Approximately 200,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. And, one in eight women will experience breast cancer in her lifetime. Therefore, every woman should be aware of the signs of breast cancer as well as the risk factors.
The Women’s Health Center at CentraState aims to make women aware of the signs of breast cancer for earlier detection and a chance to save more lives.
Signs of Breast Cancer
Knowing the signs of breast cancer and detecting breast cancer early can help increase a woman’s survival rate. The widespread use of mammograms has increased the number of breast cancers found before they cause any symptoms, but some are still missed. The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But some breast cancers are tender, soft and rounded. So it’s critical to have any suspicious lumps checked by a doctor. Other signs of breast cancer, include:
- Swelling of all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast pain, nipple pain or nipple turning inward
- Redness, scaling or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk
Also, sometimes breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.
Many women find early signs of breast cancer by being proactive and diligent about their clinical breast exams, mammograms and breast self-exams.
Early signs of breast cancer should not be ignored and should be checked by a physician as soon as possible. Call 866-CENTRA7 for a physician referral.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
It’s important to note: Having a risk factor for breast cancer, or even several, doesn’t mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Some women who have one or more breast cancer risk factors never get the disease. And most women who do get breast cancer don’t have any risk factors. Some breast cancer risk factors have a greater impact than others, and your risk can change over time because of, for example, aging or lifestyle. The following are risk factors for breast cancer:
- Gender—Being a woman is the main risk for getting breast cancer.
- Age—The chance of getting breast cancer increases with age—two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when the cancer is found.
- Genetics—About five to 10 percent of breast cancers are possibly connected to inherited changes (mutations) in certain genes.
- Family history—Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. The relatives can be from either the maternal or paternal side of the family. Having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer about doubles a woman’s risk. However, keep in mind that over 85 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.
- Personal history of breast cancer—A woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This is different from a return of the first cancer (recurrence).
- Race—White women are slightly more likely to get breast cancer than African-American women. Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women have a lower risk of getting and dying from breast cancer.
- Dense breast tissue—Women with more gland tissue and less fatty tissue have a higher risk for breast cancer because it’s harder for physicians to detect problems on mammograms.
- Combined hormone therapy—Use of combined hormone therapy (progesterone and estrogen) after menopause increases the risk of getting breast cancer. It also increases the risk of dying from breast cancer. Five years after stopping HT, the breast cancer risk seems to drop back to normal.
- Lifestyle—Poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and alcohol appears to increase risk.
Breast Health at CentraState
If you feel that you may be experiencing any signs of breast cancer, CentraState Medical Center is here to help. CentraState’s Women’s Health Center can provide you with state-of-the-art diagnostics and procedures for early breast cancer detection, and offer a high quality of service with experienced physicians to help develop a treatment plan for your specific cancer.
Please contact the Women’s Health Center at CentraState for more information or to schedule an appointment at (732) 294-2778.