Saturday, September 6, 2008

401)Saluting my wife and daughter for walking the 60km walk on the "Weekend to End Breast Cancer" this weekend; the cold hard facts on Breast Cancer.

"Voluntary service to others is viewed as an integral part of daily life in the Ismaili tradition, never as a burdensome obligation or an elective activity. Service is a means for each individual to actualise Islam's ethics of inclusiveness, of compassion, of sharing, of the respect for life, and of personal responsibility for sustaining a healthy physical, social and cultural environment. Fundamental to this concept is generosity of material resources, of time, of thought, and of knowledge......When volunteers are taken seriously, the quality of their contribution and their own sense of satisfaction literally soar."(Princess Zahra Aga Khan, August 25th 1998, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

My wife and daughter are participating this weekend in the 60km walk as the main event in the "Weekend to End Breast Cancer" in Toronto, Canada. This walk has recently taken place and is currently taking place in other large cities accross Canada as well. They and their team have been training hard for a good part of the summer for the gruelling 60km walk, which will be split into two 30km walks on consecutive days this weekend(starting @ 7.30am this Saturday morning and ending @ 5pm on Sunday afternoon). All the long training walks along the many beautiful trails in the city of Toronto, all the uphill walk training, the cardio swimming, the treadmill thumping, the weights and other gym training have combined to make their team ready to tackle the task this weekend. Along the way they will raise at least $2000.00 each(and some of them much more than $2000.00) that will go towards Breast Cancer research at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, among the top five cancer hospitals in the world. Breast Cancer will strike 1 in 9 women so we all know of someone(friend, relative or friend of a friend) who has been afflicted by this disease. Two of my wife's sisters are breast cancer survivors and their grandmother had the disease and survived it as well. Today's walk has already generated over $13 million for the hospital. I salute my wife and daughter, their team as well as all the donors to their campaign for their voluntary efforts, in the great spirit of promoting civil society and the cosmopolitan ethic, to try to wrestle this disease to the ground.

This article was copied from the 'Womens Health Matters' section of the Womens College Hospital(Toronto, Ontario, Canada) website:

Breast cancer begins in the breast tissue. It is characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells, which usually starts in the milk sacs or ducts. The tumour may be hard or soft and may sometimes be described as a thickening of the breast. Breast cancers are almost always painless.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer. It rarely affects men. One woman in nine will develop breast cancer by age 85. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, after lung cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women aged 40 to 55.

The National Cancer Institute of Canada estimates that in 2007, an estimated 22,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,300 will die of it.

What Causes Breast Cancer?

No one knows exactly what causes breast cancer, but we do know that certain risk factors – the things that increase a person's chance of getting a disease – are linked to breast cancer. Risk factors change depending on the type of cancer.

There are a number of risk factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, which may increase the chances of developing breast cancer. For instance, the risk factors associated with diet can be controlled, but risk factors such as a person's age or family history can't be changed.

While all women are at risk for breast cancer, the factors listed below are associated with an increased chance of developing the disease.

Major Risk Factors

Being female is the main risk factor for breast cancer.

The chance of getting breast cancer increases as a woman gets older.

Studies show that between five percent and 10 percent of breast cancers appear to be linked to mutations in certain genes (specifically the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes). If a woman has inherited a mutated gene from either parent, she is more likely to develop breast cancer. More than half of women with inherited mutations will develop breast cancer by the age of 70.

Strong family history
The risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have the disease. Having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer almost doubles a woman's risk, particularly if the relative was diagnosed before age 50. A family history of ovarian cancer also increases your risk of developing breast cancer.

Previous breast cancer
Having had cancer in one breast increases the risk of having it in the other.

Earlier radiation treatment
Women who have had chest area radiation treatment have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (e.g. mantle radiation for Hodgkin's lymphoma).

A biopsy showing atypical hyperplasia
A previous diagnosis of this condition indicates a moderately increased risk. See the description of hyperplasia for details.

Minor risk factors

Reproductive factors
The risk seems to be higher among women who have not had children and in women who had their first baby after the age of 30.

Menstrual history
Women who began having periods early (before 12 years of age) or who went through menopause later than average also have a small increased risk.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

Alcohol consumption
At one drink a day, the risk is very small. Those who have two to five drinks daily have about 1.5 times the risk of women who don't drink.

A history of previous benign breast biopsies, other than atypical hyperplasia.

Dense breast tissue
If your breast tissue appears dense on a mammogram your risk is slightly higher.

Birth control pills
Taking “the pill” can slightly in increase your risk of breast cancer.

Hormone therapy
Long term use (greater than five years) of combined estrogen and progestin therapy slightly increases breast cancer risk.

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql)(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)