Every October, people all over the world show their support for people affected by breast cancer. “Wear it Pink” are some of the slogans which world uses to get attention and awareness among the community. For months, the coronavirus put many areas of breast cancer on pause. Now more than ever, we need people, communities, and businesses across the world to volunteer and spread awareness on this.
Right now, well over half a million people are living with the devastating impact of breast cancer. And if that wasn’t heart-breaking enough, by the end of the year we’ll have lost around 11,500 more lives to the disease. Breast cancer refers to cancers originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it’s important to check your breasts regularly and see your GP if you notice a change.
Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it
- A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- A change to the nipple, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
- Rash or crusting around the nipple
- Any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
- Changes in size or shape of the breast
Lifestyle reasons creating chance for breast cancer
Certain breast cancer risk factors are related to personal behaviors, such as diet and exercise. Other lifestyle-related risk factors include decisions some of them are
1. Drinking Alcohol
The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day have a small (about 7% to 10%) increase in risk compared with non-drinkers, while women who have 2 to 3 drinks a day have about a 20% higher risk than non-drinkers. Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of other types of cancer, too.
2. Birth Control
Oral Contraceptives or Birth Control shots : Most studies have found that women using birth control pills or shots have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them.
3. Hormone Therapy After Menopause
Hormone therapy with estrogen (often combined with progesterone) has been used for many years to help relieve symptoms of menopause and help prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. This increase in risk is typically seen after about 4 years of use. Combined HT also increases the likelihood that the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage.
How Can I Reduce the risk For Breast Cancer?
For women who are known to be at increased risk for breast cancer, follow the below steps,
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Avoid or limit alcohol
- Genetic counseling and testing for breast cancer risk
As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are major factors in determining the outcome. Breast cancer is easily treated and usually curable when detected in the earliest of stages. Whether you’re concerned about breast pain or tenderness, it’s important to stay informed on risk factors and warning signs of breast cancer.
The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk to your doctor about when you should start scheduling regular mammograms.