Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives, and many of us know someone who has had it. It is the second leading cancer killer of women in the United States, after lung cancer. Thanks to screenings, breast cancer often can be found early, when the chance of successful treatment is the best. In fact, many women are even cured of the disease.
Cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal. With breast cancer, the cancer begins in the tissue that makes up the breast.
A woman should know how her breasts normally look and feel so that she can report any unusual changes to her provider. Symptoms can include:
- A lump or thick tissue in the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Changes in the shape of your breast
Many women with one or more risk factors never get breast cancer, but some do. Risk factors include: age, personal history, family history and breast changes.
To lower your breast cancer risk, focus your efforts on a healthy lifestyle with well-balanced meals, regular physical activity and limited alcohol.
Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your provider.
Screening and Diagnosis
Screening tests look for signs of cancer. If a screening mammogram or CBE shows a breast change that could be cancer, additional tests are needed to learn more.
Men’s Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Breast cancer in men is rare. It happens most often to men who are older than 60. Factors that can increase a man’s risk of breast cancer include:
- Exposure to radiation, such as from prior cancer treatment
- Having a harmful gene mutation or several female family members who have had breast cancer
- Having high estrogen levels, such as from disease or a genetic disorder
Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt. Treatment can help men with breast cancer, and survival rates for men and women are similar.