We know that Breast Cancer affects a lot of women in Singapore. In fact, it is the most common type of cancer for women. Singapore has made numerous efforts to campaign and educate Singaporeans on this disease. However, with the prevalence of fake news like deodorant being linked to Breast cancer; we must ask ourselves, how much do we really know about Breast Cancer?
Here’s 10 things you need to Know about Breast Cancer (part 2):
Breast Cancer Fact #6: You can control some Breast Cancer Risk Factors
There are some factors that cannot be changed – like age, being a woman or genetics. However, making healthy lifestyle choices is a choice:
Drinking less alcohol
- Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly consume each day.
Getting regular exercise/ living an active lifestyle
- Women who are not physically active are at a higher risk of breast cancer: Studies show regular exercise lowers breast cancer risk by 10-20 percent.
There has been studies that show a causality between smoking and breast cancer
Breast Cancer Fact #7: There are complementary therapies for Breast Cancer instead of just one.
There is more than just one type of therapy for Breast Cancer depending on:
- The tumour’s subtype
- Stage of the tumour
- Medical History
- Current state of health
- Menopausal status
- Preference of patient
After an initial surgery, doctors may suggest adjunct therapy. This post-treatment surgery may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and/or hormonal therapy. This is an effort to prevent the spread of cancerous cells.
Breast Cancer Fact #8: Young women can get Breast Cancer
The incidence of breast cancer happening to women under 40 is under 7% of all breast cancer cases. However, it can happen at any age, and thus it is important to be aware of the risk factors.
The following put you at higher risk:
- A personal history of breast cancer or some noncancerous breast diseases
- A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother, daughter, or sister
- History of radiation treatments to the chest before age 40
- Having a specific genetic defect such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
- Getting your period before age 12
Breast Cancer Fact #9: Breast Cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Metastatic Breast cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain. This is often classified as a stage IV Breast Cancer.
The spread of cancer usually happens through one or more of the following steps:
- Cancer cells invade nearby healthy cells. When the healthy cell is taken over, it too replicates more abnormal cells.
- Cancer cells penetrate into the circulatory or lymph system. Cancer cells travel through the walls of nearby lymph vessels or blood vessels.
- Migration through circulation. Cancer cells are carried by the lymph system and the bloodstream to other parts of the body.
- The cells lodge in capillaries. Cancer cells stop moving as they are lodged in capillaries at a distant location and divide and migrate into the surrounding tissue.
- New small tumors – called micrometastases) – grow at the new location.
Breast Cancer Fact #10: You don’t have to go through Breast Cancer alone.
Breast cancer can be a very trying time for anyone to go through. If you need help in coping with life changes, or just need a listening ear, do consider joining the Singapore Cancer Society support group.
How can Jaga-Me Help?
We provide professional cancer care for your loved one. If your loved one needs frequent care, you can engage our services. If you need personalised caregiver training, you can simply ask our nurses! We will assess the condition of the patient and provide you a personalised care plan on how to care for him or her.