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Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers for females. 8 out of ten females who develop breast cancer are over 50 years old and in rare cases, young women and even men may develop it too. About 2,700 women get breast cancer in Ireland each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50.
There are many different types of breast cancer, and breast cancers can begin in different areas of the breast, whether it’s in the breast tissue, ducts or lobules.
Non-invasive breast cancer
Non-invasive cancers or pre-cancers, are sometimes referred to or called ductal carcinoma in situ meaning – in the same place. This type of cancer stays within the lobules in the breast. These lobules have a small bulb-like ending and it is here that the milk is produced. This form of cancer starts within the inside of the milk ducts (ductal). Having non-invasive breast cancer is not lethal, although it does run the risk of breast cancers that are a lot more serious.
Invasive breast cancer
Invasive breast cancer is a lot more common in breast cancers. Invasive breast cancer is when cancer cells grow into the healthy breast tissue. Up to 80% of breast cancers are invasive. Invasive breast cancer begins around the duct’s but spreads into the breast tissue. If it spreads further, it travels into the lymph nodes.
Lymph nodes are a part of the breast that are small areas made up of immune cells. These immune cells act as filters for the lymphatic system, these are located around the underarm area. When breast cancer begins to spread, it generally spreads into the underarm area into the lymph nodes.
Treatments vary for breast cancer due to the fact that different treatments need to be carried out for different types of breast cancer, and the treatment also depends on the stages of cancer.
In order to decide on what treatment to receive, your doctor will check the size of the tumour(s), the type it is, and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes.
Local treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy are used to treat only the area where cancer has occurred.
Systemic treatments like chemotherapy and hormone therapy are used to treat the entire body.
Every patient’s treatment is planned on an individual basis and doctors must consider your age, your general health if you’ve had menopause and the type and size of cancer . These are all factors taken into consideration prior to treatment.
Cannabis or marijuana for medicinal purposes has become quite the top of conversation among patients and health practitioners recently, due to the recent medical studies carried out.
What is medical cannabis and does it work?
Two compounds of the cannabis plant (in cannabinoids) that are useful in medical marijuana are Delta-9-THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol helps the central nervous system and immune system by decreasing inflammation and reducing pain. Delta-9-THC is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant. This is the cause of people getting “high”.
It has been proven that cannabinoids may help with the side effects of chemotherapy and can offer pain relief for cancer patients, but these studies need to be carried out further and need to be better tested. What we do know is, that cannabis has most definitely killed cancer cells in laboratory tests. Clinical research has taken place in a lab, that showed cancer and cannabis researchers that cannabis does, in fact, kill cancer cells (effectively by making the cells commit suicide) while keeping the healthy cells healthy.
Dr. Christina Sanchez, a molecular biologist has been working with cannabis and fighting cancer. She conducted a study called, “Cannabinoids reduce ErbB2-driven breast cancer progression through Akt inhibition” and came to the conclusion that “these results provide a strong preclinical evidence for the use of cannabinoid-based therapies for the management of ErbB2-positive breast cancer.”
In animal testing, Christina and her researchers stated: “our results, which were obtained in a clinically relevant animal model of ErbB2-positive breast cancer, suggest that these highly aggressive and low responsive tumours could be effectively treated with non-psychoactive CB2-selective”.
Our only concern now is that cannabis has not been approved by governments as a treatment for cancer and a lot of other ailments that it may be able to treat, due to the fact that little research and study has been carried out, but we are starting to learn more about cannabis, and that it has been showing very positive results