It’s October and that means many of us are dusting off our old fall hoodies, drinking pumpkin-spiced lattes, and preparing for the spooktacular events of Halloween. While fall is a great time to be excited for the many seasonal changes that take place, it’s also a time to reflect on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. About one in eight women will develop an invasive form of breast cancer at some point in her life, with more than 260,000 new U.S. cases in 2018 alone. These numbers are even higher if you include non-invasive forms of breast cancer. Although people generally associate awareness with pink ribbons, pink clothes, and pink decorations, men can also develop breast cancer in one percent of cases. While this number is much lower, it still equates to about 2,000 new breast cancer cases in men each year.
Continue reading to learn more about breast cancer and what you can do to alleviate concerns some patients may have about post-operative recovery.
Breast cancer originates inside the cells of breast tissue—often within the milk ducts or lobules. When abnormal cells or clusters of cells begin to grow rapidly and excessively, a tumor can form. Some tumors grow without invading nearby tissue; these are called benign tumors. Benign tumors may not cause any serious health issues and can be removed with a lumpectomy—a surgery that conserves most of the breast. But when cells grow uncontrollably and become malignant (cancerous) they can start to invade and harm nearby tissue and organs. In response to a spreading tumor in the breast, a doctor will likely consider a mastectomy. Certain types of mastectomies will involve the complete removal of one or both breasts. In other cases, the nipples and some tissue may be spared. In situations where the cancer has spread beyond the breasts, a mastectomy may include removal of underarm lymph nodes and pectoral muscle; this is called a radical mastectomy
One of the best first steps you can take in regards to breast cancer awareness is to perform routine self-examinations. To determine if you have breast cancer, you can evaluate yourself by feeling for lumps in the breast area. Although lumps don’t necessarily indicate cancer, they may warrant a visit to the doctor’s office. Other symptoms include bloody discharge from the nipple and transformations in the shape and texture of the breasts. While self-examinations can help keep track of your own health, it’s best to get a formal evaluation by your physician if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
If you want to help with the fight against breast cancer but aren’t sure where to begin, you can start by simply spreading awareness and providing emotional support to affected friends and family members. If possible, adding financial support to charities and/or specific individuals can be the next step. At Biodermis, we do our part by spreading awareness through social media and providing affordable scar management
products for patients who have undergone any number of breast cancer removal surgeries. For those women who have endured a total or partial mastectomy, Biodermis is proud to introduce MIA®
, a line of mastectomy inspired accessories including breast prostheses and bras. MIA® is a brand made by women for women, with a mission centered on helping women achieve their ideal post-surgical silhouette. MIA® donates 2% of sales to breast cancer foundations dedicated to educating and supporting women facing this terrible disease.