What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the cells of the breast. It is the second most common cancer in females, but has the potential to affect both males and females.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
One of the first signs of breast cancer is a lump in the breast tissue. Other symptoms include a change in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast, dimpling or other skin changes on the breast, inverted nipples, peeling, scaling, crusting, flaking, redness, and pitting of the breast skin.
What causes breast cancer?
There is no known cause of breast cancer, but medical professionals do know that cells in the breast tissue begin to multiply rapidly and out of control. They suspect that it is the result of a combination of genetic makeup and the environment.
Up to 10% of cases are the result of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which are inherited from parents. Risk factors that are not genetic include being female, increasing age, a history of breast cancer or conditions, obesity, exposure to radiation, getting your period at a young age or getting menopause at an old age, never having been pregnant, having a child at an older age, drinking alcohol, and postmenopausal hormone therapy.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
There are multiple methods to diagnose breast cancer, including a breast exam, mammogram, biopsy, ultrasound, and MRI. After doctors have confirmed their diagnosis, additional tests will be performed to stage it. Blood tests, bone scans, PET scans, and CT scans may all be used.
What are the treatments for breast cancer?
Treatment depends on location, size, stage, overall health, and patient preference. Options include a lumpectomy, mastectomy, double mastectomy, and removing a few or several lymph nodes in terms of surgery. Radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy, and supportive care are other options as well.
There are steps that can be taken to prevent breast cancer. One should ask their doctor for breast cancer screenings, as well as perform self-examinations at home. Limiting alcohol and exercising often are other methods to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Along with that comes maintaining a healthy weight and diet. Limiting postmenstrual hormone therapy will also lower the likelihood.