by Ashley Horne
Previously, we discussed some of the risk factors of developing breast cancer in celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition, I’d like to share some facts about breast cancer and discuss signs, symptoms and prevention.
- Breast cancer is a form of cancer which usually starts in the breast in the milk ducts or lobules.
- Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer after lung cancer.
- Breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of death.
- In 2004, breast cancer caused 519,000 deaths worldwide.
- Breast cancer can strike at any age, but only 5% of all breast cancers occur in women under 40 years old.
- Women in the US have a 1 in 8 (12.5%) lifetime chance of developing invasive breast cancer and a 1 in 35 (3%) chance of breast cancer causing their death.
- Pink is the color chosen to represent the battle against breast cancer. Retailers around the world offer a variety of pink ribbon products for purchase to enable all individuals to show their support in the fight against breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms:
Breast cancer is typically first diagnosed when a woman finds a lump in her breast. A lump in the lymph nodes in the armpit, a change in breast size or shape, skin dimpling or inversion or spontaneous nipple discharge may also indicate breast cancer. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain, swelling, warmth and redness throughout the breast, as well as an orange-peel texture to the skin. In addition, redness and flaking of the skin and nipple may be a symptom of breast cancer. This syndrome is known as Paget’s disease and should be taken seriously. In advanced stages Paget’s disease includes tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain.
There may be no way to prevent breast cancer, but you can do everything necessary to catch it early. Monthly self breast exams are extremely important as are yearly mammograms. In fact, October 16 was National Mammography Day. In 1993 President Clinton declared the 3rd Friday of October National Mammography Day. Reduced cost or free mammograms are available throughout the United States.
To Find Participating Facilities Call:
- American Cancer Society: 800.227.2345
- The Susan G. Komen for the Cure®: 1.800.404.8241
- Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization: 800.221.2141
Please note that the preceding information is not all inclusive. There is a wide variety of information available on the web, at libraries and from your doctor regarding breast cancer and prevention.