Breast Cancer Awareness Seminars
The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens has scheduled Breast Cancer Awareness Month seminars all month long.
Dr. Mon Desir will be speaking at the West Bay Awareness Meeting at John Gray Memorial Church Hall on Monday October 24. Click here to download the full Breast Cancer Awareness Month calendar.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells.
US Statistics – Women
- Most common cancer to affect women in the US
- About 1 in 8 women (about 12%) in the US will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- 2015 estimates for women
- 231,840 new cases of invasive breast
- 60,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- 40,290 deaths
- death rates have been decreasing since 1989 — with larger decreases in women under 50.
- Just less than 30% newly diagnosed cancers are breast cancers.
Decreased death rates
- Treatment advances
- Earlier detection
- mammograms, breast U/S, breast MRIs
- Increased awareness
- Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades.
- Rates fell by 7% from 2002 – 2003 alone.
- One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002.
- These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
Prevalence – 2015
- Less than 2.8 Million women with history of Breast cancer
- Those being treated
- Those completed treatment
US Statistics – Men
- 2015 estimates for men
- 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men
Note: A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Represents less than 1% of all breast cancers
- 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men
- Personal history of breast cancer:
- Either in the same breast or the other breast, is higher than if you never had the disease.
- White women > African American women.
- Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.
- Radiation therapy to the chest.
- Having radiation therapy to the chest area as a child or young adult as treatment for another cancer significantly increases breast cancer risk.
- Highest risk if the radiation was given while the breasts were still developing (during the teen years).
- Breast cellular changes.
- Unusual changes in breast cells found during a breast biopsy (removal of suspicious tissue for examination under a microscope) can be a risk factor for developing breast cancer.
- These changes include overgrowth of cells (called hyperplasia) or abnormal (atypical) appearance.
- Exposure to estrogen.
- The female hormone estrogen stimulates breast cell growth, therefore, exposure to estrogen over long periods of time, without any breaks, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Some of these risk factors are not under your control, such as:
- starting menstruation at a young age (before age 12)
- going through menopause at a late age (after 55)
- Exposure to estrogens in the environment
- hormones in meat
- pesticides such as DDT, which produce estrogen-like substances when broken down by the body
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the overall number of menstrual cycles in a woman’s lifetime, and this appears to reduce future breast cancer risk.
- DES exposure.
- Women who took a medication called diethylstilbestrol (DES), used to prevent miscarriage from the 1940s through the 1960s, have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.
- Women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy may have a higher risk of breast cancer as well.
- About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.
- BRCA1 (Breast Cancer gene one) and BRCA2 (Breast Cancer gene two).
Breast Cancer Genes BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Genes code for a protein that serves as a Tumor Suppressor
- Loss of function creates a lifetime risk of breast (82%) and ovarian (44%) cancers
- Most Non-familial breast cancers have BRCA1 in the cytoplasm, not the nucleus where suppression occurs
- Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers.
- Ususal breast cancer risk,1 in 8, or a 12-13%
- Women who have an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (or both) can have up to an 80% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes.
- These abnormal genes cause an increased risk of ovarian, colon, pancreatic, and thyroid cancers, as well as melanoma.
Who may have these genes?
- Blood relatives (grandmothers, mother, sisters, aunts) on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family who had breast cancer diagnosed before age 50.
- There is both breast and ovarian cancer in your family, particularly in a single individual.
- There are other gland-related cancers in your family such as pancreatic, colon, and thyroid cancers.
- Women in your family have had cancer in both breasts.
- You are of Ashkenazi Jewish (Eastern European) heritage.
- You are African American and have been diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 or younger.
- A man in your family has had breast cancer.
- Men or women who are blood relatives of those who carry the mutation
Risk factors you can control!
- Being overweight (BMI > 25)
- Increases risk of recurrence
- Eating unhealthy foods
- Plant based foods
- Foods free of pesticides
- Lack of exercise (4 – 7 hours per week)
- Drinking alcohol
- Exposure to estrogens
- HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
Screening is a must!
- Breast exams
- Monthly self (Breast Self Exams, BSE)
- Annual doctor (Clinical Breast Exams, CBE)
- Mammography is 85% to 90% accurate
- Every other year if over 40 yrs but earlier and more frequent depending on risk factors
- Other Screenings or Diagnostics may be suggested by your physician, including:
- Breast ultrasound scans (May be required for women with large or dense breasts or closer viewing of suspicious lesions)
- Breast biopsy
Signs and Symptoms
- Breast cancer symptoms vary widely
- Skin changes
- No obvious symptoms at all.
- Symptoms that are similar to those of breast cancer may be the result of non-cancerous conditions like infections, cysts or papillomas.