Breast Cancer - Be AwarePhoto Courtesy of Alwyck at www.sxc.hu By Brian Bowie
The word breast cancer strikes fear in the hearts of manywomen. It pays to be aware of what breast cancer is andhow you can prevent. Here are some facts about breastcancer every woman should know…What Should I Know About Breast Cancer?Some studies indicate that breast cancer in women issecond only to skin cancer. It is also possible for men todevelop breast cancer; women are up to 100 times morelikely to develop it than men.Other studies and research indicate breast cancer is thesecond leading cause of death from cancer in women. Thefirst leading cause is lung cancer. Some of this research atthe time of this writing indicates the chance of dying frombreast cancer is one in 33, but that number is decreasingas new forms of treatment and early detection are beingimplemented.
Breast cancer takes several forms and can occur indifferent parts of the breast. The traditional form oftreatment is with radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. Thetype of treatment that the doctor will prescribe depends onthe type of cancer, how far it has spread and where it islocated which treatment program is determined for anyindividual.The great news is that due to the increased awareness ofbreast cancer and its consequence, there has been agreat deal of progress in curing and preventing breastcancer. If you find that you do have a high risk of breastcancer due to lifestyle, family history or other factors thenyou should definitely discuss with your doctor anypreventative measures you should be taking.Who is More Likely to Get It?Some research (at the time the research) was conductedindicates that 1 in 8 women in the US will experiencesome form of breast cancer in her lifetime. Of course withimprovements in breast cancer awareness, prevention andtreatment, this numbers will probably get better.
Research indicates that every women is at risk of breastcancer, however there are certain factors that canincrease this risk in certain women. Now just because youare at a higher risk does not mean that you will developbreast cancer and just because you do not have these riskfactors does not mean thatSome of the common factors that increase the risk ofbreast cancer are smoking, age and family history.Of the three, only smoking can be controlled. The othertwo cannot. As you get older the risk of breast cancer getsgreater. This means that as you get older you shoulddefinitely become more vigilant in preventative measures.Some research (at the time of the research) indicates thatalmost 8 out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancerare over 50. You risk will also increase if someone else inyour family has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
A couple of other increased risk factors that should beconsidered are as follows: 1. Caucasian women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer but African-American women more often die from the disease. Asians, Hispanics and American Indian women are at a lower risk. 2. If you started your menstruation before age 12, you are at an increased risk of breast cancer. 3. If you go through menopause after 55, this will also slightly increase the risk. 4. If you took the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) may increase the risk of breast cancer 5. Not eating correctly, not exercising and using alcohol all may increase the risk. 6. Long term use of hormone replacement therapy may also increase the risk. 7. Using birth control pills also may increase the risk of breast cancer.The good news is that if you eat healthy, exercise, reduceyou alcohol consumption, have children and breastfeed foras long as 1 1/2 to 2 years, your risk of breast cancer maybe reduced.
What Can I Do to Reduce the Risk?The most important thing you can do is to check yourbreasts at least monthly to look for lumps. If you find anylumps, then you need to have your doctor check theselumps out to ensure they are not cancer. The reason forthis is that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, thebetter the chances that it can be healed.You should consider following the American CancerSociety recommendations for how to do a breast examand also when and how often you should get a clinicalbreast examination by a health care professional. Youshould also follow the advice of how often to getmammograms from your doctor,You should also report to your doctor any changes in thebreast including dimpling, swelling, discharges other thanmilk or any other change to the nipple. It is likely that theseare not a form of breast cancer, but if they are you willwant to get treatment early since this is one of the keyfactors in healing breast cancer.