Breast Cancer, Part 1

Breast Cancer

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According to the South African National Cancer Registry, one in 29 women in South Africa will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Early detection saves lives and that is why I am continuing the campaign through November.

What is the difference between Normal Cells vs. Cancer Cells?

Normal body cells grow, divide into new cells, and die in an orderly way. In an adult, most cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells or to repair injuries.

Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cells become cancerous due to damage to our DNA. This damage may be inherited or occur within ones’ lifetime.

DNA is in every cell and directs all cellular actions. In a normal cell, when DNA gets damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need. These new cells will all have the same damaged DNA as the first cell does.

Different types of cancer can behave very differently. For example, lung cancer and breast cancer are very different diseases. They grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. That is why people with cancer need treatment that is aimed at their particular kind of cancer.

The difference between Benign VS Cancerous Tumors

Not all tumors are cancerous. Tumors that aren’t cancer are called benign. Benign tumors can still cause problems – they can grow very large and press on healthy organs and tissues. But they cannot grow into other tissues. Because they can’t invade, they also can’t spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). These tumors are almost never life threatening.

What is the difference between Invasive and Non-Invasive breast cancer?

Invasive breast cancer – the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue. With this type of cancer, the abnormal cells can reach the lymph nodes, and eventually make their way to other organs (metastasis), such as the bones, liver or lungs.

The abnormal (cancer) cells can travel through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system to other parts of the body; either early on in the disease, or later.

Non-invasive breast cancer – this is when the cancer is still inside its place of origin and has not broken out. Lobular carcinoma in situ is when the cancer is still inside the lobules, while ductal carcinoma in situ is when they are still inside the milk ducts.

“In situ” means “in its original place”. Sometimes, this type of breast cancer is called “pre-cancerous”; this means that although the abnormal cells have not spread outside their place of origin, they can eventually develop into invasive breast cancer.

What are the Breast Reconstruction options?

Remember, I shall be updating the blog with more information throughout the month, you can also find me on Facebook

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