October marks worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with statistics showing that one in eight women are likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, many of us have been directly or indirectly affected by the disease.
One of our top priorities is educating women on what they can do to be proactive with their breast health. Knowledge and early detection saves lives. Amwaj Polyclinic is offering a Free Breast Scan with our Specialist Gynecologist/Endocrinologist Dr. Lusine Kazaryan on a number of dates in October. Call us to book your appointment: 044221331!
A Global Burden
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body. Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.
What Causes Cancer To Develop?
Cancer begins in the cells which are the basic building blocks that make up tissue. Tissue is found in the breast and other parts of the body. Sometimes, the process of cell growth goes wrong and new cells form when the body doesn’t need them and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. When this occurs, a build up of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth, or tumor.
Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors develop in the breast. These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body. When cancer cells travel to other parts of the body and begin damaging other tissues and organs, the process is called metastasis.
When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Good News About Breast Cancer Trends
In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.