Tonia is fondly called ‘healthy mama’ by her friends because of her lifestyle. She always went for jogging twice every week, and maintained a healthy diet too. Every January, she would visit a gynecologists for regular checkup, and is quick to act on any advice given her. So she was shocked that even with all of these precautionary procedures that she still got breast cancer. It can affect everyone, even you. Let’s review what you should know about breast cancer.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women globally. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women. It is the most common invasive cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. It is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. Ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. What holds everything in the breast together is known as the connective tissue. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
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There are different kinds of breast cancer. They include ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and metastatic breast cancer. Each of these kinds of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. Let us now review important facts you should know about breast cancer.
What Causes It?
Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts, according to Mayo Clinic. it may also begin in the lobules or in other cells or tissue within the breast. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it’s not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.
Doctors estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or other cancers, you may need a blood test to help identify specific genes that are being passed through your family.
Some factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
Increasing age in women
Beginning your period before age 12
Starting menopause at an older age
Having your first child at an older age
Women who have never been pregnant
Drinking alcohol increases the risk.
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Breast cancer can have different symptoms for different people. Most don’t notice any signs at all. However, the first symptoms of breast cancer usually appear as an area of thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast or an armpit. Others include skin changes, pain, a nipple that pulls inward, and unusual discharge from your nipple.
Generally speaking, here are the notable symptoms of breast cancer:
Pain in the armpits or breast that does not change with the monthly cycle;
Pitting or redness of the skin of the breast;
A rash around or on one of the nipples;
Discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood;
A sunken or inverted nipple;
Change in the size or shape of the breast;
Peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple.
Although breast cancer is often painless, it is important not to ignore any signs that could be due to breast cancer. If you find a lump or other change in your breast, consult your doctor immediately!
Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?
Women with a lower risk of developing breast cancer should make changes in their daily life may help reduce your risk of breast cancer. They should consult a doctor to begin breast cancer screening exams and tests. These women may choose to become familiar with their breasts by occasionally inspecting their breasts during a breast self-exam for breast awareness. If there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, talk to your doctor promptly.
Limiting the amount of alcohol intake and doing at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week will help to reduce the risk. Those with hormone issues that comes with menopause should use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time. Be determined to maintain healthy weight, and regularly eat a fruit and vegetable diet supplemented with olive oil and nuts.
As for women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer, they may see a doctor to discuss options to reduce your risk. One option is to take medications that block the expansion of estrogen in the body. Studies have shown that a woman’s risk of breast cancer is related to the estrogen and progesterone made by her ovaries. Being exposed to high levels of these hormones has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, as per Breast Cancer Organization.
Another option may be to choose to have a surgery known as prophylactic mastectomy. Consult your doctor to discuss the benefits of such a choice. I am sure you have seen what you need to know about breast cancer.
In conclusion, what should you know about breast cancer? Every woman’s experience with breast cancer depends on the stage it was discovered. Early detection and treatment usually lead to a positive outcome. Regular checks and screening can help detect symptoms early. Women should regularly discuss their options with a doctor.
Do all you can to protect yourself from this deadly disease. Prevention is better than cure! If you have any question and/or thoughts on breast cancer to share, you are welcome to drop your thoughts in the comments section below.