Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, or a red scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer include being female, obesity, lack of physical exercise, drinking alcohol, hormone replacement therapy during menopause, ionizing radiation, early age at first menstruation, having children late or not at all, older age, and family history.
Men also have some breast tissue. And like any other tissue in the body, the cells in a man’s breast can become cancerous.
The first noticeable symptom of breast cancer is typically a lump that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue. More than 80% of breast cancer cases are discovered when the woman feels a lump.The earliest breast cancers are detected by a mammogram. Lumps found in lymph nodes located in the armpits can also indicate breast cancer.
Indications of breast cancer other than a lump may include thickening different from the other breast tissue, one breast becoming larger or lower, a nipple changing position or shape or becoming inverted, skin puckering or dimpling, a rash on or around a nipple, discharge from nipple/s, constant pain in part of the breast or armpit, and swelling beneath the armpit or around the collarbone. Pain is an unreliable tool in determining the presence or absence of breast cancer, but may be indicative of other breast health issue.
A breast lump isn’t necessarily the only sign of breast cancer.
Wearing a bra does not cause breast cancer.You might have seen chain emails suggesting that your bra could give you breast cancer. According to this myth, wearing a bra can compress the lymphatic system in the breast and cause toxins to accumulate. However, there is no scientific evidence that wearing bras can cause breast cancer. Moreover, the mechanism suggested here is scientifically inaccurate.
Breast cancer isn’t associated with having an abortion or miscarriage. Delayed conception can up your risk, though. There are other associations between birth and breast cancer, though. Your risk is linked to exposure to estrogen and progesterone, two hormones produced by the ovaries. This duo can stimulate the growth of breast cells. Exposure to these two hormones is likely to be higher in women who have their first baby at a later age or never give birth at all. As a result, breast cancer risk can increase.
There’s no evidence to link deodorants or antiperspirants to breast cancer.
You can get breast cancer even if no one in your family has it. Don’t disregard symptoms just because it doesn’t run in your family. It’s true that a history of breast cancer on either side of the family can mean a higher risk.
However, every woman has a chance of developing this disease regardless of genetics. A woman is at risk for simply being a woman. In fact, 9 out of 10 women who develop breast cancer don’t have a family history. So don’t disregard symptoms just because it doesn’t run in your family.
Breast implants don’t cause breast cancer. They may, however, up your risk of ALCL, a rare cancer of the immune system. Nevertheless, it’s vital to check with your doctor and understand the risks and complications of breast implants if you’re considering the procedure.
Women who detect any of the following signs or symptoms should tell their doctor:
- A lump in a breast
- A pain in the armpits or breast that does not seem to be related to the woman’s menstrual period
- Pitting or redness of the skin of the breast; like the skin of an orange
- A rash around or on one of the nipples
- A swelling lump in one of the armpits
- An area of thickened tissue in a breast
- One of the nipples has a discharge; sometimes it may contain blood
- The nipple changes in appearance; it may become sunken or inverted
- The size or the shape of the breast changes
- The nipple-skin or breast-skin may have started to peel, scale or flake.
Smoking tobacco appears to increase the risk of breast cancer, with the greater the amount smoked and the earlier in life that smoking began, the higher the risk. In those who are long-term smokers, the risk is increased.
A lack of physical activity has been linked as one of the risk factor associated with breast cancer. Sitting regularly for prolonged periods is associated with higher mortality from breast cancer. The risk is not negated by regular exercise, though it is lowered.
Self-exams alone won’t help catch breast cancer. Assess your risk for breast cancer and get regular checkups. Keep in mind that breast cancer screening tests aren’t free of risk. For instance, mammograms expose your breasts to radiation.
Courtesy: Government Book Talk
Talk to your doctor to assess your need for breast cancer screening. Additionally, the American Cancer Society urges women to get to know how their breasts normally feel and look. This way, any changes can be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Not all breast cancer patients experience their illness in the same manner. Factors such as age can have a significant impact on the way a patient copes with a breast cancer diagnosis.
The emotional impact of cancer diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and related issues can be severe. Most larger hospitals are associated with cancer support groups which provide a supportive environment to help patients cope and gain perspective from cancer survivors.