Breast Cancer: Early Detection and Treatment Key to Survival

As terrifying as it used to sound, Breast Cancer is no longer as dreadful as it was several years ago. It’s still a serious disease but thanks to improvements in cancer treatments, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today.

BY: Ranya Elguendy

 

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The three most common symptoms are:

1. Changes in the look or feel of the breast

2. Changes in the look or feel of the nipple

3. Nipple discharge

Sensitive or lumpy breasts (with or without fibrocystic disease) may make it harder for you to feel the lumps, hard knots of tissue or thickening in the breast that may be signs of breast cancer. Other signs include unusual swelling, warmth and pain that do not change with the menstrual cycle and/or do not go away. Lumps do not necessarily mean you have cancer; most are benign.

Possible changes to the skin include redness, darkening, puckering (a pulling that causes an indentation), or dimpling. The latter is often called peau d’orange, French for “the skin of an orange,” which resembles the slightly pebbled look the breast skin may have.

An inverted nipple – one that pulls inward – may be another sign. Nipples may also become itchy, scaly, sore, or have a rash or discharge. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor immediately.

Many factors are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

The presence of these risk factors does not mean you are likely to get the disease, and their absence does not offer absolute protection either. For example, a family history of breast cancer is considered a principal risk factor. Yet 80%-90% of women who get the disease have no known family history.

One of the most important factors is aging. The older you get, the greater the risk. At age 20 your risk is just 1 in 1,985. But at age 70, your risk skyrockets to 1 in 24. If you live to 85 years old, your odds increase to 1 in 8. The lifetime risk of breast cancer is 8%, or 1 in 12.

Continued on page 3: Hope »

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