Breast Cancer prevention, part 3 of 4

To continue where we left off…

7. The next tip is one that I’m not sure I can do because I don’t like taking something chemical everyday1 but they are suggesting that taking seven or more aspirin can inhibit oestrogen production in your body2.

8. Here’s one that the guys will certainly love to help out with: Practice breast (self-)examinations. I’m sure I don’t need explain why these are important in preventing breast cancer. But just so we’re clear, its like getting your teeth checked regularly3 or going for your annual physical. The earlier you find something wrong, the easier it will be fight/fix it.

I know this is one thing I need to do more often, its not so much fear of finding a lump but more so that its boring – but I suppose it wouldn’t interfere with that day that much if I add it to my daily shower. I mean I’m in there naked already, and I usually run my hands all along my body while rinsing anyway… I can just take an extra few seconds to rub around the right areas right?

So there’s a tad bit more to think about… You may notice that I’m dragging this out as much as possible. That’s because I find if I don’t read over the information more than once and let it sink in for sometime the information will just fly out of my brain soon as I put it there.

So, what did you learn today?

  1. even though I already take allergy meds, and multivitamins everyday[]
  2. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that it will limit it to a healthy level[]
  3. which incidentally, I wouldn’t know anything about since I never go[]

Breast Cancer prevention, Part 2 of 4

daBhang cafe

I needed a few days to let my last post sink in to my own head, so I decided to take a break before posting this next part up. Also, the next pointer is going to be a real tough one for me so I needed to mentally prepare myself for it!

3. suggest that the #3 thing you should do to lower your chances of getting breast cancer is to limit your alcohol intake. Crap on a stick! Granted, I actually don’t drink that much if you take my average the amount I’ve had over my entire adult1, but I’m pretty sure that limiting alcohol intake would include not binge drinking.

4. Ah, finally a tip that I should have no problem following: Eat more fruits and vegetables. Also, this tip helps counter my failure from tip #3. At least according to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Fruit and vegetables are meant to lower your risk of cancer in general. In particular Carrots, Broccoli, Zucchini, Cabbage2, Peas, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Spinach, Garlic and Onions are your best allies in battling cancer. Now, I just need to work on increasing my daily vegetable intake!

5. The next pointer they give is one that’s always our minds as women, avoid the fat or more accurately eat the right fat. Omega-3 has been pumped into our brains enough by advertising, that I think even I3 knows by now that its good for your heart and overall health, and now I know that it also helps my breast health.

6. This next tip, has my eyes as large as saucers: Women must carefully consider HRT. I first heard about Hormone Replacement Therapy as my Mum went through meopause. I thought that HRT was necessary for women who going through menopause as their bodies no longer go through the menstrual cycle that helps keep the hormones cycling through our bodies as necessary. To find out that it could actually cause cancer?! GAH.

I suppose it makes sense, if you think about it, an increase in hormones in your body would logically increase your chance of getting cancer… but still. GAH.

*sigh* I think I’ll stop here to let these sink in4.

Did you learn something today?

  1. and perhaps teenage life[]
  2. ew[]
  3. an ignorant, by choice, consumer[]
  4. and to give me a chance to research this HRT thing further[]

Breast Cancer prevention, Part 1 of 4

‘An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure’

Some of you may have heard this old adage, and some may have not; but regardless it stands true for any aspect of life. Being proactive is always better than being reactive. It’ll make for a more stress free life, and who really wants stress anyway?

I have to admit that I didn’t go very far in researching this, but you can all blame for that. They have an article that provided me with all the information I needed on preventing breast cancer.

1. Their first piece of advice is to stay active. Something that I’m not doing too well with right now. I started working out a couple of weeks ago but soon lost interest since our ancient equipment at home kept giving me a sore bum. But luckily for me, you don’t have to be an athlete to prevent breast cancer.

The article says that even moderate activities like carrying the laundry, walking briskly while grocery shopping, carrying groceries, etc., can be helpful in staying active. Anything that gets your heart rate up a little and makes you sweat a tad bit. Here is what I learnt from this pointer: fat cells produce estrogen, and estrogen is what is responsible for most breast cancers. Shocking1.

2. Their second tip goes hand in hand with the first one, and that’s maintaining a healthy weight. Crap. I checked it out recently, and I’m overweight for my frame, age and height by 15lbs2. I don’t have weight issues, I always eat as much as I’m hungry for and that will never change. I’m not going to starve myself just to get into clothes… but I obviously need to start obeying tip#1 to get tip#2 under control.

There’s something about this pointer that really scared me, has said that women who gain over 20lbs of weight are more prone to postmenopausal breast cancer. I know, I know I don’t have to worry about that for a long time but that’s the whole idea of prevention – you worry about it now so you don’t have to worry about it later! I gotta get my butt in gear!

Now, since I don’t like writing super long posts like a Monkey we all know and love, I’m going to end this with these questions:

Did you learn something today? How active are you?

  1. no really, I’m not being sarcastic![]
  2. 14.6, but who are we kidding, it’s basically 15[]

Learning about cancer

The first thing I wanted to understand was what part of the breast was suseptible to cancer. I checked out a few different websites, one being The Canadian National Cancer Institute‘s website ((go figure)) and so far I understand that the breast is made up of different sections1 which contain smaller sections2. Each of these smaller sections3 contain organs that produce the milk that babies love. Mostly, the breast is made up of fat, and these ograns they’ve4 decided to call lobes and lobules. I didn’t mention nipples because, well… we all know they’re there. They’re the ‘duh’ part.

But the important part of the breast to keep an eye on when checking for cancer, is the lymph vessels. Apparently these lead to lymph nodes5 which carry bacteria, cancer cells and other harmful substances. These lymph nodes exist all over our body.

Now, I think even I remember learning in high school biology that our cells are constantly renewing in our body6. Tumors are formed when the system of cell renewal goes astray, as in when the new cells form before the old cells have had a chance to die and the old cells don’t die like they should. But as I’ve learnt from the TV dramas, not all tumours are cancerous. Some tumours can just be extra tissue… some… aren’t so happy7.

What was easy to understand was that unless caught and treated early, breast cancer can spread almost any other part of the body and that the most common parts they spread to are the bones, liver, lungs, and brain.

So how does it spread? What I first needed to understand was that the lympathic system is something similar to the nervous system or our veins and arteries but instead of carrying nervous cells, or blood it carries a fluid called lymph through our system. This yellowish, watery fluid containing white blood cells8, red blood cells and protein is important to our immune system health. Wisegeek compared lymph to a milkman who replenishes us with nutrients9 and takes away the empty bottles. Of course, this is one milkman who won’t sleep with your wife10.

Cancer can also spread through our blood stream; the not so happy11 tumours previously mentioned can break off of where they had originally grown and travel through the bloodstream12 until they find a suitable new home13.

Cancer can also ‘invade’ the healthy tissue surrounding it. This type of Cancer is usually ‘easier’ to get rid of if caught early enough and if all infected tissue is removed accurately. But, its said that it’s not a guarantee that the same type of cancer won’t form again in another part of the body and it would be completely unrelated to the first one.

Lastly14, there is apparently the rare instance that cancer can form as a result of something happening during a biopsy. A biopsy is the surgery performed to get rid of a malignant tumour… and sometimes, the needle being used to remove the tumour can drip onto other healthy organs and infect said organ15.

So! That’s what cancer is… and that’s how it spreads through our body. I hope you learnt something today, because I certainly did.

Have you gone pink for October?

  1. the article called them lobes[]
  2. they called these lobules[]
  3. so the lobules[]
  4. the scientist geeks[]
  5. that strangely look like a lima bean[]
  6. that’s why we shed skin, and etc. If you didn’t know that, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you but we shed too… just like our cats and dogs[]
  7. these are called malignant tumours[]
  8. called lymphocytes — I know boring Jargon right?[]
  9. like those found in milk[]
  10. woh woh woh[]
  11. malignant[]
  12. mostly through the veins as opposed to the arteries[]
  13. damn bastards[]
  14. but not least-ly…[]
  15. WHAT?!![]