Information on Breast Cancer a Key Part of Awareness Campaigns


Last week, Augustana held an annual awareness campaign about breast cancer. To provide people with more information about this common cancer, Nurse Navigator Alysa Bartman is happy to share some interesting points about the importance of having this campaign.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. Like other types of cancer, breast cancer begins when there is an abnormal cell growth in the breast. This proliferation of the cells may cause lumps or masses called tumors. A non-cancerous tumor is often known as benign, while a cancerous one is called malignant. Breast cancer is usually not life-threatening.

How many types of breast cancer exist?

Scientists divide breast cancer into two categories, non-invasive and invasive. Breast cancer starts in the cells that line the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma), although some starts in the cells that line the lobule (lobular carcinoma). This primary cancer is called “carcinoma in situ’, which means that the cancer cells are only in the layer of cells they begin in and have not spread to surrounding tissues. Invasive breast cancer occurs when the ductal or lobular carcinoma has affected other body parts.

Crishia Dela Paz/The Dagligtale
Members from the women’s volleyball team held their annual bake sale Oct. 10 to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Crishia Dela Paz/The Dagligtale

What are the causes of breast cancer?

According to Alberta Health Services, a significant factor for developing breast cancer is gender. Women are more likely to have breast cancer than men, especially when they get older. Although people may think that having a family member with breast cancer increases the risk of diagnosis, 80% of women with breast cancer have no family history. Women who previously had cancer in one breast might also develop cancer in the other breast. The cumulative risks multiply in those who use alcohol or are obese after menopause. Those who have menstrual history, long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and reproductive history can experience breast cancer.

Are there some early symptoms to notice?

Breast cancer in the early stage may be difficult to detect even with a mammography, so be aware of the small changes in your breast. A lump in the breast or armpit, nipple discharge, red swollen breast, dimpling or thickening of the breast skin might be signs of breast cancer.

“Prevention is better than cure”

Treatments of breast cancer depend on the different types and stages. These treatments are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. However, a healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly a better approach. By being physically active, limiting the use of addictive substances, and managing weight, everybody can reduce the risk of having breast cancer. A good suggestion is having a Mediterranean diet because it contains fish and healthy vegetables such as legumes. For those who use combined estrogen-progestin HRT, speaking with a health care provider is recommended.

What is special about this campaign?

This campaign is crucial in helping people develop a better understanding of breast cancer, its causes and treatments, and what to expect if they realize that something is going on with their bodies. The campaign also encourages young adults to take care of themselves. By having a healthy diet, doing more exercise, and staying away from alcohol, everyone can lessen their risks of breast cancer.


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