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The abominable illness: A fight for life

By Jazzi Black
On October 24, 2013

 Many myths like "Breast cancer is contagious" or "Antiperspirants and deodorants cause cancer" float through communities worldwide as we fight the second leading cause of death in women next to heart disease, breast cancer. "Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant or cancerous cells form in the tissues of the breast," says National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.
Breast cancer can be dated as far back as 1600 BC as being documented in Egyptian writings. The Women's Forum said that there was a paper called the Edwin Smith Papyrus that shows the earliest records of breast cancer by describing it as a "cauterization (burning) of the breast on the spot where the tumor was palpable."
Divided into two broad categories the Cancer Treatment Centers of America tell us about noninvasive or in sutu, and invasive or infiltrating, that hold the umbrella for the various types of breast cancer. The earliest form of this awful disease is intraductal carcinoma also known as DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ. This means that cells that lining the ducts have changed to look like cancer cells. DCIS is considered a pre-cancer because some cases can go on to become invasive cancers. The invasive or infiltrating ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer, starts in a milk duct of the breast then breaks through the wall of the duct and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast.
Invasive lobular carcinoma or ILC, starts in the milk-producing glands or lobules. It can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body as well. The difference between DCIS and invasive cancer is that the cells have not invaded through the walls of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. About 1 invasive breast cancer in 10 is an ILC. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be harder to detect by a mammogram than invasive ductal carcinom as said by the American Cancer Society.
When examining the female body, particularly the breast, there are ways to recognize symptoms. One of the first and familiar warnings is a lump in the breast or underarm that emerges after a female's menstrual cycle.
These lumps are usually painless, although some may cause a prickly sensation. Web MD also explains that there is a swelling in the armpit, pain or tenderness in the breast, or a noticeable flattening or indentation on the breast. Any change in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of the breast could be a sign of breast cancer developing. A reddish, pitted surface like the skin of an orange could be a sign of advanced breast cancer, a change in the nipple, such as a nipple retraction, dimpling, itching, burning sensation, or scaly rash, and unusual discharge from the nipple that may be clear, bloody, or another color are all signals that should be highly observant.
Because there is breast tissue in men, cancerous cells can also be produced in them as well. Gynecomastia is the most common male breast disorder that is not a tumor but instead an "increase in the amount of a man's breast tissue" as said by the American Cancer Society. This illness is common among teenage boys because the balance of hormones in the body changes during adolescence, and in older men due to changes in their hormone balance as they age. Males may take a high risk consuming drugs used to treat ulcers and heartburn, high blood pressure, and heart failure that could possibly cause gynecomastia.
Although this critical condition deems hopeless, there are many treatment options to help reduce growth and spreading of the cancerous cells. Stanford Medicine said that there are two primary surgeries which are a mastectomy, a breast removal, and lumpectomy, breast conservation. Therapeutic sessions such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapies are all also ways to receive treatment throughout breast cancer.
It is estimated that more than 230,00o women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 of those women will lose their lives fighting this deadly battle
Death rates have been decreasing since about 1989, and even more during the new millennium in 2000 in women under the age of 50. Among ethnicities, African-American women are less likely to develop breast cancer than white women under the age of 45. Hispanic, Asians, and Native-Americans however have a much slightly lower risk of developing and dying from the disease according to
Breast cancer awareness is a critical topic that has even become a worldwide-celebrated month in October for more than 25 years with the pink ribbon as its symbolism. The ribbon is used to represent awareness and support. The idea of the pink ribbon began to flourish when the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation handed out pink visors at the popular Race for the Cure running race in the late 1990s. There are over 1,200 organizations aggressively fighting and together they raise about $1.7 billion annually for research, treatments, and therapy.
Many people are affected by this epedimic whether it is relational or a friend of a friend. Make your voice heard and show your support by raising awareness about this awful illness and join the fight to save a life. It doesn't end after the month of October; the fight for breast cancer won't end until every life is saved. For more information on breast cancer awareness visit or . It is also wise to visit the local health center, and  

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