Breast cancer is like an uninvited guest that can show up in the breast tissue. You know how our bodies are made up of tiny building blocks called cells? Well, sometimes, these cells go a bit haywire and start growing in an abnormal way. When this happens in the breast, it's called breast cancer.
Now, not all breast lumps are cancerous. In fact, most of them are not. Our breasts can have all sorts of lumps and bumps that are harmless. But it's crucial to keep an eye on any changes in your breasts and get them checked out by a doctor just in case.
Breast cancer is more common in women, but men can get it too (although it's much less common). It's not just about age either; younger folks can be affected, but it's more common as we get older.
The good news is that if breast cancer is detected early, it's often very treatable. There are different types of breast cancer, and treatments can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or targeted therapies. The choice of treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer.
In the USA, about 1 in 8 women and roughly 1 in 100 men will face breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is that if we catch it early, we can usually kick it to the curb! That's why groups like BCRF.org and CoppaFeel! are all about educating folks like you on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and encouraging regular checks.
So here is the breakdown…
Primary Breast Cancer
Now, let's talk about primary breast cancer. This is the type that hasn't spread beyond the breast or nearby lymph nodes (those armpit glands). There are different stages of breast cancer, ranging from stage 1 to stage 4. Primary breast cancer stays in these areas and hasn't ventured elsewhere in the body.
But it's important to note that primary breast cancer is different from secondary breast cancer, which is when breast cancer decides to explore other parts of the body. We'll get into that in a bit.
Secondary Breast Cancer:
Secondary breast cancer is when breast cancer spreads from the breast and armpit lymph nodes to other parts of the body and it has a few names: stage 4 cancer, metastatic cancer, metastasis, or metastases.
The most common places breast cancer likes to visit are the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. But here's the deal: even when it spreads, it's still called breast cancer. For example, if it sets up shop in the bones, it's called secondary breast cancer in the bone.
Secondary breast cancer can't be cured, but it can be treated to manage symptoms and slow down its advance. People with secondary breast cancer can still lead healthy lives for quite a while.
Now, let's talk about DCIS, which stands for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. With DCIS, the cancer cells are like, "Let's stay put!" They're contained within the lobule or duct where they originated. So, it's "in situ," meaning it hasn't spread yet.
DCIS might also go by other names like non-invasive breast cancer, pre-invasive breast cancer, or stage 0 breast cancer. Here's the catch: not every DCIS will become invasive breast cancer, and we can't predict which ones will. That's why most cases of DCIS get treated – better safe than sorry, right?
WHEN IN DOUBT, GET CHECKED OUT!
Remember, if you notice any changes in your breasts, don't hesitate to reach out to your GP. The earlier we catch breast cancer, the better the odds of kicking it to the curb. You've got this, and your health is worth it!