I have known several women over the years that have struggled with breast cancer. Suffering double mastectomies, chemotherapy, and sometimes a loss of self throughout the entire ordeal. I have seen all fight back, and only some win.

Credit: Rudyanto Wijaya
Credit: Rudyanto Wijaya

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a time to focus on women’s health and fight back against cancer as a whole.

Cancer is a broad term for a class of disease characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells and tissues in the body. Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread, or metastasize, to other areas of the body.

Cancer occurs when cell growth goes wrong, and a build-up of cells that the body doesn’t need, form into a mass or tumor. This process can then spread through tissues in the body through, specifically, the lymph system in breast cancer.

Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer? And unfortunately, there is no known exact cause of the disease, which can make it even harder to spot and treat early. Good indicators of risk factors for breast cancer include DNA and basic family history of cancer.

Breast cancer
Credit: tupungato

As with any cancer, early detection is key when it comes to treatment and survival rates. Self-exams during showers and routine physicals can help minimize risk and target symptoms early. Any changes in the breast should be discussed with your physician, including; tenderness, change in skin texture, color or appearance, lumps in the fatty tissue, thickening near the under arm, and discharges.

Hands joined in circle holding breast cancer struggle symbol.
Credit: vadimguzhva

For help, support groups and more breast cancer resources please visit this site. Looking for a doctor and professional resources check out the Wendt Regional Cancer Center at UnityPoint Health in Dubuque. Looking for someone to talk to that understands find a local support group by following this link.

See the ABCs of Cancer:

More From WDBQ-FM