Breast Cancer

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Breast Cancer?BC-ribbon

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women.

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.

Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

Some of the possible signs of breast cancer include:
  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Don't delay contacting your physician if you experience any of these signs. These signs may also be associated with other medical conditions also. Remember, early detection saves lives!

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

  • Gender - Simply being a woman is thBye main risk factor for developing breast cancer. Men can develop breast cancer, but this disease is about 100 times more common among women than men. This is probably because men have less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can promote breast cancer cell growth
  • Aging - 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers can be found in women over 55.
  • Family history of breast cancer - Having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman's risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold.
  • Genetic Risk Factors - About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they result directly from gene defects (called mutations) inherited from a parent.
  • Dense breast tissue - Women who have more glandular and fibrous tissue and less fatty tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Oral contraceptives - Studies have found that women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.

Know Your Risk and Get Screened

  • Begin with your family history, talk with both parents to learn your family health history and then talk with your family physician about the results.
  • By age 40 get your first mammogram if you are at average risk.
  • Have a Clinical Breast Exam, performed by your physician every three years beginning at age 20 and every year once you reach age 40.
  • Know what is normal for you and contact your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

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