Family History And Inherited Genes
Some people have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the general population because other members of their family have had particular cancers. This is called a family history of cancer.
Having a mother, sister or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer increases the risk of breast cancer. This risk is higher when more close relatives have breast cancer, or if a relative developed breast cancer under the age of 50. But most women who have a close relative with breast cancer will never develop it.
Some people have an increased risk of breast cancer because they have an inherited gene fault. We know about several gene faults that can increase breast cancer risk and there are tests for some of them. Having one of these faulty genes means that you are more likely to get breast cancer than someone who doesnt. But it is not a certainty.
Two of these faulty genes are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These are not common. Only about 2 out of every hundred of breast cancers are related to a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Ionising radiation includes tests such as x-rays and CT scans and treatment such as radiotherapy.
How Can I Detect My Breast Cancer Early
The best way for young women to find breast cancer early is to be breast self-aware. Become familiar with your breasts: their shape, size and what they feel like. Learn what is normal for you. Sometimes your breasts may change throughout your monthly cycle. If you are pregnant or nursing, your breasts will change even more dramatically. If you find anything unusual, see your doctor immediately and insist on a diagnosis. In general, women should have a yearly clinical breast examination by a doctor beginning at age 20 and start having annual mammograms beginning at age 45.
Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer With Early Detection And Prevention
When it comes to cancer, early detection is important, but so is reducing your risk. There are several healthy lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Stay lean after menopause. Keep a healthy weight and a low amount of body fat. Eating a healthy diet can help.
Get active and sit less. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Do strength-training exercises at least two days a week.
Avoid alcohol. If you drink, limit yourself to one drink per day if you are a woman, and two drinks per day if you are a man.
Choose to breastfeed. Try to breastfeed exclusively for six months after giving birth, and continue even when other foods are introduced.
Manage hormones naturally. If you are going through menopause and trying to control the symptoms, try non-hormonal methods before turning to hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, get regular breast cancer screening exams. Screening exams can detect cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat. Women age 25 to 39 should consider a clinical breast exam every one to three years. Women 40 and older should get an annual breast exam and a screening mammogram.
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What Is The Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence
The risk of recurrence depends on the type of breast cancer and its stage. Timing matters, too: The highest risk of recurrence for breast cancer patients is during the first few years after treatment.
At the Johns Hopkins Breast Center, our team of breast cancer specialists monitors patients who are at risk of recurrence, Lange explains. The follow-up schedule depends on the stage of cancer, what kind of treatment has been received and prognostic factors. The risk of recurrence decreases as time goes on, but never gets down to zero.
Inherited Breast Cancer And Risk Reduction
Family history is a known risk factor for breast cancer, with elevated risk due to both increasing number and decreasing age of first-degree relatives affected. For example, in a large, population-based study, risk of breast cancer was increased 2.9-fold among women whose relative was diagnosed prior to age 30, but the increase was only 1.5-fold if the affected relative was diagnosed after age 60 years.90 While twin studies indicate familial aggregation among women diagnosed with breast cancer, identification of true germline mutations, including BRCA1, BRCA2, p53 , PTEN , and STK11 , are quite rare, on the order of 5%-6%.91â93 However, the management of young women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer via a germline mutation requires careful consideration, as screening, risk reduction, and implications for relatives are of upmost importance.
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Women At Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer
Factors that greatly increase breast cancer risk include :
- A personal history of invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ
- A personal history of lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia
- Radiation treatment to the chest area between ages 10-30
- Li-Fraumeni, Cowden/PTEN or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome
- An ATM, BARD1, BRIP1, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, NF1, PALB2, PTEN, RAD51C, RAD51D, STK11 or TP53 inherited gene mutation
- A greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of invasive breast cancer based mainly on family history
Figure 3.5 below outlines the National Comprehensive Cancer Network breast cancer screening guidelines for women at higher than average risk up to age 75.
The NCCN recommends women older than 75 talk with their health care providers about a breast cancer screening plan thats right for them.
Figure 3.6 below outlines the American Cancer Society breast cancer screening guidelines for women at higher than average risk .
Figure 3.5: NCCN breast cancer screening recommendations for women at higher than average risk
Radiation Therapy And Mastectomy
Most people who have mastectomy dont need radiation therapy if theres no cancer in the lymph nodes.
In some cases, radiation therapy is used after mastectomy to treat the chest wall, the axillary lymph nodes and/or the lymph nodes around the collarbone.
For a summary of research studies on mastectomy versus lumpectomy plus radiation therapy and overall survival in early breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
For a summary of research studies on radiation therapy following mastectomy for invasive breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
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Playing An Active Role
You play an active role in making treatment decisions by understanding your breast cancer diagnosis, your treatment options and possible side effects.
Together, you and your health care provider can choose treatments that fit your values and lifestyle.
The National Academy of Sciences released the report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis. Susan G. Komen® was one of 13 organizations that sponsored this study.
The report identified key ways to improve quality of care:
Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Most breast cancer symptoms are discovered by women during regular dailyactivities like bathing. Knowing how your breasts look and feel, andbeing alert for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump,can help you detect the disease early, when it’s easiest to treat.
Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or conditions that are less worrying than breast cancer. However, if you experience any of the following breast cancer symptoms, even if they seem mild, see your doctor.
- A lump in the breast or armpit is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Patients often describe this as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. Unless you have small breasts or the lump is very large, you probably wont be able to see it.
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
Though rare, men can also get breast cancer. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a lump, discharge or dimpling.
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How You Can Play A Part
Given the high prevalence of this disease, talking and generating awareness regarding this topic can really make a difference.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by understanding the early signs and symptoms and the importance of screening.
This is all the more reason to create awareness about breast cancer, not only in the month of October, but year-round.
Together, we can make a huge impact. So, play your part in spreading the word, as well as donating to breast cancer charities and research initiatives that aim to find novel cures for the disease.
Clinical Breast Exam And Breast Self
Research has not shown a clear benefit of regular physical breast exams done by either a health professional or by women themselves . There is very little evidence that these tests help find breast cancer early when women also get screening mammograms. Most often when breast cancer is detected because of symptoms , a woman discovers the symptom during usual activities such as bathing or dressing. Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away.
While the American Cancer Society does not recommend regular clinical breast exams or breast self-exams as part of a routine breast cancer screening schedule, this does not mean that these exams should never be done. In some situations, particularly for women at higher-than-average risk, for example, health care providers may still offer clinical breast exams, along with providing counseling about risk and early detection. And some women might still be more comfortable doing regular self-exams as a way to keep track of how their breasts look and feel. But its important to understand that there is very little evidence that doing these exams routinely is helpful for women at average risk of breast cancer.
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Be Aware Of Your Breasts To Detect Breast Cancer Symptoms Early
Studies show that regular breast self-exams are not the best way to detect breast cancer early.
What does work? Being aware of how your breasts look and feel and seeing a doctor as soon as you notice changes or abnormalities.
The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activities like showering, applying deodorant or even scratching, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of the Cancer Prevention Center.
Bevers advises women to see a doctor if they have one or more symptoms of breast cancer, no matter how mild they may seem.
You dont need to wait for any particular size or severity of symptoms to get checked out, she says. “The earlier that breast cancer is detected, the better our chances of treating it successfully.”
And you shouldnt ignore symptoms just because you breasts don’t hurt. Pain is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, she says.
The vast majority of breast cancers are found during daily activitieslike showering, applying deodorant or even scratching.
Therese Bevers, M.D.
How To Do A Breast Self Exam
Breast self-exam. Breast self-exam. To perform a breast self-exam for breast awareness, use a methodical approach that ensures you cover your entire breast. For instance, imagine that your breasts are divided into equal wedges, like pieces of a pie, and sweep your fingers along each piece in toward your nipple.
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Can You Get Breast Cancer Without Other Risk Factors
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors,
What’s The Best Way For Younger Women To Screen For Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women know how their breasts look and feel and report any changes to their doctor. The ACS states that research has not shown a clear benefit of performing regular breast self-exams. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of breast self-exam.
Regular breast exams done at least every 3 years by your doctor are recommended for women beginning at age 20. Expert groups donât all agree when women should start getting mammograms and you should discuss with your doctor whatâs right for you. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years from ages 50 through 74 and also that the decision to start yearly screening mammograms before age 50 should be an individual one..
Talk to your doctor about when you should begin to have mammograms. For younger women, digital mammography may be an alternate to a standard mammogram. Digital mammography is better able to see abnormalities in dense breast tissue.
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Your Race And Ethnicity
White and Black women have the highest risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latina womens breast cancer rates fall in between two major groupings while American Indian and Alaska Native women are on the lowest end of risk.
While white women are more likely to develop breast cancer than Black women overall, they tend to be diagnosed at an older age . Black women have the highest breast cancer rates among women under age 40. Black women make up a higher percentage of triple-negative breast cancer cases.
What to do: If your race or ethnicity places you at higher risk, make sure you follow all screening recommendations to improve your chances of catching cancer early.
What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer
A woman who has breast cancer may have no problems, or she may find a painless lump in her breast. If women examine their breasts monthly, they can help find lumps or other changes that a doctor should examine.
Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.
Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.
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What Are The Benefits Of Having A Mammogram
Mammograms can find some breast cancers early, when the cancer may be more easily treated. Often a mammogram can find cancers that are too small for you or your doctor to feel.
Studies show that a small number of women who have mammograms may be less likely to die from breast cancer.
The risk for breast cancer goes up as you get older. In general, women younger than 50 are at a lower risk for breast cancer. Because of this, women ages 50 to 70 are more likely to benefit from having a mammogram than women who are in their 40s.
What Is A Mammogram And Why Is It Important
A mammogram is an x-ray photo of the breast and is the most common and effective way to screen for early signs of breast cancer. Regular screenings for breast cancer are vital since early detection allows for more treatment options and a higher chance of survival. According to the Carol Milgard Breast Center, approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. Women whose breast cancer is detected early have a 93% higher survival rate in the first five years of diagnosis.
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What Are The Treatments For Breast Cancer
Treatments for breast cancer include:
- Surgery such as
- A mastectomy, which removes the whole breast
- A lumpectomy to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself
Avoid Birth Control Pills Particularly After Age 35 Or If You Smoke
Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer not to mention unwanted pregnancy so theres also a lot in its favor. If youre very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
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What Does Stage 2 Mean For Breast Cancer
Support. Summary. If you have stage 2 breast cancer, it means that the cancer hasnt spread beyond the breast tissue or nearby lymph nodes. Cancer isnt a single disease. Its a group of diseases, and breast cancer is no different. Because there are different types, not all stage 2 breast cancers are treated the same way.