By Claire Kositzky
October is national breast cancer awareness month. According to Breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their lifetime and 1 in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that originates in breast cells. Breast cancer begins to form in the ducts or in the lobules of the breast and spread. Breast cancer is not genetic; however, once a family member is diagnosed the chances of other family members in future generations being diagnosed have a higher risk of diagnosis. We often forget that breast cancer can occur in both men and women; however, it is less common for men to develop breast cancer than it is for women. Research shows that there are two abnormal genes that can cause breast cancer. These genes are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Every male and female have these two genes. These two genes play the role in breast growth and repairing cell damage.
When a man or woman genes are unable to function properly, the risk of breast cancer increases. Not everyone who has these abnormalities of BRCA1 and BRCA2 can develop breast cancer. Another risk factors of breast cancer include hormone replacement therapy, weight and breast lesions.
It is important for men and women to check for breast lesions regularly. This can be done with a physical examination or by getting a mammogram. A mammogram is an x ray of the breast. It scans and detects changes in the breast.
It is not uncommon to hear about women getting diagnosed with breast cancer and it is even less uncommon for us to see items with a sewed pink ribbon symbol. With more awareness raised, we can hope that each day we are closer to finding a cure.