We can’t let the month of October pass by without celebrating the fact that the month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is abnormal growth of the cells of the breast. Though it is more common in women, it can also occur in men. It is important to examine your breast regularly and note if there are changes. Some changes that may signify cancer, to look out for include:
• A lump or thickening of breast tissue that feels different from surrounding breast tissue
• A lump in one or both armpits
• Change in the skin of the breast eg giving the appearance of orange peel/skin of an orange
• Change in the shape, size or general appearance of the breast
• Nipple discharge (especially if it’s bloody) or recent inversion of the nipple
• Scaly skin around the nipple
Breast cancer may be inherited and so having a family history of breast cancer puts one at greater risk of having this. Other risk factors for breast cancer include:
• Being female
• Starting period at an early age….earlier than 12 years
• Starting menopause at a later age
• Hormone therapy during menopause
• Having first baby at age older than 35 years
• Increasing age: The older one is, the more at risk of breast cancer one gets
• Exposure to radiation like X-rays. That’s why people who work in environments where these tests are done have to wear protective clothing when running the tests.
• Drinking alcohol
If breast cancer is caught early, one has a greater chance of survival. Treatment of breast cancer depends on the stage of the disease, type of breast cancer, grade, size and how sensitive the cancers cells are to hormones. Treatment options include surgery (removal of lump or removal of whole breast or removal of lymph nodes), chemotherapy (medications that destroy cancer cells) and radiotherapy (using irradiation like X-rays to destroy cancer cells).
• Prevention of breast cancer in people with average risks includes:
• Eating healthy
• Keeping a healthy weight within the BMI
• Stopping or limiting alcohol use
• Speaking to your doctor about screening options open to you. Mammograms used to advocated for women 40 years and over. The new recommendation from American Cancer Society earlier this month recommends annual mammogram for women at moderate risk of cancer from 45 to 54 years of age and then every two years from 55 years onwards. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mammogram guidelines recommend screening from 50 to 74 years.
So, be sure to discuss with your doctor so he can advice on your best options based on your personal history.
For related topics, please click on the links below:
Have a great weekend everyone!