The mention of breast cancer stirs up some apprehension. This is justifiable since it’s the second largest cause of cancer death in women, killing 20.5 in every 100,000 in the US alone; but it should not be so. This is because most of its symptoms at early stages are easily identifiable, and it’s mostly due to negligence that it progresses most times.
Here are some of the signs that may indicate the presence of breast cancer?
- Lumps: Presence of lumps or ‘seeds’ in the breast. This sign is present in over 80% of breast cancer cases in the world.
- Change of breast shape (mostly one breast becoming bigger or hanging lower than the other)
- Change of nipple shape, position or it inverting (turning inwards
- Rash on or around nipples
- Swelling beneath the armpit or around the collar bone
- Skin puckering, scaling, or dimpling on the breast – it starts to look like the skin of an orange
- Constant pain the breast or armpit.
- Discharge from the nipple
- Thickening different from normal breast tissue.
Observation of the breast, especially in front of the mirror will easily detect most of this indication. Myths that everywoman has ‘seeds’ in her breasts should be disregarded, as any noticed lump should be reported to your doctor for better evaluation and more advanced tests. However, fewer than 20% of noticed lumps that are cancerous, so noticing any shouldn’t bring panic.
A common question asked is “What causes breast cancer?” No one knows for sure what ‘causes’ breast cancer, but there are a number of factors called ‘risk factors’ that have been being associated with the disease. Risk factors in the sense that they increase the likelihood of a person developing breast cancer. Primary among them is being a woman and age (the older one gets, the greater the risk). Other factors shall be listed and explained bellow
- Lifestyle: High intake of tobacco and alcohol has been associated with a risk of cancer in women. Teenage smokers have their risk level increased by 50%. Also, having a sedentary lifestyle with prolonged sitting and inactivity are also risk factors.
- Dietary patterns: High fatty food is also a risk factor
- Not bearing children or not breastfeeding
- High levels of certain hormones
- Association has also been made between the use of hormonal birth controls and premenopausal breast cancer.
- Heredity: It has been observed that some forms of breast cancer are hereditary so having a family member that experienced it is also a risk factor.
The disease can however be treated with a variety of methods mostly depending on its stage. For some – usually early stage cases – surgical removal of the lump with the cancerous tissue solves the problem. Other treatment methods are Chemotherapy,
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence, as it’s treatable (especially more easily when it’s still in early stages). Women are advised to regularly check their breasts in front of a mirror, and don’t disregard any sign they see without consulting their doctors. As women advance in age they are further advised to run tests usually twice a year. Also, women are advised to live a more active life, eat healthy and watch the risk factors. Most of all draw closer to God; he’s the one that created your body, as awesome and complex as it is.