By:  Yoli Bell, Mesquite Cancer HELP Society

 

Too often we, at the local cancer society, continue to hear comments from women over 40 who have never had a mammogram. Comments, such as  “It doesn’t run in my family”, “I don’t have time”, “ I can’t get off work”,  “I’m scared they might find something” to “I hear it’s painful”.

 

“I am always fine, my Mammograms are always negative, what is the big deal with skipping this year” was my excuse for skipping a Mammo in JAN, 2000.  I woke several months later and noticed an indentation on my right breast.  Almost immediately  a mammogram followed then, immediately afterwards, an ultrasound and now the doctor’s office – a first ever occurrence that happened in one day.   At this point I knew something was wrong.  The doctor walked in and politely yet bluntly told me I had aggressive breast cancer. The only response that came out of my mouth was, “Where do we go from here?”

 

Things moved so fast I felt my head spinning – two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation then follow-ups for years to come .  I still get 65+ blood tests done every six months and see my oncologist who monitors my  monoclonal gammopathy.  My life has slowed down tremendously which is hard for me to grasp, because I was one of those people who is like a rubber ball bouncing wherever needed.

 

The end result of all this was the creation of the Mesquite Cancer HELP Society —  a place all cancer patients can visit, eliminating or minimizing their feelings of fear and helpless and finding the resources needed to understand and manage their cancer.  22+ years later and the cancer society is running at full capacity helping all cancer patients who may simply want  to ask questions, seek advice and guidance, to helping the many who need financial assistance with something as simply as fuel assistance to providing

help with cancer-related medical bills; chemotherapy, radiation, tests, to getting flown to a specialized cancer hospital to fulfill their special needs; the services provided are countless.

 

Ladies, PLEASE do not ignore your health – get that mammogram; the MAMMOVAN comes to our office location every 6 months. If you need a Mammo and cannot afford it Mesquite Cancer HELP Society will

make sure you get it.  The discomfort only lasts a couple of minutes and could mean the difference between a clean result, early detection or something much more serious.  Breast cancer affects men too; they should also check for any unusual changes…Sometimes lumps are not obvious as was the case with me.   Awareness is crucial and does not cost you a cent.  Call 702-346-0622 or come by our office at 150 No. Yucca, #36 for personalized attention.  Our office volunteers are cancer survivors and/or caregivers of a cancer patient.  All BofD members are also cancer survivors or have provided cancer care…

 

Breast Cancer Types, Know Them

Ductal or Lobular Carcinoma:  Most breast cancers are carcinomas, which are tumors that start in the epithelial cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body.  When carcinomas form in the breast, they are usually a more specific type called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells the ducts (milk ducts) or the lobules (glands in the breast that make milk).

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS): also known as intra-ductal carcinoma) is a non-invasive breast cancer.  duct and has not grown into the rest of the breast tissue.

Invasive (or infiltrating) Carcinoma:  This term is used to describe any type of breast cancer that has spread (invaded) the surrounding breast tissue.  The most common types are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma.  70-80% of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinoma.

Triple-negative Breast Cancer is an aggressive type of invasive breast cancer in which the cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors (ER or PR) and also do not make any for to much of the protein call HER2.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer:  This type of invasive breast cancer is an aggressive type of invasive breast cancer in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin, causing the breast to look “inflamed.”  It is rare and accounts for about 1% to 5% of all breast cancers.

 

LESS common types of breast cancer:

Paget Disease of the Breast: This type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the     nipple and then to the areola (the dark circle around the nipple). It is rare, accounting for about 1-3% of all cases of breast cancer.

Angiosarcoma:  Sarcomas of the breast are rare making up less than 1% of all breast cancers.  Angiosarcoma starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels.  It can involve the breast tissue or the skin of the breast.  Some may be related to prior radiation therapy in that area.

 

Phyllodes Tumor: are rare breast tumors.  They develop int eh connective tissue (stroma) of the breast, in contrast to carcinomas, which develop in the ducts or lobules.  Most are benign, but there are others that are malignant (cancer).

 

Resource: ACS through Mesquite Cancer HELP Society

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