What’s Breast Cancer?

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Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.

The progression of the disease, or extent to which breast cancer has invaded the body, is defined in stages. The stages of breast cancer range from 0 to IV.

Self breast exams are encouraged for all adult women on a monthly basis to help catch any signs of cancer early, before tumors have grown, or spread to other areas of the body.

The Divinyls frontwoman Chrissy Amphlett famous for her 1990 song “I Touch Myself” was diagnosed when her breast cancer was already terminal. She spent her terminal days repurposing her “I Touch Myself” song to encourage women to check their bodies for cancer.

Amphlett discovered her own breast cancer through self-examination, after mammograms and ultrasounds initially failed to identify it, however at this point it had already spread throughout her body. She died in April 2013, but not before communicating her new vision for the hit song with collaborators including breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John, to produce a powerful version of the song that serves as a reminder to women of the importance of self-examinations.

 

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