How Breast Cancer Affects The Body
There's a few old sayings that certainly ring true when you find yourself in an inescapable predicament such as breast cancer. "It's what's on the inside that counts" and "Beauty is only skin deep". The major battles are fought in your mind and your spirit so that's where you need to be undefeated. Changes on the outside are going to come. You need to be who you are on the inside.
Cancer is caused by changes to certain genes that will then alter the way cells function. Once cancer has made your body its residence, it will undoubtedly affect a person emotionally, psychologically, and physically. There are variations from person to person depending on pre-existing conditions, detection time, and types of treatment administered. Some women are faced with the harsh reality of having one or both breasts removed depending on the size and location of the lumps found. You may find that your skin becomes discolored and loses its vibrancy. Many chemotherapy patients find that their weight has a tendency to yo-yo up and down sporadically. Breast cancer treatment must be customized to your particular body and physical history.
After determining your type of cancer and going through the rigors of treatment, it may be difficult at times to recognize the reflection in the mirror because of the effects cancer has on the body. You may step out of the shower one day and see mastectomy scars, radiation burns, incision scars, and wonder "what happened to me"?
Breast cancer and the high priced treatment associated with it can also cause hair loss. Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells. Hair follicles are some of the fastest growing cells in the body dividing every 23 to 72 hours. Of all random side-effects, you now have to be bald too. A woman losing all of her hair can be just as emotionally difficult as losing a breast. You can hide a missing breast but you can't hide the fact that you have no hair on your head.
Depending on the stage of cancer, if chemotherapy is needed, chances of having children in the future is greatly reduced due to the likelihood of ovarian failure. The culprit in all of these changes is not solely the presence of breast cancer but is also attributed to the potent side effects of modern medicine including fatigue, pain, and menopausal symptoms.
How Early Can Breast Cancer Be Detected
Raising breast cancer awareness through fundraising, education and the breast cancer society is key to increasing the overall number of cancer survivors. Early detection is key to being treated for the disease and becoming a survivor. Early cancer screenings and knowing the warning signs to look out for is a message that many women are not hearing. A mammogram is the most important screening test you can take for breast cancer detection. This x-ray of the breast can detect the cancer up to two years before the lump can be felt by you or your doctor. It's a good idea to begin breast check self-exams of yourself early on in your 20's to get in the habit and to become familiar with yourself so you can notice any breast cysts or changes that may occur. Women over 40 should have a mammogram once a year to rule out any signs of breast cancer.
I'm "Perfectly" Healthy, Can I Get Breast Cancer
Cancer in general is already the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that come into play in determining your likelihood of developing breast cancer. Age plays a large part as chances increase as you age. Over 70 percent of women with breast cancer are over 50 years old. Cancer genetics are factors because if your mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer before their 40th birthday, your own chances of getting it increases. If your genetic makeup has a certain mutation such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, then your chances increase. Childbearing history and menstrual history can also determine how great at risk you are. The older you are when you have your first child, the greater at risk overall you are. If you menstruate early in life (before 12), go through menopause late (after 59), or never have children then your chances of getting breast cancer increases.
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- Just when you think breast cancer can't happen to you, it happens.
- Within these chronicles find hope and inspiration when most would give up.
- Follow a clear and easy to follow time-line from breast cancer diagnosis to every step thereafter.
- Myths and misconceptions about breast cancer are debunked and replaced with real-life testimony.