What Information is Available on Breast Cancer Staging?
October is the time when people start putting out halloween decorations like skulls, and witches. But this month is when there is something scarier: breast cancer. And unfortunately, this disease does not get any rewards for scaring people. About 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Chances are you may know someone, or a few people who have received breast cancer diagnoses. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for residents of the United States, and even 1% of its victims are men. After heart disease, breast cancer kills is the leading cause of death in women. Continue to read this article to find out what information is available on breast cancer staging.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast Cancer happens when there is a genetic mutation in the breast tissue. Genetic mutations are often a mistake in the transcription of the DNA during cell division. When a cell with a mutation rapidly divides, it produces other cells that have the same mutation. A group of these calls forms a tumor. Eventually, a tumor will form angiogenesis pathways. This is when it makes its own network of blood vessels to steal nutrients from other parts of the body to go to the tumor. The symptoms of breast cancer include a breast lump, inverted nipple, changes in the skin, peeling, change in shape, and redness. Sometimes people get breast cancer from plain bad luck, or their environment – including substances that are carcinogenic that they put in their body. However, the majority of people get breast cancer from faulty genes. The two genes that are responsible for breast cancer are on the BRAC genes.
There are usually many different treatment options available depending on your breast cancer stage, and what your physician recommends. The most common treatment option is surgery. A surgeon will enter into the affected area and excise the tumor, and if there are any, the network of surrounding tissue that is affected. Sometimes, the surgeon may remove one breast, called a mastectomy, and sometimes they may remove both, called a double mastectomy. And even then, your physician may recommend getting radiation to kill any surviving cells. Immunotherapy may also be a therapy as well as certain chemotherapy treatments.
Why Are Cancers Categorized in to Stages?
Cancers are organized into stages so that there is a scientific understanding and a patient understanding of the progress of their disease. The lower the stages indicates the less impact the cancer is having currently on the body, whereas the higher stages, stage 3 and 4 means that the cancer has spread to organs around the body, and the prognosis is looking bleaker.
Stage 0 is when there is a small amount of evidence that cancer cells may be forming. The risk for cancer is very high which makes it seem like breast cancer could potentially be an issue.
At this stage the tumor has grown to be about 2 centimeters, but has not spread to any nearby organs or any lymph nodes. Typically here is where surgeons will remove the tumor without any additional surgery to excise breast tissue. Your physician will be closely monitoring to make sure that there is no extended growth.
Stage 2 is when the tumor has grown larger to 2 and 5 centimeters and has not yet affected nearby lymph nodes. Surgery is still likely the main source of treatment.
Stage 3 is a very progressive stage in the cancer where the tumor is much larger, has affected nearby lymph nodes.
Stage IV is when the breast tumor is much larger, has affected lymph nodes, and has spread to other parts of the body, called metastasis. This is the last stage in the staging process, where the next step is unfortunately death.
Celebrities Who Have or Have Had Breast Cancer
While celebrities may seem important, they are still people who have human bodies functioning the same way as others. Below is a list of celebrities who have either gotten breast cancer, or are survivors. Do you know anyone else to add to this list?
- Musician Sheryl Crowe
- Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- Actress Olivia Newton-John
- Activist Gloria Steinem
- Musician Carly Simon
- Journalist Robin Roberts
- Actress Kathy Bates
- Author Judy Blume
- Comedian Wanda Sykes
- Actress Cynthia Nixon
- Actress Christina Applegate
- Chef Sandra Lee
- Model Janice Dickinson
- Musician Melissa Ethridge
- Host Giuliana Rancic
- Actress Rita Wilson
- Musician Peter Criss
Wellness Tips for Dealing with Cancer
There are always things that we can do to change our outlook or our lifestyle when it comes to feeling healthier. There have been multiple studies that show that people who have a large support system and a healthy lifestyle tend to fare much better with cancer than those who lack a good support system, and those who continue making poor lifestyle choices. Below are a list of activities that can help concurrently with cancer treatments.
- Attend therapy – talking with a licensed therapist can help a person shift their mindset and potentially brainstorm more ideas for their unique healing process
- Attend group therapy – perhaps someone who is fighting cancer can attend a group therapy with others who are experiencing similar issues
- Eating better – there are some studies that have shown that eating a diet primarily in plant based foods can make you feel not only better, but can help with cell regeneration and promotes wellness
- Exercise – even getting a little walk in each day can make you feel better, and can improve your immune system which is hard at work as it is
- Enjoy your hobbies – take the time to enjoy doing what you love to
- Traveling – if you are healthy enough to travel, some people suggest getting out and seeing the world
- Avoid things that make your body not feel well including drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine
Do you know someone who has had breast cancer? Do you know if the BRCA-a or 2 genes run in your family? Are you or someone you know a survivor of breast cancer or maybe a different kind of cancer? Do you have any tips on dealing with cancer that we forgot to mention? Is there another article that you think we should write a blog post on? Comment below!