October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Painful Pleasures is a proud supporter of this cause. To show our love of tatas, we want to help you better understand breast cancer and do something to support breast cancer research. That's why we'll be donating a percentage of every order placed this month that includes the GIVEBACK 10% off coupon code to support breast cancer awareness through our Project Give Back program. So read on to educate yourself about breast cancer, then visit our Retail, Wholesale or Distributor Store and start shopping to join us in supporting this important cause!
What Is Breast Cancer?
To better understand breast cancer, you first need to know how cancer in general develops. Our cells normally replace themselves with healthy new cells as old ones die out. It's a very orderly process. Cancer is the result of hiccups caused by mutations to the genes that regulate the regeneration process. With time, such mutations can randomly turn genes on and off within the cells. Those altered cells continue dividing, making progressively more mutated cells and eventually forming a tumor.
Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The cells in benign tumors are closer to normal in appearance. Such tumors grow slowly and don't spread to other areas of the body, so they're considered relatively harmless to one's health. Malignant tumors are cancerous, dangerous tumors that can spread to other parts of the body and wreak havoc on a person's systems.
Breast cancer is the result of a malignant tumor that develops from breast cells. Breast cancer most often forms in the areas of the breast where milk is produced (the lobules, or milk-producing glands) and in the ducts where milk drains from the lobules to the nipples. Although breast cancer can develop in the fatty and fibrous connective breast tissues, too, it's a much rarer occurrence. If breast cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, it then has an easy entry path into other parts of the body. Up to 90% of breast cancer cases result from genetic mutations that occur naturally as a person ages rather than from inherited mutated genes.
What Do the Different Stages of Breast Cancer Mean?
The stage of breast cancer a person has depends on how far the cancer has spread beyond the original tumor. There are 9 stages, detailed below:
- Stage 0: If caught in this stage, breast cancer has not spread beyond the breast duct; it's relatively contained and is easiest to combat in this stage.
- Stage IA: In this stage, the cancer is still contained within the breast and measures 2cm or smaller.
- Stage IB: This stage involves the lymph nodes; it means that either there's no cancer in the breast, but there are 0.2mm-2mm little groups of cancerous cells in the lymph nodes, OR that there is a 2cm or smaller tumor in the breast and there are small groups of 0.2mm-2mm cancer cells in the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage IIA: Those who meet any of the following criteria are considered in Stage IIA: There's no tumor in the breast, but there are cancerous cells in the axillary lymph nodes, OR there's a tumor in the breast that's 2mm or smaller and the cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, OR a tumor in the breast is 2cm-5cm and it has not yet spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage IIB: In this stage, the tumor is either 2cm-5cm and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes OR the tumor is larger than 5cm but it has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.
- Stage IIIA: Those in this stage of breast cancer either have no breast tumor, but they do have cancerous cells in their axillary lymph nodes or in the lymph nodes near the breastbone, OR the tumor is any size and the cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, which are sticking together or to other structures, or cancer may be found in the lymph nodes near the breastbone.
- Stage IIIB: In this stage, the tumor is any size and has spread to the chest wall and/or skin around the breast and it may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that are grouped together or attaching to other structures, or cancer might have spread to the lymph nodes near the breastbone. Inflammatory breast cancer is considered to be this stage or higher.
- Stage IIIC: In this stage, there might be no cancer in the breast or a tumor of any size might have spread to the chest wall and/or skin around the breast and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above or beyond the collarbone and the cancer may have spread to the axillary lymph nodes near the breastbone.
- Stage IV: This is the most severe stage of breast cancer, in which the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (i.e. it's metastasized).
What You Can Do to Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast cancer and other forms of cancer can't always be avoided. Our bodies change as we age, and some of the mutations that occur within us can eventually harm us. Sometimes those mutations are the result of genetics, sometimes they occur naturally as we age no matter what we do to try to avoid them, and sometimes cancer is the result of how we care for ourselves. Eating a nutritious, balanced diet, maintaining your weight, exercising, avoiding smoking, and drinking alcohol moderately can all help you stay healthy. These things can't entirely eliminate the risk of developing breast cancer or another type of cancer, but they can improve your odds favorably.
It's also important to know your family history and be proactive about your health--not just the way you eat and maintain your body, but also going to the doctor annually to make sure your body is in top form. Women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men, particularly as they age. If breast cancer runs in your family, you had radiation to the chest or head before the age of 30, you're overweight, you have a personal history with breast cancer, you started menstruating before the age of 12, you had your first child after the age of 30, you've used hormone replacement therapy, you drink alcohol regularly, you have dense breasts, or you smoke, you're at higher risk and need to stay on top of your preventative maintenance. That means getting mammograms as recommended by your doctor, having annual gynecological check-ups, and having an annual physical with your primary care physician.
You can also join the fight against breast cancer and be part of the solution simply by placing an order through Painfulpleasures.com today and applying the coupon code GIVEBACK to it during checkout. You'll save 10% off your order, and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to a breast cancer awareness cause. Painful Pleasures supports important causes like breast cancer awareness through our Project Give Back program year-round, too. Anytime you purchase one of our Project Give Back products, we'll donate a percentage of the proceeds to a worthy cause.