Breast Cancer Symptoms
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. The disease can occur in men although breast cancer in males is only a tiny proportion of all who are diagnosed – approximately 1%. As a matter of interest, breast cancer in women has been, in recent years, on the increase and why this is so is a matter of debate.
There are many symptoms of breast cancer and many factors involved in the risk of contracting the disease. Whether or not you fit into the risk areas and whether or not you find you have one or more of the symptoms, every woman should have a regular health check particularly once they reach the age of forty.
Symptoms you may find for possible breast cancer include the following:
o A lump or thickening near the underarm or breast
o Any change in the shape or the size of the breast
o Any change in the feel or appearance of the breast
o Any discharge from the nipple
o Swelling in the breast or breast area
These are the most common symptoms. If one or more occur you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Remember that such symptoms do not mean you have breast cancer but that they are the symptoms often found in women who develop the disease. In fact a cyst or an infection may have a similar symptom to those of cancer but have none of the possible serious implications of cancer.
As well as the above symptoms, there are various stages or categories where it is believed that there is a higher than normal risk of contracting the disease. These beliefs are based on a series of studies which have been conducted over many years. Some studies are on-going. These factors or categories include the following:
o Age – three-quarters of all diagnosed cases of breast cancer occur in women aged 50 or older
o Family history – if there is a history of the disease in your family
o Time of body changes – the early beginnings to menstruation [younger than 12] or the later onset of menopause [older than 55]
o Childless women or those who have their first child after the age of 35
o Women who taken the oral contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy
The point needs to be reinforced that the above factors or categories are believed to present a case where the risk of breast cancer is higher than the average but there is no certainty in predicting that the disease will occur at all because a woman fits into one or more of these factors.
One of the most important factors in the treatment of breast cancer involves the early detection of the disease. Any symptom must be reported immediately. In fact success in beating breast cancer is directly related to the time it takes to diagnose the disease in its early stages.
The main point to understand is that being aware of your body, self-examination and regular check-ups brings a certain peace of mind, and should the worst happen, you are in the best position to defeat the disease.