Dr. Mack’s Medical Minute: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Curtis Mack, Copy Chief

October introduces breast cancer awareness, something that affects one in eight women. A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though breast cancer happens usually at an older age, women are prone to get it at a young age as well. Less than 15 percent of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. About five to 10 percent of breast cancer can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. About 85 percent of breast cancer occur in women who have no family history of it. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations. But, the most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender and age.

So what is breast cancer? How is it detrimental to one’s health? Cancer, in general, starts when cells begin to rapidly grow out of control. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor, which means that it can invade surrounding tissues or distant areas of the body. Since cells are ubiquitous in the human body, virtually any cell can become cancerous and affect other parts of the body hence the medical term, metastatic cancer. When the collections of growing cells are not stopped, then it starts to affect the physiology of the body which in terms leads to death. This type of cancer is most common in women but men are susceptible to it as well.

This month raises awareness to this disease. The purpose is to raise funds and get tested. It reminds women to be apprehensive for early detection. Anyone and everyone can be a co-survivor of breast cancer. Support research, education, screening and treatment programs worldwide by purchasing gifts and educational materials from ShopKomen.com.  50 to 80 percent of the purchase price of all products sold will benefit Komen. Or even join a 5k fitness run for the race to cancer. It does not take time-consuming and heroic gestures to be a good co-survivor. Sometimes being there and listening is all that matters. –See more at www.komen.org