Breast Cancer: Whom It Affects

Breast Cancer: Whom It Affects

Breast cancer is a malignant cancer that is common among women, and is the second most common cancer death among women. The cancerous cells begin to form in one or both breasts. When not treated the cancer can spread outside of the breasts to the lymph nodes, chest wall, ribs and other bones, skin, muscles and vital organs such as the liver, lungs and brain.

The signs or symptoms of breast cancer may include unusual lumps in the breasts, swelling, dimpling or redness of the skin. The nipple may become painful, flaky or inverted. A bloody or other discharge from the nipple is also a sign of breast cancer.

Whom it Affects

Older Women. The cancer mainly affects older women aged 55 and older, and the risk increases as the women age. According to statistics, over 50 percent of breast cancer victims are women over the age of 65. And about 50 percent of these women die of it.

Younger Women. Even though mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40, the cancer can and does develop in younger women. However, only about 7 percent of all breast cancers develop in women aged 40 and under.

Men. Men can also be affected by the cancer, but the risks are very low. Only about 1 percent of breast cancers occur in men. The cancer can occur in men of all ages, however, most are diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70.

Those With High Levels of Estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been linked to the development of the disease. This is the same for both women and men.

Women are exposed to estrogen during their monthly menstrual cycles. Therefore those women who began their menstruating cycles at an early age and ended at a late age are more likely to be affected by breast cancer. In addition, those who never bore a child, or waited until after the age of 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer, as they have had more menstrual cycles.

Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome or cirrhosis also have higher levels of estrogen, and thus are more likely to be affected by breast cancer.

Overweight and obesity in both men and women puts them at a greater risk due to the estrogen that is produced from excess fat tissues.

Some women may receive postmenopausal hormone therapy such as estrogen and progesterone to help with the symptoms of menopause. Studies show that this therapy may also slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Those exposed to Radiation. Exposure to radiation at a young age can also put individuals at a greater risk. Reasons for radiation may be for medical reasons such as treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, or a previous case of cancer.

Lack of Exercise. Not getting enough exercise also plays a role. 1 study showed that those who spent 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 and a half hours of walking each week were able to reduce the risk of the cancer by as much as 18 percent.

Breast Cancer: Whom It Affects

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