Receiving a positive diagnosis about breast cancer for yourself or concerning a loved one can be one of the most disappointing moments in your life.
It is human to feel distressed and even helpless but, the sooner that you can pick up your better senses, the better it will be for you and your family.
Presence of mind is important in these trying times and it all begins by exerting extra effort to learn more about breast cancer and what you should expect in the coming months or years.
Learn the facts and myths about breast cancer as your first step in winning your war against it.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Cancer can be a debilitating health condition that affects not just individuals, but families and entire communities. Cancer technically involves abnormal cell growth and mutations that can be isolated in early stages, but spread throughout the body in latter stages.
It has real and practical implications on a person’s health and well-being, affects an affected person’s social networks, and suffers productivity and economic conditions.
Breast Cancer Facts And Statistics
Here are the 10 things you need to know about breast cancer right now:
Fact 1: Breast Cancer Is The Leading Cause Of Cancer Among Women Around The World
According to reports from the World Health Organization, in 2011, half a million women died due to breast cancer (about half come from developing states!).
In the US, reports made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) point out that in 2013 alone, more than a quarter of a million women tested positive for breast cancer. Some 40,000 women died of the disease in the same year.
Fact 2: Breast Cancer Also Affects Men
In 2013, the CDC reports that 2,109 male Americans were diagnosed with breast cancer. In the same year, 464 succumbed to the disease.
Fact 3: Breast Cancer Is Caused By Abnormal Breast Cells
Breast cancer may start off as a lump, but can spread throughout the body as well. There is no one cause, but a long list of risk factors.
Fact 4: There Are Many Factors That Can Put You At A Higher Risk For Developing Breast Cancer
These factors include: Beyond age 50, previous history of breast cancer in the family, physical inactivity, early onset of menstruation, intake of external source of hormones (such as oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy), large breasts, late or no pregnancy, exposure to radiation, unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Fact 5: Poor Lifestyle Raises Your Risks For Breast Cancer More Than Your Family’s History Of Breast Cancer
Most women get alarmed hearing about their mothers or an aunt being diagnosed with breast cancer. Fact is, absence of regular physical activity raises your risk for developing breast cancer much more significantly than your family history.
Fact 6: Breast Cancer Can Be Detected Early
Self-breast examination is the first step of early breast cancer diagnosis. Some of the signs to look for early detection are:
- Discharge, discoloration or pain on the nipples or any part of your breast.
- Lump on any part of your breast or on your underarms.
- Skin dimpling or changes in the texture of breast skin and areola.
Fact 7: Mammogram Is The Gold Standard For Breast Cancer Detection
A consultation with a professional will often involve a series of screening tests which often includes clinical breast exam and ultrasound. If lumps are observed, a mammogram will be able to confirm initial results.
Experts recommend that women above 50 years of age should get a mammogram every two years. Women at higher risk may have to begin earlier.
Fact 8: Early Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer Increases Survival Rates
While breast cancer survival rates depend on individual health conditions and other personal circumstances of the patient, the outlook is bright for people who are diagnosed with “stage 0” or “stage 1” breast cancer.
Fact 9: Breast Cancer Treatment Is Available
Several treatment options are available for women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. Most will involve a combination of several treatments that include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Fact 10: You Can Lower Your Risk For Breast Cancer
That is, by getting on a healthier lifestyle! Eat healthy, exercise regularly, turn away from your vices, and make sure you are getting your breast screening exams periodically.
When you are able to tell breast cancer facts from myths, you are already enhancing your rates of surviving this most common disease among women like yourself.