Breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers and there are millions of breast cancer survivors across the globe. While more and more women are becoming aware of cancer, here are some important facts about breast cancer.
Women today have gained more knowledge about warning signs and with the importance of self-examination, second opinions and treatment options, they are better equipped and more prepared than ever to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis. The survival rates continue to show a positive uptrend because of the availability of better treatments and improved screening methods which successfully detect cancers at treatable stages.
Facts About Breast Cancer
October is marked world over as the breast cancer awareness month. It is not just about pink ribbons and charity fund raisers, but this month has a lot more to it. Breast cancer awareness month offers us a reason to reflect. So, in the spirit of increased awareness and screening, here are certain important facts about breast cancer to help you understand this illness better.
Incidences: One of the most important facts about breast cancer is its incidence. Breast cancer is the second major cause of cancer related deaths in women, after lung cancer. Studies have shown that one in every eight women has a chance of developing breast cancer in her life.
Breast Cancer in Men: Men can get breast cancer too. Less than 1% of all breast cancer develops in men. This is surely one of the interesting facts about breast cancer. Men face a greater risk of mortality than women mainly because of minimal awareness about this illness. Men hardly tend to assume a lump as breast cancer and thus fail to get treated in time.
Relevance of Family History: Out of the facts about breast cancer, a surprising one is that 8 out of 10 women who get breast cancer have no family history of this disease.
Race: While non-Hispanic white women face a greater risk of breast cancer, African-American women have higher incidence before the age of 40 years and are more prone to mortality from breast cancer at every age.
Breast Cancer in Ashkenazi Jewish Women: One of the facts about breast cancer also reveals that women of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are at a greater risk of having BRCA mutation which is one of the known causes of breast cancer. So Ashkenazi Jewish women, especially those with a first degree or second degree relative on the same side with ovarian cancer or breast cancer, are strongly advised to get tested for BRCA mutations.
Grading & Stage: An important fact about breast cancer that all would like to know is that malignant breast tumors are cancerous in nature. Malignant breast tumor is classified using the system of tumor grading. However tumor grades and cancer stages are not the same thing. Tumor grades help in ascertaining the best treatment plan and generally, a lower grade tumor implies a better chance of full recovery. However, there are people who have made full recovery at every stage and even with the highest grades of aggressive tumors.
Role of Diet: A diet lacking fruits and vegetable, and rich in saturated fat increases the risk for breast cancer. This fact about breast cancer can surely help in planning a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent several cancers.
Smoking & Breast Cancer: Smoking leads to many diseases, including breast cancer. So it is advisable to quit smoking to decrease the risk of these diseases. One of the important facts about breast cancer is that compared to their non-smoker counterparts, young women who smoke have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Exercise: Exercise decreases the risk of breast cancer for females of all body types. Doctors recommend following a moderately-intense exercise regime to manage this risk. One should work out for around 150 minutes every week or 30 minutes every for at least 5 days a week, to derive maximum benefits. Exercise is also useful for breast cancer survivors. But studies have found that only one-third of breast cancer survivors meet the daily recommended activity levels.
Alcohol Intake: Regular drinkers may be astonished to know these facts about breast cancer. It is important for women to minimize their alcohol intake to tame the risk of breast cancer. They are advised to not have any more than a glass of wine, a hard liquor drink or a beer per day.
Osteoporosis: Research shows that breast cancer survivors face an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. This is because estrogen is known to have a protective effect on bones, and the reduced estrogen levels in the cancer patients triggers bone loss. These facts about breast cancer can help in planning a healthy routine for prevention of osteoporosis.
Treatment & Recovery: Comprehensive cancer centers established worldwide have reported higher rate of survival for breast cancer patients. It is possible to offer all-inclusive care to such patients that aids in timely treatment and better recovery.
Facts about breast cancer can create awareness. But when it comes to your own health risks and risk of breast cancer, you need to specifically discuss it with your physician. Timely check-ups, breast self-examination, evaluation of any breast lumps or other problems and investigations is necessary. Women should specially start getting a yearly mammogram done from the age of 40. Early diagnosis and timely treatment can help in dealing with breast cancer.
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