Breast Cancer Awareness: Helping Teens Cope with the Personal Impact
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Breast cancer is a common cancer among women. It occurs rarely in men and it doesn't affect kids. But kids might want to learn about it because they know someone who has it or because they want to learn how to check for it when they are older.
Breast cancer is a kind of tumor that develops in the cells of a person's breast. You may think that only women can get breast cancer, but because all people have breast tissue, men can get breast cancer as well - though this is very rare.
A tumor can form anywhere in a person's body. Someone has cancer when those abnormal cells will not stop growing, and then cause sickness in the body. Someone with breast cancer may have cancer cells in just one part of the breast, which might be felt as a lump. The cancer can spread throughout one or both breasts. Sometimes breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, like the bones, the liver, or elsewhere.
Why Do People Get Breast Cancer?
Any woman can get breast cancer, but doctors have found that certain factors make some women more likely to get it.
* family history: A woman whose mother, sister, aunt, or daughter has had breast cancer is more likely to get breast cancer.
* age: As women get older, they are more at risk for breast cancer. Teens - as well as women in their twenties and thirties - are less likely to get breast cancer.
* diet and lifestyle choices: Women who smoke, eat high-fat diets, drink alcohol, and don't get enough exercise may be more at risk for developing breast cancer.
Doctors are still finding reasons why women get breast cancer. It isn't just because of the above. That is why we have to keep each other informed and do what we can to help find a cure.
What is it and why do women/girls get it?
Q & A
Can bras cause cancer?
Bras do not cause breast cancer. Breast cancer happens when there's a problem with the way cells grow inside the body — and no one knows exactly why it happens. The chance of getting breast cancer increases as a woman gets older or if other women in the family have had breast cancer. Some things may protect a woman from getting breast cancer, including maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and breastfeeding their children.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: November 2007
Facts to Know
The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2007, 178,480 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In addition, 2,030 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die this year.
If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 96%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram.
The National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that women in their forties and older have mammograms every one to two years. A complete early detection plan also includes regular clinical breast examinations by a trained medical professional. Monthly breast self-exams are suggested in addition.
The National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services