Everyone knows that breast cancer is the no. 1 cause of death in women around the world. Though no one really knows what is causing it, anyone can suffer from it at a certain moment in their lives. There are, however, a few factors that might increase the risk of getting it, such as:
- Family history of breast cancer
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Exposure to radiation
- Menstruation that started at an early age
- Giving birth late in life
These factors can contribute to its appearance, but even if you don’t have them, you could still get it. An important thing to mention is the fact that men are also predisposed to this condition.
An annual mammography is indicated in the prevention of breast cancer, because it can detect it from the very early stages.
Here are some important symptoms to take into consideration that may signal the appearance of this disease. If you recognize any of them, rush to your doctor. Even if that will be a false alarm, it is important to take out any sign that might trigger it.
- Lumps in the breast or in the armpit – This could be the first sign of cancer, though not all the lumps are cancerous. They could also be a sign of hormonal changes, a breast infection or a damaged tissue. They often have a hard texture and most of them are painless.
- Red swollen breasts – Usually, when breasts hurt and get swollen, it is a sign of a premenstrual syndrome. When they get red, it is a sign of infection. However, these can also be signs of cancer. If there is a tumor, the pain and the swelling could be explained by the fact that the tumor pushes the tissues. Sometimes, the swelling is much more visible under the collarbone or the arm.
- Nipple discharging – Besides milk, a nipple should not discharge anything, or else it is a sign of breast cancer. The tumor starts in the milk ducts. This may cause irritation and infection, both processes leading to discharges.
- Pain – If you experience sharp pain which comes and goes or have a sensation that resembles to a mild electric shock, you should know that it can be taken as a sign of breast cancer. When the tumor is located behind the nipple or in the milk ducts, it causes an intense sensation of discomfort and pain.
- Changes in the way the breast looks – Pay attention to any changes related to size or shape. Be aware of asymmetries, dimpling or shrinkage.
- Sensitive nipples – Usually, tumors are located beneath the nipple, which can make nipples inverted, or flattened. Also, the nipple sensitivity can be increased.
- Itchy breasts – Not a very common symptom, but can be considered a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. The skin in the area becomes itchy, painful, red and inflamed.
- Upper back, shoulder and neck pain – This usually happens when the tumor is spread to the spine. It is often confused with sore muscles, osteoarthritis of the spine or a pulled ligament.
Lowering the risks of breast cancer:
- Get the necessary amount of sleep.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Avoid alcohol and exposure to chemical radiation.
- Examine your breasts twice a month.
- Breastfeed your babies.
- Do not sustain the post-menopausal hormone treatment continuously.