7 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer
There are currently more than 3.8 million women and 2,650 men diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. It is one of the most common cancers in the UK, but more and more people are surviving breast cancer than ever before. These 7 things are commonly overlooked when it comes to breast cancer awareness and the disease itself.
It's Okay to Ask for a Second Opinion
Getting a positive diagnosis for breast cancer doesn't mean you actually have this disease because breast cancer can be misdiagnosed as a benign tumor. Getting a second opinion could save your life and calm your nerves, whether you have cancer or not. For the most part, an abnormality won't be cancer because many symptoms, such as a lump, are a part of regular breast changes. Speak to another GP to confirm if the swelling is non-cancerous or something serious.
Knowing Your Breast Can Save Your Life
All breasts aren't created the same, and some may reveal a problem quicker than others. For example, if you're a woman with A-B cup breasts, it will be easier for you to do a breast exam on yourself to find a lump, but larger cup-sizes have more fat to work around. Check your breasts daily for signs of thickened tissue, skin changes, dimpling, puckering, or swelling in the armpits. Discharge from either nipple is usually a bad sign unless you're breastfeeding.
Breast Cancer Accounts for More Than One Disease
When people hear "breast cancer," they think of the aggressive, 4th stage cancer that will lead to death, but most cases aren't as severe. One positive to detecting breast cancer if you show physical symptoms as early as the 1 stage, which has a 98% survival rate. Unless you are highly resistant to pain or have large breasts, you'll likely notice something is wrong and catch cancer early. However, even the 3rd stage has a high survival rate of 86%, so stay positive!
Most Breast Cancer Isn't Hereditary
A major misconception of breast cancer is that you inherit the disease, but that isn't always true. Some cases are hereditary, but only 5% inherit the altered gene. Due to how common this cancer is, there is a natural conception that you will always develop breast cancer if your Mother or Grandmother developed these tumors. If you're worried about a potential genetic link to breast cancer, speak to your GP on how to lower your risk through diet.
Routine Screenings Should be Commonplace for Women Over 50
Breast cancer screening can save your life and is linked to saving thousands of women from premature death in the United States. Since breast cancer is more common in women aged 50 to 70, it's essential to ask your doctor if you're in this age range for routine screenings. Women over 70 won't be invited to screenings by their doctors, but it's still important to ask for this test anyway. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to detecting cancer at an early stage.
Breast Cancer has a High Survival Rate
Getting cancer is a terrifying experience that shouldn't be undermined by a high survival rate. No matter how likely you are to survive, it doesn't make the experience any less painful or impactful to your life. Still, you have a nine in ten chance of beating breast cancer, and that number continues to rise every year. It's possible that over a million people will survive breast cancer in 2030, but the emotional and physical trauma may last years after diagnosis.
Women Are More at Risk Than Men
While men do get breast cancer, it's 99% less likely to occur in men. It's likely because women have more hormonal changes that stimulate and respond to breast cells. Lifestyle factors can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, as an unhealthy diet, obesity, excessive alcohol, and being sedentary seem to encourage cancerous tumors.