What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast and can spread to surrounding tissues and different parts of the body. While the disease occurs more commonly in women, breast cancer in men is not ruled out.
10 Breast Cancer symptoms you shouldn’t ignore
- Any form of breast cancer lumps- they may not be cancerous (even cancerous lumps are usually painless) but get them checked immediately when noticed. A lump in the breast that persists through your menstrual cycle is particularly suspicious.
- Nipple tenderness or a thickening in the breast or underarm area.
- Swelling in the armpit.
- A change in the shape, size or contour of your breasts.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
- Unexplained swelling or shrinking of the breast
- Asymmetry of the breasts that’s developed recently
- Inverted nipples or nipples that are turned slightly inward.
- Milky discharge from the breasts (when you’re not feeding) or bloody discharge.
- Dimpling anywhere in the breast
Breast cancer causes remain unexplained, but certain risk factors that make you vulnerable are:
The risk of breast cancer usually goes up with age.
Certain inherited mutations increase the risk of getting breast cancer.
A family history of breast cancer puts you at a higher risk, so you must particularly be conscious of signs and symptoms.
If you’ve had breast cancer in one of them, you are at a greater risk of getting another breast cancer.
White women are at a greater risk than African-Americans.
Dense breast tissue
More of gland tissue and less fatty tissue in the breast makes women more vulnerable to breast cancer.
If you started your periods early, before year 12, or if you underwent menopause after 55 years of age, you may be more predisposed.
Exposure to radiation
If you’ve been exposed to any form of radiation treatment in your chest area as a child or an adult, you need to be extra cautious.
This is a drug administered during pregnancy. If you’ve undergone a DES treatment, you could be more predisposed to breast cancer.
Delay in having children
Not having children or having them after 30 increases your chance of getting breast cancer.
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer, especially if you’ve been feeding your baby for 1.5 -2 years.
Certain birth control measures
Birth control pills or DMPA, an injectable form of birth control puts you at a greater risk. Once withdrawn, the risk subsides.
Hormone therapy post menopause
Taking estrogen and progesterone after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. Once the hormones are stopped, the risk returns to normal.
Obesity or overweight
Gain in weight that follows menopause or takes place as an adult is associated with higher risk of breast cancer.
Jerk yourself out of the “One drink a day is fine” formula. Use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased chance of getting breast cancer.