology moves forwards, diverse treatments to cure cancer are making their entrance.
Recently, Doctors from the University of Manchester have tried a new drug combination-Tyverb and Herceptin-in patients diagnosed with cancer and the drug stopped the grow of new cancer cells, at a incredibly fast rate. Which is a really good news for the scientific community and women. Of course there are thousand of scientific teams across the globe testing and trying new combinations. This show the great dedication doctors and researchers put into finding a cure.
When to see the doctor?
If you find a lump or a slightly change in your breast make an appointment with the doctor as soon as you can. Sometimes even if you have a recent mammogram, but not sure about the results, a double check won’t make any harm .
Where can I find more information?
There are several organisations in the UK specialised in rising awareness and supporting families through the process. You can also volunteer or participate in their events, fairs, meetings or shops around the country.
Medicine is reaching new frontiers and hopefully one day cancer will be a thing of the past. In the meantime many organisations have to make sure the numbers go down one step at a time.
Here are some useful websites: