Breast Cancer – A Mini Guide

With the recent news that Angelina Jolie had recently undergone surgery to remove both of her breasts as a preventative method against breast cancer; a cancer that she sadly lost her mother to at the very young age of just 56. This has, of course, massively raised awareness of the killing disease, and we decided that it was most definitely worth investigating more closely.

Angelina jolie
Source: Flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/4840431698/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Ladies – it’s time to get up close and personal with your breasts. Let’s start with the facts.

  • Approximately 1 in 8 American women will suffer at the hands of some form of breast cancer that is considered to be invasive.
  • American women are more likely to suffer at the hands of breast cancer than any other form of cancer, with the death rates for this particular cancer being the highest.
  • Approximately thirty percent of all cancers in women are breast-related cancers.
  • In one year alone – 2011, there were over 2.6 million survivors of breast cancer.
  • If you have a daughter, mother or sister that has had breast cancer, the chances of you getting it increases by fifty percent. Your chances of getting it actually double.
  • Around five to ten percent of breast cancers are caused by the gene that Angelina Jolie was found to carry – the BRCA1 gene, plus other genes similar to this. This makes Jolie’s case a relatively rare one.

Right, now who’s at the highest risk? It’s always wise to know this information – if you are in a higher risk bracket; clearly you are going to want to be touching up your own breasts much more often than normal. If you are female, you should be checking your breasts more, but men can get this form of cancer too so make sure that you don’t leave him out.

As you get older, your chances of getting breast cancer increases so the older you get, the more often you should be checking yourself. For example, between the age of 29 and 39, your chances of getting breast cancer are roughly 1 in 2,000. Once you reach 49, your chances are 1 in 50. Once you hit 69, the chances of you getting are 1 in 13. That’s pretty scary when you come to think about it.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, as we have already mentioned, you are at a higher risk of getting it so you should most definitely be keeping an eye on things in that department.

Keeping an eye on your boobs is the easiest way to ensure that, should you get this terrible condition, and we sincerely hope that you don’t, you can get yourself to the doctor, get diagnosed and get the treatment you need as quickly as possible. Imagine how you would feel if the doctor was to tell you that a lump had present in the body for some time and you just hadn’t noticed it because you hadn’t checked yourself recently.

There are a few key points that you should most definitely be keeping your eyes out for:

  • Changes to the shape of your breasts
  • Changes to the size of your breasts (sudden and obvious changes – subtle changes will occur over the course of your menstrual cycle)
  • Any irritation around the nipple or on the skin of the breasts and surrounding tissue – this is normally a rash or some redness that won’t go away
  • Any lumps – this should go without saying
  • Any thickening of the skin that feels abnormal – almost as though something might be growing underneath it
  • Any changes to the texture of the skin or the tissue in your breasts
  • Dimpling of the breasts
  • Discharge from the nipples when you are not breastfeeding or pregnant
  • Swelling around the collarbone and armpits
  • Pain in the collarbone, breast or armpit
  • Sudden inverted nipples
  • In short, should you notice any changes to your boobs AT ALL, get yourself to the doctor, As much as the problem could be something completely harmless, it could be a very dangerous killing disease and the sooner you get yourself to the doctor, the sooner you can get peace of mind OR the treatment you need to get better. It’s not worth taking the risk ladies – it’s better to be safe rather than sorry!

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