If you’re worried about developing breast cancer, you probably know that the first step in preventing the disease is to make sure you’re taking standard precautions to prevent it. With so much information out there about the different causes of breast cancer and the various risk factors, it can be difficult to know which actions are most important. We generally run awareness campaign in October regarding breast cancer.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast and can spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer happens when cells grow out of control. Sometimes, cells may build up and form a lump or mass in the breast tissue. Other times, cells may travel to other parts of the body via lymph nodes or blood vessels. The two most common types are carcinoma, which starts in the skin cells, and adenocarcinoma, which starts in glandular cells.
Things That Increase Your Risk of Breast Cancer
There are many things that can increase your risk of breast cancer. The most common risk factors are age, gender, and genetics. It is also important to undergo routine screening tests like mammograms and clinical breast exams (CBEs) starting at 40 years old. Standard precautions include avoiding alcohol consumption and obesity which could lead to hormonal changes that could contribute to breast cancer risk.
Certain types of birth control may also play a role in contributing to an increased risk so it’s important to discuss the risks with your physician before deciding on a form of birth control for yourself. It is also crucial not to smoke or use tobacco products as it may elevate the chance of developing this disease as well as other cancers such as lung cancer.
The Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer can be difficult to detect, which is why early detection is so important. The most common symptoms are breast lumps or a lump in the underarm area, changes in the skin of the breast such as dimpling or puckering of the skin, nipple discharge other than breast milk, and inflammation or thickening of the nipple.
If you have any of these symptoms it’s important to talk with your doctor about them because they could be related to an underlying condition or risk factor for breast cancer, including genetics, diet, and family history. It’s also important to practice standard precautions for breast cancer by limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding too much exposure to x-rays, staying up-to-date on mammograms and considering monthly self-exams in addition to regular medical exams from a doctor.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
Standard precautions for breast cancer to lower your risk is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, avoiding ionizing radiation exposure, staying out of the sun as much as possible, using sunscreen with SPF 30+, wearing protective clothing when in prolonged sunlight or exercising outdoors at midday.
During the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, there are many standard precautions to keep in mind. First off, you should limit your time spent in the sun without protection and avoid activities that would expose you to UV rays such as tanning beds and solariums. It’s also important that you do not smoke because it can lead to even more health problems than just lung cancer like other cancers, emphysema, heart disease, and many others.
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Keeping An Eye On It
Be aware that these are only guidelines, consult your doctor about what standard precautions you should take based on your personal medical history. The two main risk factors for breast cancer are age and family history. Women who get their first period before 12 years old or after age 18 face a higher risk than those who begin menstruating at an average age (usually between 13 and 15). If your mother, sister or grandmother has had breast cancer, it is wise to discuss the risks with your doctor so you can make informed decisions about how to protect yourself from developing the disease yourself.
Stay Healthy, See you in the next one.