WOMEN’S HEALTH: BREAST CANCER

Did You Know?

According to health experts, all women are at risk for breast cancer—research estimates that 1 in 8 (or about 12%) of women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at some time in their lives. Read on to learn about causes and risk factors, as well as how to identify and prevent breast cancer.

The most common indication of breast cancer is discovering a lump in the breast or underarm area. Other signs include swelling, skin irritation/dimpling, nipple pain/abnormalities, redness or scaly skin and discharge from the nipple.

To detect breast cancer, physicians may use the following tests:

  • Mammogram – a breast X-ray
  • Biopsy – the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope
  • Estrogen and progesterone receptor tests – to determine the levels of each hormone
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of inside the body

The chance of recovery and the treatment options depend on many factors—including the stage of cancer, how fast the tumor is growing, hormone receptor levels and a woman’s age. Four common forms of treatment used for breast cancer are:

  1. Surgery, ranging from a small lump of tissue being removed to an entire breast (mastectomy)
  2. Radiation therapy
  3. Chemotherapy
  4. Hormone therapy
Healthy Hints

Medical experts attribute the development of breast cancer to a combination of both unknown and known risk factors. An extensive list of these factors can be found here.

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