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12 Essential Facts About Breast Cancer Every Woman Should Know

Angela Beltran

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Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases across the globe. Moreover, it is considered the top cancer type in women, affecting 1.5 million women each year.

All women should be aware of the symptoms of the disease since the prognosis or outlook improves when it’s detected early. In order to improve survival, early detection is important. The lack of resources and knowledge about the disease affects the increasing number of cases worldwide.

Of course, some risk factors for breast cancer such as family history, age and being a woman can’t be modified. However, other factors are preventable through choosing healthy lifestyle choices.

In 2015 alone, 570,000 women have died from breast cancer, which accounts for about 15 percent of all cancer deaths in women. Breast cancer is a complex type of cancer and here are important facts about it you should know.

1. A lump in the breast area doesn't always mean it's cancer.

Breast cancer can be seen in various ways, not just because a woman has a lump in her breast. In fact, the first symptom reported among patients with breast cancer is a lump but 90 percent are not cancerous or benign.

2. The older you are, the more prone you are to breast cancer.

Source: mskcc.org

The risk of breast cancer increases as one grows older. In fact, there is no age limit for the disease. However, those women who already had their menopause are at a higher risk. Approximately 14 percent of patients diagnosed with breast cancer are less than 44 years old. On the other hand, 49 percent are between the ages of 45 and 64. About 37 percent are over 65 years old.

3. A family history of breast cancer is a minor risk factor.

Source: medicinenet

Family history or hereditary risk not a huge factor in the development of breast cancer. A staggering 85 to 90 percent of all breast cancers are triggered by random genetic changes and not by a genetic mutation inherited from one of the parents.

In fact, most breast cancer cases are sporadic, which means they emerge from the damage to the genes that happens spontaneously after birth. About only 5 to 10 percent are inherited breast cancers.

4. You can lessen your risk of breast cancer.

Source: Pixabay

You can reduce the risk of breast cancer through lifestyle choices. Though breast cancer can occur to anyone, regardless of gender, lifestyle, and gender, the risk can be lessened. Healthy lifestyle changes such as being physically active, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthy food can dramatically reduce the risk of this deadly cancer.

5. Breast cancer can be caused by a combination of genetic factors, lifestyle choices and environmental factors.

Source: Pixabay

The development of breast cancer can be affected by many interchanging factors such as lifestyle choices, the surrounding environment, and the presence of genes that cause the cells to multiply uncontrollably.

Some factors, however, can increase the risk of breast cancer. For one, increasing age is one of the biggest risk factors. About four out of five cancers run in families. However, most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the illness.

6. Breast cancer has many types.

Source: healthison

Breast cancer has many types based on the tumor biology. The tumors in the breast are now classified into three primary tumor markers – Progesterone Receptor (PR), Estrogen Receptor (ER) and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2/Neu).

7. Metastatic breast cancer is the advanced stage of the illness.

Metastatic breast cancer pertains to the advanced stage of breast cancer. This means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the breast and have affected the other organs. The locations of metastasis are usually the brain, liver, bones, and lungs.

8. Not all breast cancers require mastectomy or the removal of the whole breast.

When a patient has breast cancer, it does not always mean the whole breast needs to be removed. There are other surgeries that can be done such as lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, which are called breast-conserving surgeries.

9. Women with breast cancer will have more than one treatment.

Source: Pixabay

Most patients with breast cancer may undergo various treatment options like a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. These treatments will work together to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading further.

10. The breast cancer survival rates improved over the years.

Source: Pixabay

Due to the presence of innovative treatments and diagnostic procedures, the survival rate of breast cancer in the past five years has improved from 75 percent to 82 percent. Increased awareness, improved treatments, and early detection have helped boost survival rates of breast cancer.

11. The best way to prevent breast cancer is detecting it early.

Source: Pixabay

The best way to prevent breast cancer or the progression of the disease is through early detection. When the cancer is found early, it is easier to treat and it will have a better outlook.

12. Men may have breast cancer, too.

Source: Pixabay

Although rare, men may develop breast cancer, too. Less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men. About one in 1000 men may be diagnosed with the illness.

These facts about breast cancer may help boost the knowledge and awareness among not only women, but in men, too. Remember, early detection is the key to a good outlook. If you experience any symptom that may affect the breasts, do not hesitate to get tested or seek the help of a medical professional.

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