Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer is malignant cells that form on the breast cell and are visible through an x-ray and felt as a lump. It is common in women and rarely found in men.

Why Pink?

The color pink, which is a very specific shade called “150” pink was decided for its symbolizing of calming, playfulness, quieting, and life-affirming characteristics. Up to date, millions of pink ribbons and clothes are worn across the world to show support for the heroic work of those fighting for a cure.

Types of Breast Cancer

This type of cancer occurs in invasive and non-invasive forms. In the invasive cancer form, the cells break through normal breast tissue barriers and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes.

For the latter, the cells remain in a particular location of the breast, without spreading to surrounding tissue and ducts.

Breast cancer in men

In Kenya, no case of male breast cancer has been diagnosed. This might be caused by the fact that men rarely report any unusualness around their breast tissues.

Worldwide, breast cancer in men accounts for 1% of all cancer diagnosis cases. Lifetime risk is 1 in 833. Many women know how to look out for cancer-related changes whilst there is less awareness for the male case.

Detecting breast cancer in men is easy but on the flip side, cancer may spread quickly to nearby tissues. This is as a result of cancer having less room to grow within the breast.

For these reasons, around 40% of men with breast cancer receive a diagnosis in stage 3 or 4. At this stage, the disease has spread to other parts of the body. As a result, the overall survival rate is lower for men than for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Causes of breast cancer

Some factors could lead to formation of breast cancer.

  • High level of estrogen
  • Genetic reasons
  • Environmental factors
  • Medical factors: if there has been a radiation treatment to the chest area, this is a risk factor.
  • Age: men who receive a diagnosis are of 72 years in average and 50 years for women.
  • Alcohol
  • Exposure to organic solvents or working with steel and rolling mills without proper protective equipment.

Treatment

  • Immunotherapy: the use of medicines to help stimulate a patient’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
  • Drugs that target specific mutations or recurrent breast cancer.
  • Surgery: If it is a cancerous lump with a border or normal breast tissue, wide local excision is done. In cases where the entire breast is at risk, a mastectomy is performed and the entire breast is removed. surgery to the lymph nodes is also another treatment mode. This may be a sentinel lymph node biopsy where the surgeon removes 1 to 3 nodes. Or you may have an axillary clearance, where more nodes are taken out.
  • Radiotherapy: This is the use of high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It is done after surgery.
  • • Chemotherapy: It involves using anti-cancer (cytotoxic) medicine to kill cancer cells. This is done using an intravenous drip, unlike radiotherapy that involves the use of rays.

Care

Dealing with cancer is an immense challenge that cuts across the individual, family, and friends. It creates emotional and practical difficulties. Many women with breast cancer will have to cope with the removal of part or all of a breast, which can be very upsetting.

Instead of stigmatizing them for such causes and others that we may think of, it is good if we support them emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially and any other type of support.

It can also help to talk to someone who’s been through the same thing as you. Many breast cancer charities have groups and forums and staff can also put you in touch with other women who have had cancer treatment.

Testing centers in Kenya

  • Nairobi Hospital
  • Nairobi Women’s Hospital
  • M.P. Shah Hospital
  • Nairobi Hospice
  • Texas Cancer Centre
  • Tenwek Mission Hospital
  • Agha Khan University Hospital
  • Coast General Hospital
  • Kenyatta National Hospital
  • Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital

-Wanjiru.

More: