There is no reason to worry about something that you don’t understand. Breast cancer leads to an aimless killer’s stigma, but there is a lot about this condition that people do not know. If you are scared about it, you should understand why it is reasonable to worry sometimes and why at times, it isn’t.
Breast Cancer Statistics
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 276,480 new invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in women in 2020 in the United States. About 48,530 new cases of CIS (carcinoma in situ) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the most primitive form of breast cancer). Also, about 42,170 women will die from the condition.
These numbers are vital as breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Still, another critical number is to put these into prospect: The total number of women living in the United States is over 130 million. Over four million of these are breast cancer survivors (including women still being treated and those who have finished treatment).
It is a severe disease and should be taken seriously. Still, it is by no means a death sentence thanks to advancements in medicine and improving understanding of cancer’s association to the body.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to grow out of control. These cells often develop a tumor, which may be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is deemed malignant (cancer) if the cells invade neighboring tissues or metastasize to the body’s different areas. While the disease occurs in women, men can get it too.
Most breast cancers start in the tiny milk ducts (ductal cancers), while others begin in the glands that produce breast milk (lobular cancers). There are also other, less common forms. It is important to note that not all produce a lump in the breast, so being aware of different signs and symptoms is valuable. Any change or lump needs to be checked by a physician.
Mutations in DNA can cause healthy breast cells to become cancerous. Specific DNA changes can be derived from parents and can significantly increase a person’s breast cancer chance. Other significant factors include lifestyle factors such as what you eat or your level of exercise. While research is still being carried in this area, there is an agreement that eating a healthy diet, managing a healthy weight, exercising daily, and dodging any known risk factors can help reduce one’s risk. Hormones are known to play a role in many breast cancer cases.
How to detect Breast Cancer?
Since a lady knows her own breasts, it is simpler to detect differences in her breast tissue than for her doctor. Checking your breasts each month, in addition to your doctor’s exam once a year, will help recognize variations as quickly as possible. Other than lumps, watch for other signs of cancer, including:
- Any change in the color, size, or shape of the breasts. Please do this by matching them in a mirror monthly. Compare them to each other and to how they looked the past month.
- Any abnormal discharge should be noted and communicated to your doctor.
- Crustiness or scaliness on the breasts, mainly around the nipple.
- Any weird dimples in the breasts.
- Any thickening of the breast tissue or limps.
- Asymmetry, any variation in the shapes of the breasts.
Breast Cancer Screening- Mammography
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that usually can detect cancers that are too small for a lady or her physician to feel. Screening detects breast cancer at a reasonably early stage when a cure is more likely. The amount of radiation required to produce a clear mammogram (picture) varies with breast density and size. To avoid unnecessary exposure, it is highly desirable to use the weakest possible dose of radiation needed.
A mammogram cannot differentiate between a malignant or benign tumor and thus is not 100% perfect. However, mammography detects over 90% of all breast cancer though negative mammography does not certainly indicate its absence. Mammography and clinical examination are complementary, and if there is a strong suspicion of a palpable lesion, the only way to make a definite diagnosis is by having a biopsy.
The results of many extensive studies have convincingly shown that breast cancer screening by mammography reduces mortality by approximately 30% in women older than 55 years. The American Cancer Society states that women of 40 to 49 should receive screening mammograms every one to two years. Yearly mammography screening is recommended for women 50 years and above.