Breast Cancer is a cancer that develops from the breast tissue, it occurs almost entirely in women but men can get it too. This is the second most common cancer in women and most cases occur in women that are over the age of 50 years.Early detection is the key to surviving this disease, and if it is diagnosed early,their is a good chance of survival.The more advance the cancer is ,the less likely that the treatment will be curative.About 5-10% of Breast Cancer are due to inherited gene from parents, while 85-90% of Breast Cancer are due to genetic abnormalities that happens as a result of old aging process.
The most common Breast Cancer develops in the cells from the lining of the milk ducts and the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancer developing from the ducts are Ductal Carcinomas and those developing from the lobules are lobular carcinomas.Staying healthy, maintaining a normal weight,being physically active, limiting your intake of alcohol , reduce your risk of developing Breast Cancer.
By performing monthly Breast exams you will be familiar with your breast and notice any changes as soon as they occur. Knowing what your breast look like,feeling and checking them regularly, can help you detect abnormalities quickly.
- Always look and feel your Breast
- Report any changes to your Doctor
- Attend Breast Screening if you are over years of age
The following are what you should be looking for when doing the Breast Exams:
- Lumps or thickening of Breast Tissue
- Continuous pain in the Breast or Armpit
- One Breast becoming larger than the other
- Swelling under the Armpit
How to do the Breast Exam
- In the Shower: (i) lift your right arm over your head and use your left hand to examine your right breast. with the pads of your fingers,feel around the entire breast area in circular motion.Feel for any lumps or thickening tissue
- (ii) Bring your arms down and repeat the examination on your left Breast
- In Front of the Mirror: Stand in front of the mirror and visually inspect your Breast with your hands at your sides.Next raise your arms high over your head, look for any changes in size,shapes, or if their is any swelling or change in nipple. After that,rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles,.Look at both breast carefully and thoroughly, and report any changes to your doctor.
- Lying Down: Lying down on your back with a pillow beneath your right shoulder,rest your right arm behind your head .using your left hand , move the pads of your fingers around your right breast and feel the entire area around gently in small circles covering the entire breast and your armpit.Squeeze the nipples to check for discharge. Repeat this on your left breast. if you notice any abnormalities, contact your doctor.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors: The following are risk factors associated with Breast Cancer:
- Gender- Breast Cancer is more common in women.The National Cancer Institute Estimates that over 190,000 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer annually
- Age:Women over the age of 50 years are more likely to develop Breast Cancer.
- Family History:Having a family history of breast cancer, especially women with a mother,sister or daughter who has or have had breast cancer, double the risk.
- Not having children: Women who don't have children or got pregnant over the age of 35 years may have greater risk of developing Breast Cancer.
- Obesity: Weight gain in adulthood and excess body fat around the waist may increase your risk of developing Breast Cancer.
- Heavy Drinking: Heavy Alcohol drinking has been link to increased risk in developing Breast Cancer.
- Lack of Physical Activity:Physical inactivity has begin link to increase risk of developing cancer.Regular exercise seven hours a week may reduce your risk.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Most times the first symptoms that women normally notice is a lump. 90% of most Breast lumps aren't cancerous but its best to check with your Doctor.
The following are symptoms of Breast Cancer:
- A lump or areas of thickness tissue in either Breast
- A change in size or shape of both Breasts
- Discharge from either Nipples( it may be streak with blood)
- A lump or Swelling in either Armpit
- A rash around your Nipple
- A change in the appearance of your Nipple
Early detection is the key , take regular self breast examination