Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did You Know?

According to Breastcancer.org, all women are at risk for breast cancer. Research estimates that 1 in 8 or nearly 12 percent of women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at some time in their lives. Read on to learn about causes, risk factors, treatment methods and how to identify and prevent breast cancer.

WOMEN’S HEALTH: BREAST CANCER

The most common indication of breast cancer is discovering a lump in the breast or underarm area. Other signs include swelling, skin irritation/dimpling, nipple pain/abnormalities, redness or scaly skin and discharge from the nipple.

To detect breast cancer, physicians may use the following tests:

  • Mammogram: a breast X-ray
  • Biopsy: the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope
  • Estrogen and progesterone receptor tests: to determine the levels of each hormone
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of inside the body

Symptoms and Screenings

The most common indication of breast cancer is discovering a lump in the breast or underarm area. Other signs include:

  • -Swelling
  • -Skin irritation or dimpling
  • -Nipple pain or abnormalities
  • -Redness or scaly skin
  • -Discharge from the nipple

The four standard types of treatment used for breast cancer are:

  1. 1. Surgery, ranging from a small lump of tissue being removed to an entire breast (mastectomy)
  2. 2. Radiation therapy
  3. 3. Chemotherapy
  4. 4. Hormone therapy

The chance of recovery and the treatment options depend on many factors including the stage of cancer, how fast the tumor is growing, hormone receptor levels, and a woman’s age.

Causes and Risk Factors

While it is unclear what specifically triggers breast cells to grow abnormally, experts attribute the development of breast cancer to a combination of genetics, lifestyle choices and reproductive factors that may include the following items:

  • – Older age
  • – Menstruation at an early age (before age 12), or those who went through menopause later (after age 55)
  • – Family history of breast cancer
  • – Having dense breast tissue
  • – Never giving birth, or having first given birth after age 30
  • – Having radiation therapy to the breast or chest
  • – Use of oral contraceptives—although, this risk appears to go back to normal over time after the pills are stopped.
  • – Prior diagnosis of benign breast conditions
  • – Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • – Hormone therapy with estrogen after menopause
  • – Being obese or overweight after menopause
  • – Lack of physical activity

Be sure to inform your doctor if you think you find a lump or other abnormality. Early detection can increase your likelihood of being a survivor. For more ways to protect your health, just call us at 724-929-2300. We can get health insurance options that fit your needs and budget.

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