Facts of breast cancer
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in one or both of the breasts. It usually develops in the ducts or lobules, also known as the milk-producing areas of the breast. There are several kinds of invasive breast cancers. The most common type is invasive ductal carcinoma, which appears in the ducts and accounts for about 80 percent of all breast cancer cases. There are differences in the various types of invasive breast cancer, but the treatment options are similar for all of them.
Breast cancer should be a major concern for all women today since it is the single most common type of cancer in women. There is about a 15% chance of developing breast cancer by the age of 90 if you are a woman and have a healthy lifestyle. This percentage may not sound like a lot, but it is one of the highest as far as cancer risks go. You can lower this risk by having a breast cancer test frequently.
Have a basic mammogram regularly
The basic mammogram is the most effective test available even though it can be uncomfortable for some women. During the time of your test, keep thinking, “This may save my life.” It will help you get through it. You do not want to wait for symptoms to develop before getting your mammogram, as symptoms don’t usually become clear until the cancer is already in its later stages of growth. Usually, if the cancer has hit the later stages it is more difficult to treat and more likely has spread to other parts of the body. You may feel like a mammogram is too unpleasant, but terminal cancer is without a doubt worse than the test. Please make the breast cancer test part of your annual check-up.
Self-examination for breast cancer
Also, as soon as you reach the puberty age, it is a good idea to carry out your own breast cancer test, which you can do on a regular basis in the privacy of your own home. A pamphlet describing how this should be done can be picked up at your local doctor’s office or health department. Most breast cancer occurs in women over 40, but there are also cases found in younger women, even teen girls, each year. Cancer does not have a certain age or time when it occurs. You just need to check yourself regularly for any lumps or other unusual occurrences. During self-examination, look for a lump or thickening in the breast, a discharge from the nipple, scaliness on the skin or around the nipple, a change in shape, color, or texture, and dimpling or puckering. If you detect a lump, don’t panic. About 85-percent of all lumps turn out to be nonmalignant. However, it is important that you make an appointment immediately with your doctor for a more thorough examination, and tests. Treatment for breast cancer today is often less radical than in years past, and chances for survival much better when the tumor is discovered early.
Breast cancer risks
Your chances of developing breast cancer are slightly higher if there is a history of such cancer in your family. So, if you don’t have anyone in your immediate family that has had breast cancer, this is very good news. But unfortunately, many families do have a history. With or without a family history, you still should have regular checkups.
Most people do not realize that there is a 1% occurrence of breast cancer in men. But there are still many more men that are never diagnosed with breast cancer, but they do have it. Keep up with your self-examination and your regular mammogram since your chances of survival are much greater if the cancer is found early.
Awareness month makes positive changes
Also, remember that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and is observed all over the world thanks to National Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast cancer month has been extremely successful in making more women aware of the signs of breast cancer. More women than ever are now getting their annual mammogram and this has contributed to a greater survival rate for cancer patients. Many women have lost their lives to this devastating disease, and this is the main reason why efforts must be continued to teach all women young and old about breast cancer and the risk factors.
Be a true friend or family member and help educate your loved ones about breast cancer and early detection. You may save their lives.
Some more tips
• Women 40 years and older should have a mammogram every one to two years.
• If you have breast implants, be sure to tell the mammography facility when you make your appointment.
• You can control some risk factors such as being overweight or smoking.
• Studies have shown that women who eat a lot of red and processed meats may be more likely to develop breast cancer.
• Post-menopausal women who eat a healthy amount of plant foods rich in estrogenrich compounds called lignans may reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
• Studies show that a high-fat diet can increase cancer risk.
By Jean Pardue