Breast cancer is the leading in women, considered as a major health problem in any parts of the world, but most prevalent in developed countries. According to ACS or American Cancer Society, about 40,000 women die each year in United States from cancer originating in the breast.
That’s about 1 in every 8 women at 85 years of age will have this illness some time in her life. CCS or Canadian Cancer Society reports about 19,000 new cancer cases each year and 5,300 women die from this disease annually. Breast cancer is not exclusive for women though, males can also be affected with this illness, but it usually occurs 100 times more in women than in men. Truly this is a very serious health problem that should be dealt with right maturity to get through with it.
Early detection of this type of cancer can lead to better cure. For early detection, ACS has developed guidelines for women to spot symptoms of this illness on their own.
Doctors and scientists could not explain yet what causes breast cancer but studies shows that many categories of women are very susceptible to the risks of this disease.
Those women with long menstrual history (i.e. menstrual period starting at the age of 12 years old to 50 years old), and those women who gave birth on or after the age of 30 years old are the common patients of this illness.
Other factor that is said to leads to the development of cancer cells in the breast is taking birth control pills and HRT or hormone replacement therapy. These factors affect the hormone balance of women, which then exposes to prolonged exposure to female sex hormones or estrogen.
Women at the age of 20 to 39 years old should take physical examination, specifically CBE or clinical breast cancer exam at least every 3 years. Examination should be conducted by professional practitioners like physician, physician assistant, and nurse. This examination may often as Pap smear.
In physical exams, special attention is given to the characteristics of the breast. From its texture, shape, locations of lumps and whether such lumps are connected to the skin or deeper tissues.
Small accumulation of lumps may not be detected by mammograms but can be felt through CBE. Thus, it is advised to take both CBE and mammogram in the same month of test.
Women of 40 years and older should take CBE annually. This should be performed along with mammogram. National Cancer Institute recommends women of 40 years and above should take mammogram screening every year.
Self exams are also suggested to spot possible breast cancer development. The ACS suggests that once you feel suspected areas in your breast, visit your physician right away. Women who want to learn self exam should seek help from healthcare professionals on how to perform the exam correctly.
Finding the breast tumor when they are smaller can help stop the development of the tumor, it has bigger chances of saving your breast and avoid mastectomy and reduce the need for taking painful procedures like chemotherapy.