Stay in the know about Breast Cancer.
Why Is Breast Cancer Screening So Important?
Routine breast cancer screening is a proactive and preventative step in the fight against breast cancer. Screening helps to identify cancer before any symptoms appear, so that cancer can be detected at an early stage. When breast cancer is found early, it is easier to treat, and survival rates increase.
How does Breast Cancer occur?
When new cells in a part of your body are needed, your cells automatically divide or reproduce.
The trouble starts when these cells grow and multiply without limits, creating a mass of tissue called a tumor. If these cells are more normal cells, it’s considered benign and non-cancerous.
If however, the tumour abnormally grows out of control and begin to invade other tissue, it’s considered malignant and cancerous.
Am I at risk?
Age is the most common risk factor for developing breast cancer. At HealthHub Clinics by Al-Futtaim, we recommend that women over 40 years of age attend a breast screening every 2 years. If you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease or a known inherited genetic mutation, regular screening should start earlier.
What are the risk factors for Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is commonly found among women, both globally and locally, with aging being the most common risk factor for developing the disease.
While a specific cause of breast cancer has never been found, there are a number of controllable and non-controllable risk factors which can affect the likeliness of developing it:
Risk Factors You Can Control:
- Your weight and physical activity: Being overweight is a risk factor for breast cancer, so it’s important to eat healthy and take regular exercise.
- Breastfeeding: Studies show that breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of developing the disease.
- Oral contraceptives: Some birth control pills have been shown to have a link with increased risk of breast cancer.
- Reproductive history: Having your first pregnancy after the age of 30, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise the risk of breast cancer.
- Drinking alcohol: Studies show that a woman’s risk increases with excessive consumption of alcohol.
Risk Factors You Can’t Control:
- Being a woman: Although men can get breast cancer, it is much more common in women.
- Breast density: Your risk of breast cancer is higher if you have dense breasts. It can also make it harder to see tumors during mammograms.
- Getting older: Breast cancer can occur at any age but is more common in women as they get older.
- Reproductive factors: These include starting your period before age 12 or entering menopause after age 55.
- Exposure to radiation: Patients with a history of prior chest irradiation are at an increased risk.
- Family history: A family history of breast or ovarian cancer or other types of cancer may elevate the risk of breast cancer. Patients with a family history of cancer may be candidates for genetic testing.
- Genetic mutations: Women with inherited changes to certain genes including BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Having already had breast cancer: The risk is higher, if a patient has already undergone breast cancer and/or is suffering from certain types of benign breast conditions such as lobular carcinoma in situ, ductal carcinoma in situ, or atypical hyperplasia.
Women at high risk should have more regular screenings to detect any anomalies early.
How Do You Detect Breast Cancer?
Look out for these symptoms:
- A pea-sized lump on the breast, or in the underarm.
- A significant change in size and shape of the breast.
- A blood-stained discharge from the nipple.
- Dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed skin patterns on the breast.
- A shift in position of the nipple.
- An area different from any other area on either breast.
- A hardened area under the skin.
- Breast self-examination just can’t be ignored. Feeling and looking at your breasts, at the same time every month, can help you detect any changes that might be a sign of cancer. Self-exams shouldn’t replace regular screening, but they should become part of your routine.
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
- It begins with a thorough personal and family history analysis with a breast exam.
- A mammogram or an ultrasound of the breasts.
- Based on test results, a biopsy may be conducted to get a breast tissue sample.
- The tissue is then sent to a lab for testing.
- If cancer is detected, the pathologist can reveal the cancer type (ductal or lobular carcinoma) or if it has spread beyond the ducts or lobules (invasive).
- Hormone receptor tests can show whether some select hormones have helped the cancer to grow.
- If the test results are positive, the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal treatment. This therapy deprives the cancer of the estrogen hormone.
QUICK BREAST CANCER TRIVIA:
- Men get breast cancer too! A man’s lifetime risk of Breast Cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
- The left breast is 5 – 10% more likely to develop Breast Cancer than the right.
- Recent research revealed that women who worked night shifts for 30 years or more, were twice as likely to develop Breast Cancer.
- Breast Cancer occurs more in dogs than cats, but is more aggressive in cats than dogs.