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.
Tips For Early Detection
You can be proactive. There are things you can do to catch breast cancer as early as possible.
- Going for mammograms as recommended by your doctor can help find signs of breast cancer before you have any symptoms.
- Its also helpful to get into the habit of doing a breast self-exam at least once a month.
- Prioritizing a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk factors for developing breast cancer in the first place.
How To Reduce Risk
There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, but there are certain steps a person can take to lower their risk.
Actions that may lower the risk of breast cancer include:
- Get to a healthy weight: High body weight and weight gain as an adult increase the risk of breast cancer after menopause. The
Several benign breast conditions can cause symptoms that resemble those of cancer. Some of these issues require treatment, while others go away on their own.
Though these conditions are benign, they can cause:
- discomfort or pain
Some common benign breast conditions include:
If a person is unsure what is causing any breast-related symptom, they should talk with a doctor as soon as possible.
As with most cancers, early breast cancer detection and treatment leads to a better outcome. People should attend regular breast examinations and tell a doctor about any breast-related symptoms or changes.
According to the ACS , when a doctor diagnoses breast cancer before it has spread beyond the breast, the relative 5-year survival rate is 99%.
Relative survival rates can help people understand the likelihood of treatment being successful. A relative 5-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people living 5 years after their diagnosis compared to people without the disease.
When breast cancer has spread beyond the breast to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 86%. The same survival rate for cancer that has spread to other organs is 29%.
Pain In The Nipple Or Breast:
Breast pain, tenderness, and discomfort can result from changes in skin cells brought on by breast cancer. There is no discomfort if a lump is present.
Despite the fact that breast cancer is frequently painless, it is crucial to pay attention to any signs or symptoms that can be related to the disease.
Some people can describe the discomfort as being sensitive and stinging.
Are There Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
As with other types of cancer, breast cancer is most responsive to treatment when diagnosed in its early stages. Breast cancer does not usually cause symptoms in its early stages, but it may cause signs that every woman should be aware of.
The first thing you should know about the early signs of breast cancer is that they can vary from person to person, so something that could indicate breast cancer in one person may not be a sign of cancer in another. The signs and symptoms may also vary between the different types of breast cancer. Also, some people do not experience any signs of breast cancer when the condition is in its early stages.
Because breast cancer does not cause many physical symptoms in its early stages, mammograms are the number one way to detect the condition. Having a mammogram can also provide answers, so you dont have to guess about the significance of any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.
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When In Doubt Get Checked Out
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if youre having pain at times other than the start of your menstrual cycle, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram. Theres no need to panic. Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, who will typically examine you and then refer you for a mammogram. Mammograms effectively detect 84% of breast cancers so when youre given a clean bill of health you can set your mind at ease. If your mammogram detects a suspicious mass, you may need to be evaluated further. If you do have breast cancer, you can expect a better outcome, because the earlier cancer treatment begins, the better patient outcomes usually are. If you live in Maryland, Washington, D.C. or the surrounding areas and want to be examined by a breast cancer specialist, contact us at .
What To Do If You Spot A Possible Sign Of Breast Cancer
Dont panic. If you notice a change in your breast, it doesnt necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Some of these changes may be a result of benign, or non-cancerous, breast conditions, explains Dr. Duncan.
Still, if you notice any change at all, especially one occurring in only one breast, its a good idea to contact your doctor to get treatment started right away, if necessary.
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You Cant Face The Stream In The Shower
Does wearing a bra suddenly irritate your nipples? Are your breasts so painful that you have to face away from the stream of water in the shower? Have your breasts become so sensitive that you dont like your partner to touch them anymore? Breasts or nipples that become more sensitive than normal can be a sign of cancer, Dr. Ross says.
Breast sensitivity is often tied to hormone changes, which is why many women experience breast tenderness as part of PMS and its one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. However, some types of breast cancer can affect your hormones, giving you a similar feeling, she explains.
So if your breasts are suddenly way more sensitive than normal and its not around that time of the month and youre not pregnant, give your doctor a call, she says.
Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Pinpointing breast cancer in its earliest stages isnt easy because breast cancer signs and symptoms are different for everyone. Sometimes there is a palpable lump or tenderness. Very often, there is neither. Generally, breast cancer shows no symptoms in the early stage.
However, there are certain changes in the breast that may indicate breast cancer in both men and women.
Whether you are a man or a woman, its important to become familiar with your breasts so you can recognize when changes occur and seek timely treatment. Know the facts and understand your risk factors for the disease, such as genetics and family history, by reviewing these frequently asked questions.
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How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will perform a breast examination and ask about your family history, medical history and any existing symptoms. Your healthcare provider will also recommend tests to check for breast abnormalities. These tests may include:
- Mammogram. These special X-ray images can detect changes or abnormal growths in your breast. A mammogram is commonly used in breast cancer prevention.
- Ultrasonography. This test uses sound waves to take pictures of the tissues inside of your breast. Its used to help diagnose breast lumps or abnormalities.
- Positron emission tomography scanning: A PET scan uses special dyes to highlight suspicious areas. During this test, your healthcare provider injects a special dye into your veins and takes images with the scanner.
- Magnetic resonance imaging : This test uses magnets and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of the structures inside of your breast.
If your healthcare provider sees anything suspicious on the imaging tests, they may take a biopsy of your breast tissue. Theyll send the sample to a pathology lab for analysis.
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCA® hospitals, located across the nation, our cancer experts are devoted to a single missiontreating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision. Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and coordinated by a registered oncology nurse, who helps track the various appointments, follow up on tests and answer questions that come up along the way. Your care team also may include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic/reconstructive surgeon with advanced training in helping patients restore function and appearance. Fertility preservation and genetic testing are also available for qualifying patients who need them.
Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat different types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ to complex diseases such as triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancer. As part of our patient-centered care model, which is designed to help you keep strong during treatment, your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive therapies, such as naturopathic support, psychosocial support, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy and pain management. The entire team works together with a whole-person focus, which is at the heart of our centers dedication to personalized and comprehensive care.
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Your Nipples Have Changed
Only mannequins have perfect, pointy, well-behaved nipples. Real, human women have to deal with different colors and sizes, positions, textures, and hair.
Fortunately, all of these things are totally normal and not a problem as long as they’re your normal, says Dr. Denduluri. For example, if your nips have always been inverted, that’s just how you’re shaped, but if they change suddenly, going from pointy to fully or partially inverted, call your doctor stat. Bottom line: Any changes in your nipplesincluding their color and textureneed to be checked to rule out cancer, Dr. Denduluri says.
Oh, and BTW, hairy nipples on women have nothing to do with cancer and are totally normalone in three women have nipple hair, she adds.
What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.
Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cells nucleus, which acts as the control room of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can turn on certain genes and turn off others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.
A tumor can be benign or malignant . Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.
Over time, cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. The breast cancers stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor .
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How Does Breast Cancer Start
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.
Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
When To See A Doctor:
Fluctuating hormones naturally cause changes in breasts , but if you notice something abnormal that doesnt go away in a month or so, have it examined by your physician. Dont be afraid to speak up, advises Dr. El-Masry. Unfortunately, she says, she’s had patients who spotted an abnormality, but put off going to the doctor because of the pandemic . Their breast cancer was diagnosed at a later stage than it could have been if they got evaluated when they first saw changes in their breast, according to Dr. El-Masry.
The CDCs National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program works with health departments and other groups to provide low-cost or free mammograms to women who qualify. Find out if you qualify.
Even if everything seems fine, its vital to get routine mammograms. Some organizations like the Mayo Clinic recommend starting mammograms at age 40 while the U.S. Preventive Task Force advises women with an average risk of breast cancer to get one every two years starting at age 50. These are conversations that patients should have with their doctor and determine what is the best course for them, says El-Ashry. Certainly, things that will increase screening either in terms of the type of screening or in terms of frequency are things like a family history or having dense breasts.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Breast Cancer
If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, your healthcare provider will talk with you in detail about your treatment options. Treatment and recovery will be different for everyone, so they can tell you what to expect in your situation.
Is breast cancer fatal?
People with early-stage breast cancer often manage their condition successfully with treatment. In fact, many people whove received a breast cancer diagnosis go on to live long, fulfilling lives. Late-stage breast cancer is more difficult to treat, however, and can be fatal.
What is the survival rate for breast cancer?
The overall five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 90%. This means that 90% of people diagnosed with the disease are still alive five years later. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer that has spread to nearby areas is 86%, while the five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is 28%. Fortunately, the survival rates for breast cancer are improving as we learn more about the disease and develop new and better approaches to management.
Keep in mind that survival rates are only estimates. They cant predict the success of treatment or tell you how long youll live. If you have specific questions about breast cancer survival rates, talk to your healthcare provider.