Breast cancer constitutes almost 30% of all cancers in women of the world, minus the non-melanoma skin cancer. It is commonly observed that symptoms of breast cancer remain usually ignored or unchecked; this, unfortunately, can aggravate the condition to cause irreparable harm, including death. Timely detection of breast cancer can raise the chances of successfully combating the illness and emerging successful.
It is extremely important to be aware of your body and report a change, should you find one, to your doctor promptly. Some important facts about breast cancer have been mentioned here to help you be better aware of the condition. It is crucial to spread the message correctly so that more and more women (and men) gain from being conscious and pro-active.
Myths about Breast Cancer
All Breast Lumps are not Essentially Cancerous
Typically, a lump in the breast or armpit can be one of the first symptoms of breast cancer. However, all lumps are not indicative of breast cancer. Even though most breast cancers get identified when you feel a lump, it is not obligatory that having a lump means having breast cancer.
Lump can arise due to several reasons including a cyst or an abnormal (but noncancerous) growth. Sometimes, a blood clot can also cause lumpiness. 9 out of 10 breast lumps may not be cancerous. Usually, lumps detected in people below the age of 30 are benign.
Nonetheless, should you identify a lump or any other change in your breasts which do not seem usual, get in touch with your doctor at the earliest to know the cause and treatment options. In order to detect breast cancer, a mammogram is done. Physical examination or an ultrasound can also be needed.
Men can also Suffer from Breast Cancer like Women
It is not that women alone suffer from breast cancer. Breast cancer can be a cause of death for almost 5% of men who suffer from the illness. Men can also suffer from the illness, although the occurrence is found less in them.
Even though the percentage of men suffering from breast cancer is lower than women, they also need regular checkups through breast self-examination as women.
In men, the diagnosis usually appears as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Unfortunately, men depict a higher mortality due to the illness compared to women.
Lack of awareness can be a major cause behind this as it inevitably leads to delayed treatment. Even though breast cancer in men is 100 times less common than in women, their increased death rate is a cause of concern.
Breast Cancer is not an Infectious Illness
Breast cancer is not contagious and physical contact, like touch or having sex, cannot spread the disease to someone else. The cancer arises out of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells.
An injury or bruise to the breast cannot be a factor for causing breast cancer. If cancer is found or develops in a spot that has been injured, it can be a matter of chance.
Some Factors may Increase the Risk of having Breast Cancer
Age is an important factor considering breast cancer, although it may happen at any age. The risk, nonetheless, increases with age. It is more likely that a lump turns out to be cancerous in older women who have had menopause compared to younger women.
Smoking tobacco is, apparently, another factor which can increase the risk of breast cancer. Inadequate physical activity may also be related to the illness.
Breastfeeding and breast cancer have also been linked, although more studies would be needed to bring out the exact relationship between these two.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by being active physically, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming less alcohol and breastfeeding their babies.
Interestingly, the frequency of breast cancer has been found to be lowest in less-developed nations and greatest in more developed ones.
Family History is not a Mandate in having Breast Cancer
According to experts, majority of women who have breast cancers do not reveal a family history of the illness. Only 5-10% of the illness has been found to have a genetic association or family history.
In Singapore, more than 90% of women with breast cancer have no known family history of the illness. However, this does not mean that if you do not have a family history of the illness, you will not suffer from the condition.
Keeping a periodic check is one of the most important aspects of treating the condition. If you have a first degree relative with breast cancer, the risk between 40 and 50 years of age may double as against those without a first degree relative.
The Pink Ribbon Signifies Breast Cancer Awareness
The most popular symbol for breast cancer awareness is a pink ribbon. Fundraisers or promoters may also use pink ribbons to signify their association (in some form) to breast cancer awareness or creating optimism and faith in people.
The pink ribbon culture may include a set of values which contains breast cancer. Selflessness, unity and optimism are among the prominent values depicted by such people or associations. October is marked as National Breast Cancer Awareness month by the American Cancer Society.
Photo Credit: http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/breast-cancer.htm