October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is the beginning of my month long series of posts related to this cause.
I am by no means an expert in this field but my goal is to share as much important information as I can from those who are.
I am starting off with very basic information that deals with the question:
What is Breast Cancer?
The female breast is made up mainly of milk-producing glands called lobules, ducts which are tiny tubes that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipple and stroma, the fatty tissue and connective tissue surrounding the ducts and lobules, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels.
All parts of the body experience gene controlled growth and rest cycles. When the genes are working as normal, the growth of the cells in the breast are controlled but when they develop an abnormality, they sometimes lose their ability to control these cycles.
In the breast, these uncontrolled cycles develop what is known as a malignant tumor, which is called breast cancer.
Breast cancer may invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. It develops mainly in the cells that line the ducts (ductal cancers) or in the cells that line the lobules (lobular cancers).
C) Dilated section of duct to hold milk
F) Pectoralis major muscle
G) Chest wall/rib cage
A) Normal duct cells B) Basement membrane C) Lumen (center of duct)
While only 5–10% of cancers are caused by gene mutations inherited from your mother OR father, 90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general.
In fact, per Breastcancer.org, the most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender and age.
Tomorrow: Breast Cancer in Men.
Please see the following sources for more in depth information: Cancer.org Breastcancer.org