Breast Cancer Facts Every Woman Should Be Aware Of
Tumor and cancer – both of these bring fear to any woman. However, a tumor is one lump that should not cause too much alarm. This is just an abnormal growth which may not be directly linked to cancer. But then, as this is a lump in the breast; it is but natural for a woman found with a mass in the breast to become fretful. Presence of such a mass can be initially detected by the woman herself through breast self-examination. And when there is such a noticeable mass, you should go to your doctor, instead of fretting and worrying. There are many instances when the discovered lump turns to be non-cancerous but absolutely benign.
The early detection of breast cancer is life-saving, provided treatment is instituted. Breast cancer comes in different stages, the higher stage signifying a more serious condition. The exact cause is yet to be identified. Suffice to know that this illness common to women begins in the cells in the breast or mammary glands. It is good news that with the different advanced treatments, the breast cancer mortality rate today tends to diminish.
There are a number of risk factors associated with breast cancer. These include sex, advancing age, history of breast cancer in the family, genetics and previous incidences of breast lesions. Women who had previous history of benign disease in the breast can also be at risk. Previous exposure to chemicals and radiation had been suspected to be contributory factors to this dreaded disease. Abnormal biopsies in the past can also pose risk.
The specific cause or causes of cancer of the breast as well as the risks remain unverified. And after so many decades of intensive research, the exact mitigating factors remain unknown. In view of this failure, doctors just advise women to understand their risk and eliminate these risks by taking some actions towards reducing them.
Detection and diagnosis
Any abnormality in the breast should be immediately examined. With appropriate tests, the nature of this abnormality can be determined. The first test is physical examination. This can be followed by needle aspiration, mammography and ultrasonography. When there are doubts, in the results needle biopsy and excisional biopsy can be done.
Manifestation of breast cancer usually is found in the upper outer quadrant of the breast, but the lump can be located in any part of the breast – even in the armpit area. This can be a painless and firm mass whose borders are undefined. Aside from lumps, other doubtful manifestations are nipple retraction and unusual discharge from the nipple. Today, women who are aged 35 years old are usually advised to undergo breast ultrasound. For women aged 40 years old, annual mammography is highly recommended.
Treatments for breast cancer
There are different treatments recommended for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The first is surgery which in most serious case is radical mastectomy. This is the removal of the breast, the underlying muscles in the breast and all of the axillary nodes. After surgery, the patient may undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. For patients who had been tested to be estrogen positive may undergo hormone therapy.
There are ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer affliction. You may need some lifestyle changes. Start with observance of proper healthy diet, exercises and quitting smoking. As much as possible keep your weight at normal level. But the most important in reducing your risk is regular self-examination of your breast. Early detection of breast cancer can save your life.