Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women. It affects over 1.5 million women each year.
The risk for breast cancer increases with age and most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50. About 10% of all the new cases are found in younger women. Breast cancer is present in men too, though it is rare.
The average-risk women who are 50 to 74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years. Along with this, Clinical Breast Examination and Self Breast Examination should also be done.
October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Risk factors are increasing age, sedentary lifestyle and family history. Also, no/late pregnancy and hormone therapy, overweight and late menopause after 55. Intake of birth control pills, consumption of alcohol, previous treatment with Radiation therapy, etc. are known as potential risk factors.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer.
Some warning signs are–
- Lump in the breast or underarm
- Thickening or swelling of a part.
- Irritation/ redness of skin
- Pain/pull in the nipple area
- Any change in the shape or size of breast.
- Nipple discharge other than milk
Once diagnosed, it is treated in several ways depending on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. Treatment modalities include Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Hormonal therapy and Biological therapy.
Preventive Measures –
- Periodic screening
- Quit smoking and control alcohol intake
- Eat healthy and stay physically fit
- Avoid radiation exposure