Breast Cancer Facts
- Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
- About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
- Breast cancer affects men too.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
- A lump
- Discharge from the nipple
- Any change in appearance
- In the case of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, skin can appear red and feel warm. This form of cancer may be mistaken for an infection.
- Sometimes there are no symptoms
Can breast cancer be prevented?
- Have regular mammograms
- Have clinical breast exams
- Perform self exams
- Engage in a healthy lifestyle— consume a healthy diet, maintain an appropriate weight, exercise and limit alcohol consumption
- Know your family history
Why are mammograms so important?
Because there are often no symptoms with this disease, regular mammograms, which view the breast tissue for signs of change, are crucial to early detection. Can’t afford a mammogram? Visit http://ww5.komen.org for information on no-or low-cost mammograms.
Should you be concerned about a breast cyst?
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that is typically round or oval in shape. A cyst may be compared to a grape in appearance and feel, but it can also be firm. According to information provided by the Mayo Clinic, breast cysts are usually not cancerous (benign). But, you’re still urged to visit your doctor if you discover a cyst.
When is a breast biopsy necessary?
In the case of an abnormal mammogram or lump, a biopsy may be performed. This procedure removes a small piece of tissue from the breast for further testing. Don’t let the thought of a biopsy deter you from having one. A biopsy can often be performed in your doctor’s office. Many individuals claim they feel the numbing agent they receive before the procedure more than the biopsy itself.
Is there any good news regarding breast cancer?
After increasing for more than 2 decades, female breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in 2000, then dropped by about 7% from 2002 to 2003, according to the CDC. In addition, researchers continue to gain insight into the causes of this disease and work on finding a cure.
What else can you do?
- Encourage family members and friends to have regular mammograms. Some friends make appointments to go for their mammograms together.
- Take part in the many activities being held throughout the month to raise awareness and money for research. Visit www.makingstrides.acsevents.org for a listing of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks in your area.
- Stay informed and pass along valuable information to others to help create greater awareness.
- If cancer is prevalent in your family, talk to your doctor about genetic testing.