Welcome to October! This time of the year ushers in cooler temperatures, shorter days, pumpkin spice lattes, and the seasonal shedding of foliage. The month of October also sheds light on breast cancer awareness. You're sure to see pink ribbons that resemble breast cancer awareness, which affects 1 in 8 women. With such harrowing statistics, you're likely to have someone in your life diagnosed with breast cancer. It is essential to stay informed on the latest research on breast cancer to help the women in your life.
UNDERSTANDING BREAST CANCER
What is breast cancer? Here are a few keywords you may hear about when discussing cancer:
CANCER - simply put, cancer is a dangerous overgrowth of cells. The cells in our body have a normal cell cycle that involves growth and replication.
BREAST CANCER – refers to these overdeveloped cells found in breast tissues.
CELL DIVISION – this occurs when cells reproduce and replicate. Eventually, internal signaling stops this process.
SENESCENCE – is the internal signaling that occurs when our cells age. This signaling prevents cell division and eliminates the cell eventually.
TELOMERES – a region of DNA that gets shorter each time a cell divides or replicates. In relation to cancer cells, the telomeres are abnormal and do not shorten and prevent senescence from occurring. If senescence does not happen, cells can continue to divide uncontrollably.
LYMPH NODES - these bean-shaped structures that can be found throughout the body. Lymph nodes are located in the neck, armpit, chest, abdomen, and groin and are connected through the lymphatic system.
LYMPH- is a fluid that flows through the lymphatic system within the body. The lymph protects you from bacteria exposure and parasites.
CANCER STAGING - when you are diagnosed with cancer, a doctor will explain which of the four stages of cancer you have. All categories of cancer are made using this system.
STAGE I - cancer has only affected a small area and has not grown or spread.
STAGE II - cancer has grown outside its original boundaries but is still in its original localized tissue
STAGE III - cancer has increased and spread to the body's lymph nodes and other tissues.
STAGE IV - cancer has spread to other areas of the body. This stage is also known as metastatic or advanced cancer.
BREAST CANCER BY THE NUMBERS
Who is at risk for developing breast cancer?
Who is at risk for developing breast cancer?
According to breastcancer.org, women in the United States experience higher breast cancer deaths than other cancer forms.
Breast cancer is more common for African American women than Caucasian women.
While women in their 30s can develop breast cancer, it is more prevalent in women in their 40s.
Breast cancer is not just for women; men can get breast cancer too! According to the CDC, about 264,000 breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women and about 2,400 in men annually.
WHAT ARE WAYS TO SCREEN FOR BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer awareness starts with self-checks at home. Monthly breast self-exams are recommended for women twenty years old and up. Below are the steps to completing this exam.
As you examine your breasts, look for the following:
Along with regular breast self-exams, women also have the opportunity to get checked by a medical professional at their doctor's office. It is also recommended to get annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40.
TURN TO HEALTH ON SOUTH RX FOR BREAST CANCER SUPPORT
Breast cancer treatment requires a multi-dimensional approach. The healthcare providers involved in your health and wellness include primary care providers, oncologists, and radiologists. Don't forget to look for allies in the way of:
Cancer support groups
Health on South Rx
At Health on South Rx, we can assist with the following for patients dealing with breast cancer:
Side Effect Support – Treatments for breast cancer cause unwanted patient side effects. Speak with your Health on South Rx pharmacist about prescription, over-the-counter, or compounded medication options to help deal with side effects such as nausea, rash, or dry mouth.
Drug Interaction Check – Breast cancer treatment adds new medications to your profile. Let our Health on South Rx pharmacists review your medication profile to minimize side effects or drug interaction risks.
Specialty Medication Support – Oral medications for cancer may require paperwork for your insurance provider. This document submission process is often called a prior authorization request which our pharmacy staff can seamlessly handle for you. Let us worry about this documentation so you can focus on your health & wellness.
Immune Support – We carry many immune system supplements recommended to all our patients. These supplements can also be helpful in the case of breast and other cancers.
Our pharmacists are here to help you and your family along your health and wellness journey. October is also National Pharmacist Month, recognizing their important role in healthcare. Whether you are dealing with breast cancer or other ailments, our pharmacists proudly serve to improve the lives of our Health on South Rx community. Don't forget to thank the loyal pharmacists in your life today.