According to the USA National Breast Cancer Foundation: "one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It's also the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women and is the second leading cause of death among women." October is international breast cancer awareness month. It's been designed to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds.
What is Breast Cancer?
Cancer is made up of abnormal cells, which invade and infect healthy ones. It occurs when the cell production process goes wrong and unwanted or unnecessary cells are produced and when the body doesn't know what to do with them they come together and form a growth or lump r tumour. With breast cancer all this happens on the breasts.
As a woman of a certain age, I'm becoming more and more aware of my body and taking better care of myself. Of course, it would have been better if I'd eaten better, exercised more and slept better in in my 20s but it's better late than never.
These are some of the genetic factors of the disease that caught my eye:
1. It occurs 100 times more in men than in women.
2. Women who had early puberty (under 12) or late menopause are at greater risk.
3. Women diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast have a higher risk of it being diagnosed in the other breast.
4. Two out of three women are diagnosed after the age of 50.
5. Genetic predisposure dictates that women whose blood relatives (parents, siblings or grand parents) were diagnosed with the disease are at increased risk of it developing in them.
There are then the avoidable risk factors such as a lack of exercise, poor diet, obesity and alcohol indulgence. These are all factors each of us can control and change. Sadly, taking better care of yourself (though I personally encourage it either way) and not having any of the genetic factors still does not exempt one from breast cancer.
Most health practitioners encourage early detection as the best fighting change women currently have. This is a guide on how to perform a breast exam at home.
Image and facts found here.