Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Both women and men can get breast cancer, though it is much more common in women. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before she has any symptoms. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – is an X-ray picture of the breast. Mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer but are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
Some warning signs of breast cancer are:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in the breast.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
- If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
- If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.
The main factors that influence your breast cancer risk are being a woman and getting older. Other risk factors include:
- Changes in breast cancer-related genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2).
- Having your first menstrual period before age 12.
- Never giving birth, or being older when your first child is born.
- Starting menopause after age 55.
- Taking hormones to replace missing estrogen and progesterone in menopause for more than five years.
- Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills).
- A personal history of breast cancer, dense breasts, or some other breast problems.
- A family history of breast cancer (parent, sibling, or child).
- Getting radiation therapy to the breast or chest.
- Being overweight, especially after menopause.
Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.
This information is provided by: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/
Submitted by: Halle Pardun, Burnett Medical Center Marketing Director
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