Cape Cod Breast Cancer Awareness
Statistics, Warnings & Symptoms
Breast Cancer is the result of more cell growth than cell death that takes place in the breast resulting in a malignant tumor. The speed in which the tumor grows varies and takes over a decade at times. Research from the Susan G. Komen organization has found that 50 to 75% of breast cancers begin in milk ducts, with 10 to 15% beginning in the lobules and only a few others beginning in other breast tissues. Symptoms that the Susan G. Komen organization mentions are a change in look or feel of the breast, a change in look or feel in the nipple or nipple discharge. With regular mammography screening the cancer can be found early but symptoms vary from individual to individual and are not always found through screening. The Susan G. Komen organization notes that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with numerous risks appearing throughout one’s lifetime. Being diagnosed is not a death sentence and the cancer can be treated.
According to the Silent Spring Institute, there are a number of risk factors that are related to prolonged exposure to estrogen and other hormones that play a part in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Certain drugs have a level of risk because of their estrogen-related effects. How you treat your body day to day can also have increased effects on estrogen levels, including daily exercise, alcohol intake, obesity and higher body mass after menopause. Exposure to ionizing radiation, like from CAT scans and x-rays have been noted by Silent Spring to have increased breast cancer risk. Family history also has shown to have an impact on increased risk for breast cancer. Many of these risks come not at any particular moment in an individual’s life but over their whole life, with many things being out of their control. It does not mean that nothing can be done to prevent this and action can be taken to help yourself and others to protect from and raise awareness about breast cancer.
On the Cape, the Silent Spring Institute began in 1994 and started to investigate the causes for increased Cape Cod breast cancer rates on the peninsula. The institute studies the relation of the environment and women’s health, primarily regarding breast cancer. The background of the institute is social activism rather than science, which allows for the community to take part in the study. This creates interaction between the scientists and the activists, as well as those affected by breast cancer, to further the research. The institute has run studies on household exposure on Cape Cod and beyond. The activism has helped the science of the studies and has followed the precautionary principle. Silent Spring describes the principle as proving the evil of certain chemicals rather than the safety of them. In other words, companies should say what is harmful about a particular product rather than leaving it to the consumer base to find out what is wrong.
What can you do to help prevent breast cancer and promote awareness? There are a number of things that you can do individually, as a community and on a national scale. Your approach to everyday life, from what you eat and drink to what you wear can help prevent breast cancer. Avoiding chemicals in your food and objects in and around your home as well as buying organic products whenever possible can help not only you but friends and family around you. Contacting schools, local businesses and those in your own workplace can encourage awareness of toxic chemicals and other harmful practices and the impact they can have on people in these spaces. At the national level, you can encourage congress to make changes to legislation to help control the use of chemicals help consumers know which toxics are being used in their products.