Breast cancer awareness day is an annual event on October 19th. Breast cancer awareness day aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and its early detection. Breast cancer awareness day also promotes breast cancer research and provides information about breast cancer treatment options. Breast cancer awareness day is an excellent opportunity to learn more about breast cancer and how to prevent it.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women globally. Breast cancer usually begins as a lump in the breast, which may be felt or detected during a breast exam by a health care provider.
Breast cancer may also cause changes in the skin of the breast, such as dimpling or redness, and can often appear on a mammogram (a special breast x-ray). Breast cancer is typically treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy. The choice of treatment depends on several factors, including the stage and grade of the tumor, the woman's age and menopausal status, her overall health, and her personal preferences.
There are many possible causes of breast cancer, but the exact cause is unknown. However, certain risk factors may increase a woman's breast cancer risk. These include:
- Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.
- Family history: Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer doubles a woman's risk. Having multiple family members with the disease further increases the risk.
- Genetic mutations: Mutations in specific genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. Women with these mutations have an 80% lifetime risk of developing the disease.
- Personal history of cancer: Women with breast cancer in one breast are at an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
- Weight and diet: Being overweight or obese after menopause is a risk factor for breast cancer. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly may help reduce the risk.
- Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The more alcohol a person drinks, the greater their risk.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Taking combined hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone) after menopause slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. Taking estrogen alone does not appear to increase the risk.
- Ionizing radiation: Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from X-rays or radiation therapy, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Certain breast conditions: Certain noncancerous breast conditions, such as atypical hyperplasia or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), can slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
While these are some known risk factors for breast cancer, it is essential to remember that most women with one or more of these risk factors will never develop the disease. Additionally, many women with no known risk factors will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Therefore, all women should be familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer and perform regular self-breast exams. Women should also talk to their health care providers about when to start having mammograms and how often to have them.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. However, not all breast lumps are cancerous. Breast lumps can be caused by various conditions, including cysts, fibroadenomas, and mastitis. Therefore, women need to have any new breast lump evaluated by a health care provider.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple pain
- Nipple retraction
- Skin dimpling
- Swelling in the armpit
Other conditions can also cause these symptoms, so it is essential to have them evaluated by a health care provider.
If a person has any of these symptoms, they must see their health care provider. While they may be caused by conditions other than cancer, it is essential to have them evaluated so that a doctor can determine the cause.
Breast cancer treatment will depend on various factors, including the disease's stage, the tumor's size and location, the patient's age and health, and the patient's personal preferences.
Stage 0 breast cancer is non-invasive and has not spread beyond the milk ducts. It is also known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Treatment for this stage may include surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, radiation therapy, or both.
Stage I breast cancer is invasive but has not spread beyond the breast. Treatment for this stage may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination.
Stage II breast cancer is invasive and has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. Treatment for this stage may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination.
Stage III breast cancer is invasive and has spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the chest. Treatment for this stage may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination.
Stage IV breast cancer is invasive and has spread to other body parts, such as the liver, lungs, or brain. Treatment for this stage may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
Breast cancer is a very treatable disease, and the vast majority of women diagnosed with the disease will go on to live long and healthy lives.