The following article was contributed by Jerri Guo.
World-wide, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and the leading cause of death in women from cancer. The US and Britain have the highest incidence of cancer, but they also have the highest rate of survival five years after detection—89%. According to the World Health Organization, early detection and treatment could reduce the death rate by 400,000 women per year globally.
Breast Cancer Facts: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/index.htm
Different people have different warning signs for breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. A person may find out they have breast cancer after a routine mammogram. 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 any area of the breast.
- Surgery. An operation where doctors cut out and remove cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy. Using special medicines, or drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given through an intravenous (IV) tube, or, sometimes, both.
- Hormonal therapy. Some cancers need certain hormones to grow. Hormonal treatment is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy. This treatment works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer or to control side effects from other cancer treatments. Side effects are how your body reacts to drugs or other treatments. Biological therapy is different from chemotherapy, which attacks cancer cells directly.
- Radiation. The use of high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells. The rays are aimed at the part of the body where the cancer is located.
- Get screened for breast cancer regularly.
- Control your weight and exercise. Make healthy choices in the foods you eat and the kinds of drinks you have each day. Stay active. Learn more about keeping a healthy weight and ways to increase your physical activity.
- Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor what is your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk.
- Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the symptoms of menopause. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT and find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.