October is the Breast cancer awareness month. Each year many people suffer from this deadly disease, some survive and some are lost in the battle. Some of these unfortunate events would have been prevented if those people had proper knowledge of the disease for early identification.
So without further ado, let’s know some facts about this disease.
- Age: The chances of breast cancer increase as we get older.
- Family history: The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have relatives with the disease.
- Menstruation: Women who started their menstrual cycle at a younger age (before 12) or went through menopause later (after 55) have a slightly increased risk.
- Race: White women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but African-American women tend to have more aggressive tumors when they do develop breast cancer.
- Having no children or the first child after age 30 increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding for 1 ½ to 2 years might slightly lower the risk of breast cancer.
- Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Use of oral contraceptives in the last 10 years increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Using combined hormone therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Alcohol use increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Exercise seems to lower the risk of breast cancer.
HOW TO IDENTIFY (Female)
The telltale sign of breast cancer is the development of new lump or mass in the breast.
Further signs are:
- Discharge from nipple or color change of nipple
- Breast or nipple pain
- Swelling of part of the breast or dimpling.
Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer can also occur to men. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1/10 of 1%, or one in 1,000.
Here are some risk factors for breast cancer development in men.
- Radiation exposure
- Hyperestrogenism (a condition marked by the presence of excess estrogen in the body)
- Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
- Men who have several female relatives with breast cancer also have an increased risk for development of the disease.
HOW TO IDENTIFY (Male)
- The most common sign of breast cancer in men is a firm, non-painful mass located just below the nipple.
- Skin changes in the area of the nipple.
- Bloody or opaque discharge from the nipple.
HOW TO CHECK BREASTS FOR BREAST CANCER
Okay… I can realize you are quite freaked out by all these signs and symptoms. But no need to rush to the doctor yet. You can self-check your breasts for any signs of breast cancer at home.
The doctors call it TLC method.
- TOUCH your breasts. Can you feel anything unusual?
- LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
- CHECK anything unusualwith your doctor.
To know about the detailed procedure, I encourage you to go to this link about5 steps for self-breast exam.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO REDUCE THE RISK
Breast cancer can be prevented by controlling some factors:
- Limiting alcohol.
- Controlling weight.
- Getting plenty of physical activity.
- Discontinuing hormone therapy.
- Avoiding exposure to environmental pollution
Let’s spread knowledge about breast cancer among our family and friends. Take initiative, take care of your body and have a long healthy life!
Let us say a little prayer for all the sufferers of breast cancer!
If you have found this article useful, read the latest article on how to build back confidence after breast cancer.
Sifa’s Corner on,
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