During puberty, blood levels of the sexhormone oestrogen rise, causing thedevelopment of sexual organs andsecondary sexual characteristics, such asbreasts and body hair, so thatreproduction becomes possible. Duringthis time girls develop milk-producingglands called lobules at the back of thebreasts. These lobules are connected totiny tubes called ducts that can carrymilk to the nipple. The lobules, ductsand blood vessels are surrounded byfatty tissue and connective tissue calledstroma, attached to the chest wall. Menhave much less fatty tissue in theirbreasts than women but can still beaffected by breast cancer.
Try to get to know how your breastsnormally look and feel. This will helpyou notice any changes early on, whichis very important as effective treatmentis then more likely.Look out for the following changes:
If one breast becomes larger thanthe other
If a nipple becomes inverted
Rashes on or around the nipple
Discharge from one or both nipples
Skin texture changes (puckering ordimpling)
Swelling under the armpit or aroundthe collarbone (where the lymphnodes are)
A lump that you feel is different tothe rest of your breast tissue
Continuous pain in one part of thebreast or armpit (not a commonsymptom)If you notice any of these changes, make anappointment to see your GP as soon as youcan but try not to worry as most changesdo not turn out to be breast cancer.
Different types ofbreast cancer
When cancer occurs, cells grow in anuncontrolled way. If untreated, the cellsmay spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer cells develop in the ducts of thebreast, the cancer is called ductalcarcinoma in situ (DCIS). If they occur inthe lobules, it is referred to as lobular5You may be reading this because youhave been diagnosed with breastcancer or a friend or member of yourfamily has. It could be that you wantto prevent this disease or just want tofind our more about the mostcommon cancer affecting women inthe UK…Whatever your reasons, this guide,based on the latest science, explainshow meat and dairy foods are linked tobreast cancer. It will help you discoverdifferent ways of eating healthier,tastier foods that don’t contain theharmful substances found in meat anddairy but do contain vital fibre anddisease-busting compounds.It also contains a useful seven-day mealplan with easy-to-follow, inspiringrecipes, as well as a list of delicioussuperfood ingredients with anexplanation as to why they can helpcombat illness.This guide cannot guarantee to curecancer but it does provide the scientificand nutritional information you needto make an informed choice aboutwhich foods to eat that, coupled toconventional therapy, can helpovercome breast cancer. It also showsyou how to eat healthily to helpprevent breast cancer.If you would like to read a morethorough review of the scientificresearch on breast cancer and diet seethe VVF’s fully-referenced scientificreport
One in Nine
available freeonline at www.vegetarian.org.uk orfor £2.50 from the VVF. The titlerefers to the number of women in theUK who will get breast cancer in theirlifetime. This report explains whybreast cancer cases are continuing torise and looks at how diet affects yourrisk of developing one of the West’smajor killers.
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Figure 1.0 The female breast.
The female breast