BREAST CANCER AWARENESS.

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October is the month of breast cancer awareness; throughout this month we will get to learn a few facts about the disease. Cancer is usually named after the place where it originates from in our bodies. For example, even if breast cancer spreads to the bone, it will not be called bone cancer but will still be referred to as breast cancer. Cancer occurs when some cells begin to grow abnormally by dividing more rapidly than the healthy cells do, and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or a mass. Breast cells may metastasize through the breast to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Breast cancer is most common in women but men can also get it.

A doctor may do a breast examination on the nipple or the skin of the breast to check for any changes. A change seen through a mammogram test may be an indication of the presence of cancer., The other important thing to check is the lymph nodes under the arms and above the collarbone. Swollen or hard lymph nodes might mean the presence of breast cancer. If the signs are pointing at breast cancer, then more confirmatory tests may be done which would include;

Mammogram;

 This is an x-ray of the breast. It is mostly used to find breast cancer at an early stage. However, a test may be conducted as further confirmation. 

  • MRI scan;

Thisuses strong radio and magnetic waves to produce detailed images of internal organs. MRI scans can be used to learn more about the size of cancer cells and look for other tumors in the breast. 

  • Breast ultrasound;

This is a test in which a small wand-like instrument is moved around the breast. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off tissues. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen. Ultrasound can help the doctor see if a lump is a fluid-filled cyst that is not likely to be cancer or if it’s a solid that could result in cancer. A breast biopsy is where a small piece of breast tissue is taken to check for the presence of cancer cells. This is the only sure way to tell for sure if there is breast cancer or not.

If diagnosis reveals the presence of breast cancer, the doctor would want to find out how far it has spread. This is called staging. The stage in which the cancer is helps to determine the treatment method to be used. Cancer can be at stage 0,1,2,3,4. The lower the number, the less the spread of cancer. A higher number, like 4, could mean that cancer has spread beyond the breast.

There are different methods of treating cancer. Chemotherapy, hormone treatment, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy drugs when used, can reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. Surgery and radiotherapy are used in the treatment of breast cancer. Often, doctors use more than one treatment method for breast cancer. The treatment plan will depend on: 

  • The cancer stages.
  • The presence of a specific type of protein is often associated with cancer.
  • The chance that a type of treatment will cure cancer.
  • Age.
  • Other health conditions.

Even after the treatment is over, one will still be required to see their doctor and ensure that they go through all the follow-up visits. There are several other examinations, blood tests, and other tests that the doctor advises to determine if one is cleared of cancer. One will also need to get a mammogram every year, depending on one’s treatment. Other tests may be needed as well, such as a regular bone density test or heart test. Being diagnosed with cancer and dealing with its treatment can present an opportunity to look at your life differently.  

For more information on how to improve your health and live a healthy lifestyle, contact us on 0720260606 or visit our website www.winniespurehealth.co.ke for more healthy recipes. 

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