Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog for a Cause: Breast Cancer Awareness

Do you already see pink ribbons anywhere or receive flyers with pink ribbon symbols on them? Well, it’s because National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fast approaching – October.

It was 2 years ago that I posted Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness because of a fellow blogger and a cancer survivor, Heather Von St James, emailed me about her campaign.

Today, I’m doing this for a friend, my daughter’s godmother – Roselle Pino Casanoba. She is a mom like me. She is diagnosed with Breast Cancer 2 years ago after giving birth with their only daughter, Maxyne. And until today, she is still struggling to fight this illness.
Everyone around her is gathering compassionate prayers for a true miracle that they may get through this trial. As with God’s assistance, this too shall pass!

Furthermore, Roselle and her family are knocking on all your generous hearts to help raise money in GoFundMe for her treatment. To know updates, you can contact her husband TJ Casanoba.

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER:
It is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. It can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is composed of three main parts:
  • The lobules – glands that produce milk.
  • The ducts – tubes that carry milk to the nipple.
  • The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) – surrounds and holds everything together.

Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. Through blood vessels and lymph vessels, cancer can spread outside the breast.

Kinds of breast cancer are:
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ. The most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. This type has not spread, therefore, has a very high cure rate.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma. Cancer cells grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Has the possibility to spread to other parts of the body.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues nearby so they can also spread to other parts of the body.
  • Other less common kinds of breast cancer are:
  • Paget’s disease of the breast involving the skin of the nipple and areola
  • Mucinous carcinoma are formed from mucus-producing cancer cells.
  • Mixed tumors contain a variety of cell types.
  • Medullary carcinoma is an infiltrating breast cancer that presents with well-defined boundaries between the cancerous and noncancerous tissue.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer: This cancer makes the skin of the breast appear red and feel warm (giving it the appearance of an infection).

Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women as 1 out of 13 women in the Philippines get breast cancer. Breast cancer also affects men, rarely but around 340 men are diagnosed each year.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS:
  • Gender- all women are at risk.
  • Getting older- the older the person the higher the risk. More than 80% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50. Men get breast cancer at the age of over 60.
  • Family history- only 5% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have inherited a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Having a first-degree relative or multiple family members on either mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast cancer.
  • Early menstrual period (before age 12) and late menopause after age 55 – being exposed to estrogen hormones for a longer time.
  • Late or no pregnancy. Having the first pregnancy after age 30 and never having a full-term pregnancy.
  • Not being physically active.
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause.
  • Having dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram.
  • Using combination hormone therapy. Taking hormones to replace missing estrogen and progesterone in menopause for more than five years. The hormones that have been shown to increase risk are estrogen and progestin when taken together.
  • Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills).
  • Personal history of breast cancer and certain non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ. Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time.
  • Previous treatment using radiation therapy before age 30.
  • Women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given to some pregnant women in the United States between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Working on night shifts.
These risk factors are not necessarily the causes of breast cancer. Environmental pollution like smoking and contamination or exposure to cancer-causing chemicals cause breast cancer.

HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK:
You can’t alter some factors, especially when it is how the human nature do, but you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by the following simple ways:
  • Keep a healthy weight together with regular exercise (at least four hours a week).
  • Make sure you are not lack of nighttime sleep.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals or food intake that can cause cancer (carcinogens) that interfere with the normal function of the body.
  • If not medically necessary, limit or do not expose to radiation from medical imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans.
  • If prescribed, ask your doctor about the right hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills) for you before taking.
  • Breastfeed your children, if possible.
  • Staying healthy throughout your life will lower the risk of developing cancer. If it occurs, the chances of surviving cancer is improved.

TREATMENT OPTIONS:
This illness is treated in several ways but it depends on the type and stage of breast cancer.
  • Surgery. An operation to cut out cancer tissue.
  • Chemotherapy. Using special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer cells either in a form of pill to take or medicines to be given through the veins.
  • Hormonal therapy. Blocks cancer cells from the hormones they need.
  • Biological therapy. Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
  • Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.

Choosing the right treatment is hard as it incur risks and side effects. It is highly recommended to get a second opinion to help you choose the treatment that is right for you.

Alike my previous cancer awareness, my mission is to reach out. Empower people with knowledge about breast cancer, strengthen people with breast cancer and let them know that they are not alone, and stand up with the breast cancer survivor and inspire them to continue to live on with heads up. If we do this together, we can certainly make a difference!

In addition to that, financial assistance and prayers are greatly appreciated.
Roselle is scheduled for chemotherapy next week. Please help through GoFundMe.

Thank you so much for your kindness!!! I hope this post will help in some way. Hugs!