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Welcome back to our #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth series, fellow readers!
In the last article, we gave a brief overview about what breast cancer is and talked about the anatomy of the breast (what the breast is made of). So make sure you don’t miss it by checking it out HERE!
Today, we are diving into the symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer.
GIF source: Tenor
Symptoms of breast cancer
As mentioned in our previous article, the World Health Organization indicates that breast cancer survival rate can be as high as 90% with the help of therapy, ESPECIALLY when they are detected early. 1 This is why it is important for us to take note of some of the warning signs of breast cancer!
Image source: Nilai Medical Centre
Some symptoms of breast cancer include 1, 2, 3, 4 :
Lumps or thickening in the breast. These are actually the most common symptoms of breast cancer! Lumps in the breast can occur for a variety of reasons, they might be painless or non-cancerous (up to 90%).
Change in size, shape or appearance of the breast.
Dimpling, redness, pitting (like the skin of an orange) or other changes over the skin of the breast.
Changes in nipple appearance (eg. newly inverted nipple) or alteration in the areola (the skin surrounding the nipple).
Nipple discharge that is abnormal (other than breast milk).
Other symptoms appear when breast cancer starts to metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. The lymph nodes under the arm are frequently the first detectable site of spread. Cancerous cells can also spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver, brain, and bones over time. By then, new cancer-related symptoms such as bone pain or headaches may emerge. 1
Do note that breast cancer symptoms that different people experience may vary across different situations. Some people have no signs or symptoms at all! 3 Women who have abnormalities in their breasts for one month or more should consult a healthcare professional even when no pain is associated with the symptoms. 1, 2
Risk factors of breast cancer
The chances of individuals developing breast cancer may increase due to the following factors:
Gender and Age. According to WHO, out of all breast cancers that occur in women, approximately half of them had no known risk factors for the disease other than their gender (female) and age (over 40 years). Although men can also get breast cancer, it is still much more common among women. 1, 5
Having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. 6
Reproductive history. This refers to information regarding a woman’s reproductive health, such as age when the menstrual period begins and the age of menopause. 6, 7
Image source: Envision Radiology
While the previously listed factors are unchangeable, there are also other factors that can be changed that depends on behavioural choices 1, 6 :
Lack of physical activity
Poor weight management (obesity or being overweight)
Exposure to tobacco smoke
Use of hormones for a long period of time
That’s all for this week everyone, see you guys next Sunday for the next episode!
A word from DOC2US
If you have any questions related to breast cancer, you can consult our professional doctors and healthcare professionals on DOC2US. DOC2US is a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere. For better communication, you can even send our online doctor images or voice messages related to your medical inquiry.
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Disclaimer: As a service to our users and general public, DOC2US provides health education contents. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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