Cancer is a word, not a life sentence.



It all happened when Margaret was taking a shower. She ran her hand over her right breast again and felt something. She dismissed it almost immediately and went about her day normally, doing her daily chores. But somewhere, in the back of her head, there was a nagging fear. Paranoid, she did another breast examination. It was there. The lump that she felt on her breast had not gone away. Not wasting any time, she went to the doctor for a screening. After the initial tests, her fears were confirmed. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, and needed to do a mastectomy. Being brave, Margaret underwent the surgery, and survived. Today, she is in remission after a period of 5 years.



Early detection means early treatment and the difference between life and death.


October is dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness month.  The priority for those who seek to get involved and contribute, is to provide educational resources for women. Knowledge is the key and early detection saves lives. Breast cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in women, and mammograms play a vital role in detecting cancer as early as possible.

All women need to be aware of what risk factors they should look out for in the fight against breast cancer. While some risks, like age, genetic mutations and family history cannot be changed, there are certain risk factors that can be changed in order to minimize the risk of getting breast cancer:

  • Physical Activity. Women who are physically active have a lower risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Older women who are overweight have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Taking hormone pills. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy (those that include both estrogen and progesterone) taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives (birth control pills) also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
  • Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
  • Alcohol consumption. Women who consume a larger consumption of alcohol are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.


    The good news is - a diagnosis of
     breast cancer is no longer a death sentence, and the treatment is no longer more painful than the disease. Today, women with breast cancer live longer and better. Many are completely cured thanks to cutting edge therapies, and the development of more effective, less toxic drugs. Over the years, medical researchers have learned that breast cancers, like people, are unidentical. By discovering how tumours differ from person to person, they have begun creating treatments that seek out and destroy specific types of cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells alone.

     

    Check out our other article to find out more about what a mammogram is and how it can help against breast cancer.


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