Breast Cancer

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“My advice is to remember that only you can fight your cancer. Other people can do the laundry, make meals, and even wipe away tears. You must – even it’s the first time in your life – think of yourself first. No one can fight this battle as well as you can.” -Deborah, breast cancer survivor From “What Helped Get Me Through” – American Cancer Society

How many of us have been affected by breast cancer? Either having it, had it, or knew someone who did.

My auntie was diagnosed when she was 65, Stage 3b, beat it. My close friend was diagnosed at 47, Stage 3, beat it. Both cancers were HER-2 (estrogen fed). My auntie had HRT from a hysterectomy many years ago. My friend took hormones to boost her chances of becoming pregnant. Both were synthetic hormones. Could there be a direct link between synthetic hormones and breast cancer? My auntie was never tested for the BRCA 1&2 gene mutation, but my friend tested positive for BRCA 1. Neither of these women had any family history of breast cancer.

Move a Mountain

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” -Wordtothewerd

United States Statistics

Some statistics below are for the United States from

  • In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.

  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1andBRCA2 genes are the most common…
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).“

“She’s been through hell and came out an angel. You didn’t break her, darling. You don’t own that kind of power.”  -BMM Poetry

Globally Speaking

Around the world, Medical News Today writes:

“The majority of new breast cancer diagnoses and deaths occur in developing countries as opposed to Western countries.

In 2012, Belgium had the highest rate of breast cancer in the world, with 111.9 cases per 100,000 adult women.

The higher number of cases in developing countries is partly due to their larger portion of the world’s population.

However, rates have been steadily increasing in these non-developed nations as well, in recent decades.

The breast cancer incidence, or the number of cases per 100,000 women, is still lower in developing countries overall than in the West, but death rates from the disease are higher. This may be attributed to later diagnosis and poor access to treatment.

By contrast, the rate of breast cancer per 100,000 women is higher in the U.S., Canada, and Europe than it is in developing countries. Conversely, death rates are markedly lower.

In westernized countries, more breast cancer cases are detected early when a cure is more likely and more women are able to get treatment.”

“Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported”

My auntie, now closing in at 77, said that at first it was devastating news to find out she had breast cancer. She was sick during chemo. She had a lymphadenectomy to remove 3 lymph nodes and a lumpectomy to remove the cancer tissue from her breast. Her doctors said she had a very slow progressing cancer, probably had it for 10 years prior to diagnosis. She said what she “took away” was a new appreciation for every single day.

My friend, now at 51, said that when she first found out she had breast cancer she felt shocked and nauseous, and then scared and angry. She also had a lymphadenectomy, but she chose to have a bilateral mastectomy. She later had breast reconstructive surgery. She has a new perspective on living each day as if it were her last. She thanks God for her six senses that she often took for granted.

“Cancer is only going to be a chapter in your life, not the whole story.” -Joe Wasser


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