Like all forms of cancer, Breast cancer is made of unusual cells that grow out of control. Those cells may also travel to places in your body where they aren’t usually found. When that happens, the cancer is called metastatic.
Breast cancer usually begins either in your glands that make milk (called lobular carcinoma), or the ducts that carry it to the nipple (called ductal carcinoma). It can grow larger in your breast and spread to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs. Cancer may grow and invade tissue around your breast, such as your skin or chest wall.
Different types of Breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Some take years to spread beyond your breast, while others grow and spread quickly.
Different people have different symptoms of Breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.
Some warning signs of Breast cancer are:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
- Pain in any area of the breast
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
1. Keep Weight in Check: Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including Breast cancer, especially after menopause, so maintaining a healthy weight is important.
2. Be Physically Active: Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check and women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of Breast cancer.
3. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables and Avoid Too Much Alcohol: Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (a drink a day or under).
4. Don’t Smoke: Smoking is increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including Breast cancer.
5. Breastfeed, if possible: Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of Breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.
6. Avoid Birth Control Pills, particularly after age 35 or if you Smoke: Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. Women have a slightly increased risk of Breast cancer While they are taking birth control pills even worse if a woman smokes as could also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and uterine cancer – not to mention unwanted pregnancy.
7. Avoid Post-Menopausal Hormones: Studies show progestin hormones increase the risk of Breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible. The best person to talk to about the risks and benefits of post-menopausal hormones is your doctor.
8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for Women at High Risk: Approved by the FDA for Breast cancer prevention, these powerful drugs can have side effects, so they aren’t right for everyone. If you think you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.
* All content published is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.