What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which breast cells begin to grow out of control. When abnormal changes in the genes that regulate cell growth occur, cells have the ability to keep dividing, producing more cells just like it. This can cause the formation of a tumor.
What Signs and Symptoms Should I Be Looking Out For?
Individuals experience different signs of breast cancer. Many do not notice any symptoms or feel any pain. The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump in your breast or armpit that could be a tumor. A small tumor may not be visible to the naked eye or obvious to the touch.
Aside from lumps in the breast and armpits, common warning signs of breast cancer to look out for include:
A change in the size, shape, or temperature of the breast(s)
A change in the appearance of the nipple(s), including sores, dimpling, etc.
Peeling or ﬂaking of the nipple(s)
Unusual nipple discharge. Discharge may be clear, colored, or bloody
Pain or tenderness in the breast(s)
Make Early Detection a Priority
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women between the ages of 50 to 74 get mammograms every two years. Those with more risk factors may consider beginning screening at 40 or earlier. Chat with your health care provider to determine a screening schedule that best ﬁts you.
A mammogram can help doctors ﬁnd breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before a lump is felt.
What Might Put Me at Risk for Breast Cancer?
Age - Your risk of breast cancer increases with age, as damage in our cells builds up over time. Over 90%of breast cancers are found in women over 50.
Gender - Women are more at risk of developing breast cancer than men. In the U.S., only about 1 % of breast cancers diagnosed are in men.
Family history - Individuals with a family history of breast cancer are more at risk, especially if you have ﬁrst-degree relatives with a history of the disease.
Menstrual history - Women who started their periods before 12 and started menopause after 55 are more at risk.
Personal history - If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer before, you are more likely to develop breast cancer again.
Breast density - If you have more dense breasts, your risk of developing breast cancer is higher. Dense breasts have more connective tissue, making tumors more difﬁcult to recognize on mammograms.
Radiation to your chest - A history of radiation therapy to your chest may put you at higher risk of developing breast cancer later on.
Lifestyle - Alcohol consumption may increase your risk of breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease your risk of breast cancer.
How Can I Lower my Chances of Developing Breast Cancer?
There is no sure way of pre-venting breast cancer, but you can take action to lower lifestyle-related risk factors:
Minimize the amount of alcohol you consume.
Pay special attention to maintain a healthy weight after menopause.
Stay physically active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week.
Eat healthy. Ensure that your diet includes fruits and ﬁber-rich vegetables, as well as whole grains. Limit the amount of red and processed meats you consume.
Presidio Home Care Aides
Our Home Care Aides are thoroughly trained in cancer care. Each has been equipped with a foundation of knowledge of breast cancer and its various types, controllable and uncontrollable risk factors, and how to support your loved one in a healthy lifestyle to minimize breast cancer risk.