Its always difficult to talk about Cancer and Breast Cancer: For most people, to talk about cancer is to dive into a catastrophic, painful, fear-filled, and uncertain subject. Diagnosing this disease is a stress trigger, for both the person and for his or her family and friends. Thus, the subject is avoided at all costs. However, becoming knowledgeable of this topic is a way to overcome it.
Cancer is the third leading cause of death in our country. It is estimated that there are 148,000 new cancer cases each year. Approximately 65,000 of these cases occur among men, and 82,000 among women. The highest women lethality rate in the nation is caused by breast cancer. It is a disease that affects 1 in 8 women.
What is Breast Cancer?
The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that develops in the mammary cells. This happens when cells in the breast begin to grow uncontrollably, invading the tissues or even spreading to different parts of the body.
Where Does Breast Cancer Start?
Breast cancer generally begins in the ducts that carry milk to the nipples; this type of cancer is called “ductal carcinoma.” It may also originate in the milk-producing glands, called “lobular carcinoma.” Another kind begins in the tissues inside the breast. These are called sarcomas and lymphomas, and they are not considered cancer.
Many of these can cause a protrusion, lump, or mass in the breast, but not all do. It is important to understand that most breast lumps are not cancerous but benign. Nevertheless, they may increase the risk of developing this disease in the future.
What Are the Causes of Breast Cancer?
In general, the cause of the cancer’s origin is unknown. Thus, one cannot affirm that it affects a certain typology of women. However, the medical field has looked for factors that may indicate a greater probability of suffering from this disease.
These are the most common breast cancer risk factors
- Aging: there is an increased risk after the age of 45.
- Genetics: mutations in the genes BRCA1 and 2 cause abnormal cell growth.
- Menstruation/menopause: Early menstruation and/or late menopause.
- Pregnancy: Absence of pregnancies and/or late pregnancy
- Alcohol consumption: Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Sedentarism: A sedentary life due to lack of exercise.
- Radiation: Having been exposed to radiation, especially in the breast.
Nonetheless, there are women who suffer from breast cancer despite not exhibiting any risk factors, and there are some who do present risk factors that never develop the disease.
What about breast cancer symptoms and its early signs?
At first, there may not be any symptoms, but in some cases the first sign is a lump or mass. According to the American Cancer Association, any of the following unusual changes in the breast may be a sign:
Inflammation of part of the breast or the whole breast.
- Skin irritation or pit formation.
- Breast pain.
- Nipple pain or inversion of the nipple.
- Redness, scaling or thickening of the nipple or of the breast’s skin.
- Secretion produced in the nipple.
- A lump in the armpits.
How to Overcome Breast Cancer?
Since the cause of breast cancer is unknown even to this day, it is a disease that cannot be prevented, but it is possible to detect it in its early stages. Detecting this disease and performing the right treatment is the key to achieving a real cure.
An early diagnosis remains a very important strategy in making this disease vulnerable to curative treatment. The most effective early detection method is a mammography. Women aged 40 and older with a high genetic risk factor should perform it every year. Women between the ages of 50 and 69, should get a mammogram every two years.
Your Hands, Your Best Friends in early detection of Breast Cancer
Periodically perform a breast self-examination. Not all cancer cases can be detected this way, but it remains an important step that you can and should do on your own. A breast self-exam is an essential and useful method of self-revision, especially if combined with mammograms.
About 20% of breast cancer cases are detected during a physical self-examination and not with a mammogram. Therefore, always keep in mind that no one knows your body better than yourself.
Come join us and get involved!! join OCTOBER PINK AT HOSPITAL CMQ in the prevention, awareness and fight against Breast Cancer. Get to know this disease, talk to your doctor, and do not let fear stop you from having access to an early and correct detection.