What is breast cancer awareness month about?
Did you know that Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide? Every October, the majority of breast cancer organizations host Breast Cancer Awareness Month to collect money for research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of the illness and to improve public awareness of it.
According to the National breast cancer foundation, in a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer can be diagnosed early when it is simpler to treat, and before it becomes large enough to feel or cause symptoms, thanks to mammograms.
Since the causes of breast cancer are still not fully understood, early detection of the disease is still crucial for breast cancer management. Breast cancer has a strong chance of being curable when it is found early and if an appropriate diagnosis and therapy are available. However, if discovered too late, curative treatment is usually out of the question.
Risk factors that are known to cause breast cancer
Breast cancer is more common in some women due to various risk factors. A risk factor is something that could make getting the disease more likely. You can prevent some risk factors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and being overweight. However, the majority of risk factors (such as family history of breast cancer) cannot be prevented. The presence of a risk factor does not guarantee a woman’s development of breast cancer. Many women with risk factors for breast cancer never get the disease.
Breast cancer symptoms and signs
Many breast cancer signs are hidden and unnoticeable without a professional test, however certain symptoms can be detected early just by being vigilant about your breast health.
The majority of people with breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially, only become aware of one or two of the symptoms and signs, and the existence of these symptoms and signs does not necessarily indicate that you have breast cancer.
You can more easily spot any changes in your breast by conducting monthly breast self-exams. If you see anything strange, make sure to consult your healthcare provider.
- A previously unnoticeable lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast
- A change in the size or contour of one or both breasts.
- Fluid dripping from one of your nipples
- Your armpits have a bulge or swelling
- A change in how your skin feels or looks, such as dimpling, puckering, a rash, or redness
- A skin rash (similar to eczema), scaly, crusty, or itchy skin, or redness on or near your nipple
- A modification in the way your nipple looks, such as when it becomes sunken into your breast
According to the NHS, Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Prevention is largely unknown because the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, however, women who are more likely than the general population to have the disease can minimize their risk with certain treatments.
Treatments to reduce breast cancer risk
Your risk level is influenced by factors including your age, the medical history of your family, and the findings of genetic tests. There are treatments available to lower the chances of acquiring breast cancer if it is higher in you.
In the event that it is determined that you have an elevated risk of breast cancer, you will often be referred for specialized genetic testing. The medical staff at these facilities should go over possible treatment options with you.
Surgery to remove the breasts (mastectomy) or medication are the 2 main options.
Diet and lifestyle
All women are advised to engage in regular exercise and consume a healthy, balanced diet since these measures can help prevent a variety of illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer.
Although there are no conclusive results from studies on the relationship between diets and breast cancer, there are advantages for women who do the following:
- Exercise frequently
- Limit the intake of saturated fat
- Abstain from alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight.
According to studies, breastfeeding women have a statistically lower risk of breast cancer than those who do not, although, the reasons are unclear, however, it may be because estrogen levels remain consistent, and women do not ovulate as frequently when breastfeeding.
Finally, if breast cancer is discovered at an early stage, there is a good chance of recovery. Because of this, it’s crucial for women to periodically check their breasts for any changes and to always have any changes checked by a doctor.