Knowledge is Power - What You Need to Know about Breast Cancer
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a confusing time for patients and their loved ones, as they're often flooded with information that can quickly become overwhelming. If you have breast cancer, or know someone affected by breast cancer, a strong understanding is the first step in your journey.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when cells that line the breast lobules and ducts begin to grow abnormally, often resulting in a tumour within these areas. Breast cancer is divided into two categories - pre-invasive and invasive breast cancer. Pre-invasive breast cancer is when the affected cells remain only in the lobules or ducts. Invasive breast cancer, the most commonly found type, is when those cells spread into the surrounding tissue.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
The cause of breast cancer is unknown, but most doctors believe there are risk factors, including ageing, previous diagnoses of breast cancer, specific breast conditions and having a family history of the disease. Most diagnosed women don’t have a family history, but according to the Cancer Council, 5% of breast and ovarian cancers are due to an inherited faulty gene. The two genes involved in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Breast Cancer in Australian Women
According to the McGrath Foundation, 1 in 8 Australian women will be diagnosed with a form of breast cancer by the time they are 85, making it the most common cancer that affects Australian women. The number of patients diagnosed doesn’t appear to be slowing down either.
By 2017, it is estimated that 209,200 women will be living with a previous breast cancer diagnosis in Australia. The McGrath Foundation advises that most diagnoses of breast cancer in Australian women occur between the 65-69 age brackets.
While these numbers are significant, it’s important to be aware that 90% of women are still alive five years after their diagnosis. If the cancer is caught early, chances of a successful recovery are high.
Breast Cancer in Australian Men
When most people think of breast cancer, they often think it is a disease that only affects women. However, both genders have breast tissue and are susceptible to the disease. Breast cancer in men is uncommon and accounts for less than 1% of all cancers in men, according to the Breast Cancer Network Australia. The Breast Cancer Network Australia estimates that 150 men will be diagnosed in 2016, with the most common age for diagnosis being 69. The survival rate is similar to their female counterparts, with 85% of male patients still alive five years on from diagnosis.
There are a variety of treatment options for breast cancer, with most people choosing to have breast conserving surgery or a mastectomy. Breast conserving survey involves removing the breast cancer as well as some of the surrounding healthy tissue, while a mastectomy removes the entire breast. A mastectomy is typically followed by a breast reconstruction, in which a breast shape is created using a silicone or saline implant or tissue from another part of the body. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy are other common treatment options.
To help raise awareness of breast cancer, Interflora has partnered with the McGrath Foundation, whose vision is to ensure that every person experiencing breast cancer has access to a dedicated breast care nurse, no matter where they live or their financial situation. Interflora has created an exclusive collection of flowers in order to generate awareness around the issue. Browse through the arrangements and order your Interflora flowers online today - Interflora will be donating 5% of every sale from this collection to the McGrath Foundation.
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