Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women. Every year, October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month to educate people about this form of cancer, its signs or early symptoms, and treatment options.
Causes of breast cancer
After puberty, a female’s breasts are made up of fat, connective tissues, and many lobules or tiny glands that can produce milk. Breast cancer occurs when cells in your breast grow, genetically mutate, and divide uncontrolled, creating a mass of tissue called a tumor. These can be associated with exposure to estrogen, inherited genetic defects, or cancer-causing inherited genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. aBreast cancer is more likely to occur in women over the age of 50. Obesity, family history or genetics, radiation exposure, excessive alcohol usage or smoking, and hormone replacement therapy are factors that can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Early signs of breast cancer
Here are some signs of breast cancer that every woman should know:
- The first and most obvious sign is the presence of lumps. These lumps can be hard, soft, fixed, or even movable.
- If there is persistent pain in your breasts or armpits for more than two weeks, get it tested.
- Veins suddenly sticking out can be a plausible sign of breast cancer.
- If you are not lactating, and there is clear fluid or blood-stained discharge from your nipples, it can be an alarming sign indicating breast cancer.
- Visit your gynecologist if there is redness, rashes, and warmth around the breast.
- Peel-like skin, dimpling, or puckering around the breasts can be a sign of breast cancer.
- This cancer can also present itself in the form of swollen lymph nodes.
- If the tumor is stuck behind your nipple, it could invert your nipples.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast can be an indicator.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin can be another symptom.
Ways to detect breast cancer
If not treated promptly, it can spread to other body parts. Here are some ways to detect breast cancer at an early stage:
- Mammograms can help with the early detection of breast cancer. These special x-ray images can detect changes or abnormal growth in the breasts.
- Ultrasonography is a way to use sound waves to detect lumps or abnormalities inside the breast.
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans use special dyes to highlight suspicious areas.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan uses magnets and radio waves to produce clear, detailed images of the structures inside the breast.
- Take a look at the steps to reduce the risk of breast cancer:
- Self-examine your breasts regularly. If there is any change in the look or feel, consult a doctor.
- Stay active and exercise daily to keep a healthy weight.
- Consume a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- New mothers should breastfeed their children for at least one year.
- Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking tobacco.