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A Comprehensive Guide to Breast Cancer Awareness

understanding breast cancer

Breast cancer affects millions of women around the world each year. Awareness, education, and early detection are key weapons in the fight against this disease. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding about breast cancer. Thorek aims to empower women with information about breast cancer and inspire them to take proactive steps in their breast health journey.

Understanding Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops in the breast tissue. While it primarily affects women, it can also occur in men, albeit less frequently. Understanding the basics of breast cancer is crucial:

  1. Types of Breast Cancer:
    • Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Non-invasive cancer confined to the milk ducts.
    • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): The most common form, which begins in the milk ducts and invades surrounding tissues.
    • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): Develops in the lobules and can spread to other parts of the body.
    • Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Lacks estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 receptors.
    • HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: Has excess HER2 receptors, promoting rapid cell growth.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Understanding risk factors is essential in early detection:

  1. Age: Risk increases with age, especially for women over 50.
  2. Family History: A family history of breast cancer can elevate the risk.
  3. Genetic Mutations: BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations significantly increase susceptibility.
  4. Hormone Replacement Therapy: Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy can be a risk factor.
  5. Personal History: A previous breast cancer diagnosis increases the likelihood of recurrence.

Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention

Early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Thorek Memorial Chicago Hospital encourages women to take the following proactive steps:

  1. Self-Exams: Women should learn how to perform regular breast self-exams to detect changes or lumps early.
  2. Clinical Exams: Regular clinical breast exams by healthcare professionals are crucial.
  3. Mammograms: Encourage routine mammograms as recommended by age and risk factors.
    1. Thorek Memorial Hospital provides state-of-the-art Digital Mammography services within our Radiology Department. We are American College of Radiology Accredited in Mammogram, Ultrasound and MRI. And, our hospital is now offering Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), the test recommended for women with dense breast tissue. Call us at 773-975-6775 to schedule yours.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle: Emphasize the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  5. Education: Provide resources and information about breast cancer awareness, symptoms, and risk factors.

In Conclusion

Breast cancer awareness is not just limited to the month of October; it’s a year-round initiative. By continuing to educate, promoting early detection, and offering support, we can empower women in their battle against breast cancer. The more we know and share, the closer we come to a world where breast cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease but a manageable one. Together, we can make a difference.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact your doctor today. Make an appointment here.