Natural Sciences Department Raises Cancer Awareness at Forum
By Jocelyn Jones
The Department of Natural Sciences hosted a cancer awareness forum on Feb. 20 in CLT 102 in an effort to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of various forms of the disease.
Among women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths followed by lung cancer, organizers said. Men are most likely to develop urinary tract cancer followed by prostate cancer. One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer impacts 240,000 men and women each year in the United States.
By definition, breast cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the breast in men and women, organizers said. Women have a higher rate of getting breast cancer due to larger breast tissue. Cancer cells were once normal cells that began to mutate and grow out of control. These cells become immortal and begin to grow in a person’s blood vessels.
Breast cancer is a term that encompasses all the cancers that originate in the breast, organizers said. Breast cancer is an umbrella term for different types of cancers. The cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body using the lymphatic system. If the cancer spreads to the lymph node then the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer can eventually spread to the brain.
Lung cancer can spread to your bones, and blood stream causing leukemia. This is caused by cells that have sustained damage or mutated and can no longer control their life cycle properly. An early symptom of breast cancer is a lump under the armpit with hard uneven edges that is painless and changes in size.
Here are a few ways to determine if you are at risk for breast cancer:
· Gender (breast tissue)
· Age (middle age and children)
· Family history
· Personal history of cancer
· Age at first menstrual period (Girls whose first menstrual cycle occurs at a age younger than 13 are at higher risk)
· Menopause after 55
· Exposure to some medications
· Birth control because it is high in hormones
· Hormone replacement therapy (estrogen, progestin)
· Having children at the age of 30
· Alcohol consumption
· Overweight (diabetes, joint trouble- fat cells produce estrogen and the more fat cells in the body produces more estrogen)
Certain breast conditions regarding women have one or more of these risk factors and never develop breast cancer. Approximately every three minutes someone is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 12 minutes a life is claimed. If you walk at least 30 minutes a day five days a week your chances of breast cancer is lowered by 18%.
Breast cancer can be successfully treated with early detection:
· Know the risk factors-ask your family members and know your history
· Take care of yourself
· Maintain healthy weight-if there is less abnormal estrogen then it is less likely to get breast cancer
· Talk to your health care provide
North America, Northern and Central Europe have the highest rate of prostate cancer, organizers said. Southern Europe, South Central Asia and Northern Africa have the lowest rate of prostate cancer among males. One in six African American men develops prostate cancer in their lifespan.
A few risk factors develop after 50 years of age. After 70 years, studies suggest that most men have some form of prostate cancer. Men should know their family history in order to become aware and gain knowledge of prostate cancer and seek ways for help. Approximately 10 percent of men wait almost a year before reporting any symptoms to their health care physician.
An African-American man who smokes and consumes a high number of servings in red meat and dairy fats is at a higher risk of prostate cancer, experts say. More than 60 percent of African-American men are more likely to become diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men. Symptoms of prostate cancer is urinary frequency, decreased urine stream, urgency, blood, erectile dysfunction and other prostate cancer symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and back pain, organizers said. There are many tests men can take such as the prostate specific antigen test and prostate cancer biopsy. Treatments include radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, active surveillance which is also termed watchful waiting.
A few ways to have a cancer-conscious diet is to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day, exercise and eat whole grains, organizers said. Each year in the United States more than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer.
For additional information regarding breast cancer and prostate cancer please visit www.cancer.org, www.nationalcancerinstitutecancer.gov, www.komen.org and www.cdc.gov.