Breast Cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when the cells in your breast happen to grow uncontrollably. The cells usually form a tumor that is felt as a lump and detected on an X-ray. This tumor is malignant and as they grow, they are also likely to invade the alternate tissues and spread to almost every other part of your body. Although breast cancer is primarily observed in women, men too can be diagnosed with this ailment. Cells from almost any part of the body can become carcinogenic after which they can spread to your breasts and breast tissues. Although breast cancer is usually identified by lumps, other relevant symptoms are thickened breast tissues, swollen breasts, rash around your nipples and headaches. In the following section, we will give you a detailed insight on some facts that you did not know about breast cancer.
Although almost all women have a possibility of developing breast cancer, the risk is relatively higher for those who had been exposed to radiation treatments in and around the area of their chest as a child or teenager. This exposure often happens in an attempt to treat other types of cancer. So if you received radiation exposure at a very young age, it would be a good idea to consult your doctor and check with him.
Spreads from various parts of your breast
Usually, breast cancer happens to start from different parts of your breast. Most of these cancers usually begin in the ducts that are used for carrying milk to your nipples. Some others might also start from the glands that are likely to make breast milk. Certain types of breast cancers, known as sarcomas and lymphomas are also observed in women. However, these tumors are not really common and often not considered to be breast cancer.
In most cases it is seen that women who experience menopause after the age of fifty-five have a high possibility of getting breast cancer. This also applies for women who had their periods early, before the age of twelve. Because of these increased risks, women over the age of forty should make it a point to perform timely self-breast exams to identify the carcinogenic cells, if any. They should also receive proper mammograms to ensure that their breasts have no abnormalities. This is all the more relevant for women who are currently experiencing menopause.
Using birth control methods
Although no studies suggest that all the women who use birth control pills have a possibility of breast cancer, researches do suggest that women who use pills with high chemical content or progestin only injectible birth control pills, might have a greater risk of getting breast cancer than the ones who haven’t used them, or have used them in moderation. The research further suggests that the risks and possibilities are no longer there, if a woman stops taking the birth control pills after a period of time. It is therefore highly recommended to take pills that are safe and that can be taken orally.
Hormone therapy after menopause
Very often, post-menopause hormone therapy can also increase the chances of breast cancer. By hormone therapy, we are talking about combined hormone therapy that involves with taking your progesterone and estrogen and altering their levels. However, this issue is not persistent. Like birth control, this risk happens to reach the normal state, after the hormone therapy has been stopped for a period of time. So if you are going through menopause and are thinking about taking a hormone therapy, it would be a good decision to discuss with your doctor before making any final decision.
Thick breast tissues
Doctors and medical professionals often directly link dense breast tissues with a greater risk of breast cancer. Besides increasing your risks of getting breast cancer, these dense tissues also make it all the more difficult for detecting the lumps. In an attempt to combat and deal with this issue, several states have passed legal orders according to which physicians should immediately disclose to women about their mammogram report, if they are seen to have dense breast tissues. Consult your physician to know if you have dense breasts during your following mammogram exam and also consult with them about the things that you can do in order to combat this issue.
Lumps are not the only symptom of breast cancer
Although the most common sign of breast cancer is lump, it is also true that about eighty percent of these lumps are benign. Other symptoms might include persistent itching in and around your breast, a small bump (like a bug bite) on your skin, discharge from your nipple and so on. In any case, if you happen to see your breast change in a weird of mysterious way then it is likely to be a potential symptom. So always try to take care of this issue and if anything persists for more than a couple of weeks, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor. Even in the case of lumps, you are likely to observe a small protuberant thing that is both solid and immobile. It will look like a marble, frozen pea or any hard stuff fixed in its place. Although something like this immediately does not suggest cancer, but if it does not diminish in size after a couple of weeks and eventually grow larger, the consult a doctor immediately.
Women drinking alcohol have a high possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer. This risk eventually increases with the amount and content of alcohol you consume. When compared to non drinkers, women who usually have one alcoholic drink every day have a pretty small increase in the risk. Again, the ones who take about two to five drinks have two times the risk than the ones who are non alcoholic in the first place. Excessive consumption of alcohol can also increase other possible types of cancer. Due to this reason, it is also recommended by the American Cancer Society to not take more than one alcoholic drink every day.