Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019: What You Should Know

October 20th 2019

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. and is the first leading cause of cancer death among women globally. Even with our recent strides in science in the past decade, it is still crucial to understand the warning signs and ways to lower your risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the U.S. and is the first leading cause of cancer death among women globally. Even with our recent strides in science in the past decade, it is still crucial to understand the warning signs and ways to lower your risk of breast cancer.1

Breast cancer occurs when the cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control. Between 50-75 percent of breast cancers begin in the milk ducts, while about 5-15 percent begin in the lobules. Although the tumors in the breast tend to grow slowly, some are more aggressive and grow much faster. When a lump is large enough to feel, this can indicate that the tumor may have been growing for as long as 10 years.2

Although there are different symptoms of breast cancer, some people do not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms may include: any change in the size or shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk, and a new lump in the breast or underarm.3

There are some risk factors that cannot be avoided, such as: being a woman, being in an older age range (40-50 years or older) and having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Still, the CDC recommends that maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and drinking little to no alcohol can help to lower your risk.3,4

Mammograms are the best way to spot an early sign of breast cancer, since it is easier to treat and not big enough to feel or cause symptoms. The recommended age to start getting mammograms ranges from 40-50 years old. However, being able to conduct a self-exam can help to increase the odds of early detection with no-cost.Breastcancer.orgprovides a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a proper self-exam.4,5

References

  1. 11 facts about breast cancer. Dosomething.org website. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-breast-cancer. Published 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  2. What is breast cancer? Susan G. Komen website. https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/WhatisBreastCancer.html. Published July 2, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  3. Breast cancer awareness. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/index.htm. Published September 12, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  4. Breast cancer awareness month: 3 ways to prevent and detect the deadly disease. CNN health website. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/health/breast-cancer-awareness-month-trnd/index.html. Published October 2, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.
  5. Breast self-exam. Breastcancer.org website. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam. Published June 20, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.

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