October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As scientists and medical professionals are actively working on effective breast cancer (BC) treatments, it has been constantly appearing in many clinical journals and media outlets.
Here are 25 things about breast cancer that everyone needs to know.
1. Women are more susceptible to breast cancer compared to men
It can also occur in men, but it is much more common in women.
2. The primary indication of breast cancer is the presence of a tumor which looks like a lump and can be detected in mammograms
If you feel some sort of unusual lump while touching your breasts, please don't ignore it! It is recommended that you go to your doctor and have a mammogram done.
3. Most types of breast cancers originate in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple, known as ductal cancers
The ducts are one of the areas where breast cancer can first appear.
4. Breast cancers can also form in the breast milk-making glands known as lobular cancers
The milk-making glands of the breast are also potential locations where the cancer can develop.
5. Detecting breast cancer early can lead to effective treatment and potential cure
There have been many highly metastatic cases detected extremely late with minimal hopes of survival. Please be proactive about your health!
6. Symptoms could range from underlying changes in breast size, shape, or overall appearance
If you notice any type of abnormal morphological changes in your breasts, there is a high chance that there may be something clinically wrong. Consider this to be one of the warning signs of breast cancer!
7. Breast cancer can be inherited by two mutated genes — BRCA1 and BRCA2
Scientific research demonstrated that breast cancer could be a genetic disease. If it runs in your family, you will have to keep that in mind moving forward in terms of living a healthy life.
8. Environmental, lifestyle, and hormonal factors could potentially increase susceptibility to breast cancer
Besides genetic factors, environmental factors can also promote the onset of breast cancer. Strive for a healthy and active lifestyle to limit the risk of detrimental health conditions.
9. Women who have never been pregnant are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer
This can be a potential risk factor for women.
10. Women who give birth to their firstborn after the age of 30 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer
Scientific research has proved that women who give birth to their first child after the age of 30 are in the high-risk group for breast cancer.
11. As you age, the chances of you being affected by breast cancer subsequently increase as well
Age has been a major factor leading to heightened susceptibility towards many diseases and breast cancer is one of them.
12. Obesity is a proven risk factor
Obese women tend to exhibit increased chances of getting affected by breast cancer.
13. If you start having periods before you turn 12, then you are at an increased risk
Having your first period before the age of 12 can also increase the chances of breast cancer.
14. Radiation exposure increases the risk of breast cancer
This is known to be one of the risk factors associated with breast cancer.
15. Women who begin postmenopausal hormone therapy are more susceptible to developing breast cancer
Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy, a combination of both estrogen and progesterone medications, can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
16. Alcohol use is also a risk factor and should be consumed in moderation
Limiting the use of alcohol can prevent breast cancer.
17. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will decrease the risk of developing BC
A healthy lifestyle consists of balancing a health BMI, moderate intake of alcohol, and a regular exercise regimen.
18. Stage 0 refers to a non-invasive tumor where cancer only attacks the inside of the milk duct
Stage 0 is usually known as the "non-metastatic" stage and there are more potential cures if diagnosed at Stage 0.
19. Stages I-III require radiation and surgical treatment
In stages I-III, cancer metastasizes to many lymph nodes located in close proximity to each other.
20. Stage IV refers to metastatic breast cancer because cancer metastasizes beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body
A systemic (drug) therapy is usually the first line of treatment during this stage.
21. Estrogen-blocking medications (i.e. selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors) can work to decrease breast cancer risk in patients who are already high risk
These medications have the potential to decrease breast cancer risk in patients already at high risk.
Women who are at high risk can opt for the surgical removal of their healthy breasts medically known as prophylactic mastectomy
The surgical removal of healthy breasts is known to mitigate the possibility of having breast cancer in women who already are at high risk.
23. Women should become more interested in learning more about breast cancer as it can affect all women even if they are asymptomatic or have no genetic history of it
Breast cancer can arise in all women, even if they experience no symptoms or genetic history of having it.
24. Women should be more proactive and ask their doctor about the disease if they have further questions
Asking your doctor about your health is always crucial towards a healthy and happier life. This should definitely be a constant mantra in your life.
25. Breast exams and mammograms should be conducted routinely to ensure early detection and awareness!
It is all up to you to prioritize your health over all things, as health is always wealth!