Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women and develops when cells in the breast begin to abnormally grow out of control. A tumor commonly forms as a result of uncontrolled cell growth. A tumor can be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are considered cancerous, (and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body) while benign tumors are not. The most common breast cancers start in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple or in glands that make breast milk. This typically affects women, but men can develop breast cancer as well.
Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel will facilitate early detection of changes. Finding breast cancer as early as possible will give the best chances of successful treatment. Since not all breast cancer causes lumps or tumors, it is important to have regular mammograms in addition to self-examination. Mammograms can help detect breast cancer before symptoms develop. Symptoms include swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, pain to the breast or nipple, nipple retraction, changes in nipple/breast skin (such as scaling or thickening) and nipple discharge.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 40,610 women will die from breast cancer in 2017 and 252,710 new cases will be diagnosed. It is most common in white and African American woman compared to other ethnicities.
Breast cancer treatment can include local treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy. Treatment may also include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Most patients will have a combination of surgery to remove the tumor and some other form of treatment depending on the advancement and type of cancer.
For more information please visit breastcancer.org and give your doctor a call to set up an appointment to get checked out today. Remember routine physicals are a great way to catch any problems before its too late.