The National Breast Cancer Institute in the US estimates that there are 232,670 new cases of female breast cancer each year. This leads to the death of 40,000 women. Here are five facts about breast cancer that you may not know.
1. There are many different types of breast cancer. The actual definition of breast cancer is cancer that begins in the cells and tissue of the breast. However, breast cancer is a general term that includes a number of different types of cancer, each of which requires individual treatments and has different prognoses.
2. A lump in the breast does not always indicate breast cancer. Other possible causes of breast lumps include fibrosis, cysts or benign tumors. If you do find a lump in your breast, you should always seek medical advice.
3. Breast cancer doesn’t always cause lumps in the breast. It may sometimes appear in other forms, such as a thickening of the skin on the breast or the underarm area, redness, swelling or warmth of the breast, or changes in breast size or shape.
4. Men can develop breast cancer too. Although women make up the larger proportion of people who develop breast cancer.
5. Most women survive breast cancer. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is frightening, but in most cases, women survive and go on to lead healthy lives.
What Are Your Options After Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?
Being told that you have breast cancer can be a very frightening and stressful experience. There are a number of important factors that you need to know before you consider your options after diagnosis. These include:
• What type of cancer you have
• If cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or other organs
• What stage your cancer is at
• What your chance of survival is
After diagnosis, your doctor will answer any questions and discuss treatment plan options that are right for you. Here are some questions that you may want to ask:
• What is the risk percentage that cancer will return after treatment?
• What are the options if this happens?
• What will the treatment involve?
• What is the cost of treatment and will it be covered by my insurance?
• How long will the course of treatment last and where will it take place?
• How will treatment affect my normal day-to-day activities?
• Are there any side effects/after effects of treatment?
Your breast cancer team will help you to develop a treatment and after-care plan that will suit your individual needs. They will explain everything to you and your loved ones every step of the way.
Getting Breast Cancer Support
Whether you are a breast cancer patient or you are caring for a family member or loved one, you will find support from other patients, caregivers and survivors invaluable. Based in New York, but supporting women all over the U.S., Share Cancer Support offers online and telephone support to women who are dealing with breast and ovarian cancer. The website is packed with useful information about cancer and cancer treatments. They offer support services in both English and Spanish. You can also find inspiration by reading these Breast Cancer Survivor Stories.
Why Breast Cancer Support is Important
Support groups are a valuable resource for breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Sometimes they vary in their focus, for example, some may provide tips on coping with treatments, while others may focus encouraging people to share their feeling and on providing emotional support. Other groups may focus on complementary therapies such as relaxation, aromatherapy, and meditation techniques. Each type of group can play an important role in the recovery process. The type of group you choose will depend on what type of support you think would benefit you most, the group’s location and how often then meet. If you are having difficulty finding a support group in your local area, an online support group can be a good alternative.
Although it is uncertain whether support groups can improve your chance of breast cancer survival, one thing is for sure: survivors who do have support are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
If you are concerned about a lump in your breast, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Be persistent and make sure your doctor makes a thorough examination particularly if you are a young woman; sometimes doctors pay less attention to lumps in young women’s breasts.
About the Author
Beth Kling is the Communications Director at SHARE Cancer Support, a non-profit organization founded in 1976 that is dedicated to building a network and community for women affected by breast and ovarian cancer.