After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic. Women have a 13% risk of developing cancer (meaning 1 in 8), but there are 7 to 8 chances that the disease will never happen. However, not only women are susceptible to this, but a study by the NHS states that men over 60 can also be affected. Breast cancer affects everyone with breasts.
Fortunately, survival rates have increased significantly, thanks to technological advances and increased access to research funding. According to scientists and specialized agencies, the key is early detection, which is only achieved through constant education about the subject. The Mayo Clinic indicates that the number of deaths associated with this disease continues to decline, primarily due to earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment, and a better understanding of the disease.
According to the CDC, breast cancer is a disease in which breast cells multiply uncontrollably. There are different types of breast cancer. However, breast cancer depends on what breast cells become cancerous.
Breast cancer can start in different parts of the breast. The breasts have three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The most effective tools to diagnose it are self-examination and cancer screening.
Breast cancer screening tests involve checking a woman's breast for cancer before signs or symptoms of the disease appear. All women should receive information from their health care provider about the best screening options. Mammograms or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests are highly recommended.
What are the symptoms?
Although symptoms vary from person to person, some indicators could help detect breast cancer. It is crucial to consult with your medical provider and have annual checkups because sometimes, there are no visible disease symptoms. The CDC highlights some warning signs of breast cancer:
New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
Pulling in the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
Pain in any area of the breast.
Research has shown that the risk of breast cancer depends on a combination of factors. The main factors influencing a person's risk include being a woman and age. According to CDC data, most breast cancers are found in women 50 and older. A risk factor does not mean the person will have the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Learn more about risk factors on the CDC website.
How to prevent it
Although each case is different, there are numerous things you can do to prevent breast cancer. Mayo Clinic highlights:
Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening.
Become familiar with your breasts through a breast self-exam for breast awareness.
Drink alcohol in moderation or cut it off completely.
Exercise most days of the week.
Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Choose a healthy diet.
Learn about breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment on the CDC website.