Breast Cancer Awareness Month observed in October
As readers of the Daily Mail may have noticed by our recently color-changed masthead (now pink), the month of October is internationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each October, various breast cancer charities work to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. A major focus during the month is placed on the importance of early screening.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was founded in October 1985 by the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries. First, in 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. Then, it wasn't until 1993, when Evelyn Lauder of Estιe Lauder Co. founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, that the pink ribbon was adopted as the symbol for breast cancer.
Breast cancer can occur in both women and men, but is far more common in women. It is generalized as cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, "after skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States." Medical professionals agree that early detection is key to effective treatment of the disease.
Some early warning signs of breast cancer include swelling of all or part of a breast (even if a lump isn't felt); skin irritation or dimpling; pain in the breast or nipple; turning inward of the nipple (nipple retraction); redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin; and discharge.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most common types of breast cancer include:
Ductal carcinoma in situ (also known as intraductal carcinoma) is a non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.
Invasive (infiltrating) breast cancer are cancers that have spread into surrounding breast tissue. There are many different kinds of invasive breast cancer, the most common being invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.
Less common types of breast cancer include:
Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of invasive breast cancer that accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancers.
Paget disease of the nipple starts in the breast ducts and spreads.
Phyllodes tumors are rare breast tumors. They develop in the connective tissue of the breast. Most are benign, but there are others that are malignant.
Angiosarcoma starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. It can involve the breast tissue or the skin of the breast.
Breast cancer can be diagnosed through multiple tests, including a breast exam, mammogram, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and biopsy. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast and are commonly used. If an abnormality is detected on a screening mammogram, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic mammogram. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images and determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
A biopsy is the only definitive way to make a diagnosis of breast cancer. During a biopsy, a core of tissue is extracted from the suspicious area with a specialized needle. This sample is then sent to a lab for analysis where it is determined whether the cells are cancerous.
An MRI machine uses a magnet and radio waves to make pictures of the interior of the breast. Before the MRI, the patient receives an injection of dye and the testing doesn't use radiation to create the images.
Locally, there are individuals who raise money to those in need who are battling cancer. The Vernon County Cancer Relief is one such organization that raises funds for individuals who are facing hardships because of a cancer diagnosis. This includes those who are diagnosed with any type of cancer not just breast cancer. The Vernon County Cancer Relief is a non-profit, charitable, tax exempt organization which was founded Sept. 23, 1987, through the efforts of Jody Renwick and the Finis M. Moss Charitable Trust. VCCR is dedicated to individual and family support for those in Vernon County who are receiving cancer treatments.
Currently, the Daily Mail has a pink rack of newspapers in front of its office at 131 S. Cedar St., and all proceeds from this rack will be donated directly to the Vernon County Relay for Life.
Those who are undergoing cancer treatments or know somebody that is that may need assistance with gas vouchers, food vouchers, utility assistance or other needs on an individual basis, are encouraged to submit an application to the Vernon County Cancer Relief, P.O. Box 24, Nevada, MO. 64772.