Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are:
- 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.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
What Is a Normal Breast?
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. Breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, or medications. Breasts do change as you age.
What Do Lumps in My Breast Mean?
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
Early warning signs of breast cancer are:
Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts. An increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s) Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples. Nipple discharge other than breast milk.
When to see a doctor for breast cancer?
If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — make an appointment with your doctor for prompt evaluation.
What are Causes of Breast cancer?
Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread through your breast to lymph nodes or to other parts of body.
Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.
Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.
Inherited breast cancer
Doctors estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family.
A number of inherited mutated genes that can increase the likelihood of breast cancer have been identified. The most well-known are breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene2 (BRCA2).
If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, doctor may recommend blood test to help identify specific mutations in BRCA.
How To Prevent Breast cancer?
Breast cancer risk reduction for women with an average risk.
Making changes in your daily life may help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Try to:
Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening. Discuss with your doctor when to begin breast cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Talk with doctor you can decide what breast cancer screening strategies are right for you.
Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam for breast awareness. Women may choose to become familiar with their breasts by occasionally inspecting their breasts during a breast self-exam for breast awareness. If there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, talk to your doctor promptly.
Breast awareness can’t prevent breast cancer, but it may help you to better understand the normal changes that your breasts undergo and identify any unusual signs and symptoms.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.
To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.
Maintain a healthy weight. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day.
Choose Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts. The Mediterranean diet focuses mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, over butter and fish and nuts.