Did you know? October is International Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, how about you learn some important facts about this disease and the importance of early diagnosis to raise your survival chances?
1- Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. According to global statistics, one in eight women is likely to develop this disease in her lifetime, so it should not be taken lightly. On the bright side, when breast cancer is detected early, survival rates can reach 95%.
2- Breast cancer symptoms vary from obvious to invisible
It is believed that breast cancer has clear symptoms that can be noticed on the body. But the truth is, symptoms are highly related to the cancer stage. One of the first symptoms is the presence of breast lumps that feel different from the surrounding tissue. Hence, it is crucial to do a breast self-examination every now and then, which we will be explaining below. There are other symptoms that might appear such as changes in the size or shape of the breast, changes and redness of the skin surrounding the breast, and nipple retraction.
3- Self-examination is necessary and must be done regularly
As breast lumps are one of the first symptoms of the disease, self-examination is necessary to detect any abnormal thickening. But how to perform breast self-examination?
– Simply, stand in front of the mirror and look carefully at your breasts. Note any changes in size or shape or any changes in the skin surrounding the breast.
– Raise one arm and use the fingers of the other arm to gently press your breast up and down, then slightly increase the pressure to feel any unusual lumps. After that, gently press your nipple, it should move easily. Repeat the same process on the other side, and make sure to cover the entire breast down to the armpit.
4- Mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer early
While self-examination can help you detect any breast cancer symptoms, nothing can replace mammography screening. You must get a mammogram once a year after the age of 40, even if you don’t notice any unusual symptoms or signs. Screening helps detect any tumor at an early stage when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. And don’t miss your chance in October, when several medical centers provide this screening for free or at a low cost.
5- Genetics is one of the major risk factors
A positive family history of breast cancer increases your chances of developing this disease at a younger age. Therefore, we can’t stress regular self-examination enough, as well as following-up with a specialist physician so you can undergo screening on his request.
The 5 basic facts about breast cancer are now in your hands, so don’t overlook this disease or ignore its symptoms. Most importantly, don’t forget your annual mammogram, your winning card in facing this deadly disease!