September 29th, 2020
Did you know that there’s a 1 in 8 chance that a woman would develop breast cancer?
To create awareness around this subject, many countries mark October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Need to be More Informed
It’s essential that women are more aware and informed about breast cancer (It’s worth noting that men can get breast cancer as well; although that happens rarely).
While the number of deaths from breast cancer might seem scary, the reality is the mortality rate has progressively declined over the years. This declining rate is because of early diagnosis and personalized treatment.
Now, early diagnosis is only possible if the person in question is adequately informed about the possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and how they should go about getting necessary tests, consultation, and treatment if they indeed have cancer.
There are countless examples where people in high-risk groups remain safe, while those with virtually no risk factors develop breast cancer.
So, having (or not) any breast cancer risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Anyone can get the disease.
But it still is a point to consider and begin with.
For instance, if you are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, staying cautious right from the get-go is a good idea.
There are numerous hormonal, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors that put you at greater risk of developing breast cancer. Some of them can be managed; others are out of control.
As mentioned earlier, men can get breast cancer as well. But it’s rare! The chances for a woman getting this cancer is much more. So, if you’re a woman, you’re more likely to be at risk.
Similarly, age is an important determinant. The older you get, the more the risk increases. Only 10-15 percent of breast cancer occurs in women less than 45 years. Once you cross 50, the chances of getting diagnosed with the disease rises.
If breast cancer, or any other type of cancer, runs in your family, it could be a telltale that you might fall in the same line.
Also, there are certain gene mutations (of which BRCA1 and BRCA2 are most well-known) that put you at a greater risk of getting breast cancer. They are passed to children from parents. Genetic testing can help detect the presence of genetic problems.
The kind of lifestyle you live also influence whether you can get breast cancer or not. Obesity is a big problem. It increases the risks. So do a sedentary lifestyle and alcohol consumption.
If you’re overweight and are physically inactive, you want to change that.
Plus, if your alcohol consumption isn’t properly rationed, you must keep a check on it.
Various other factors put you at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
It includes radiation exposure, history of breast problems, high breast density, and so on.
These factors increase the risk by varying degrees.
If you do see any of these risk factors in your case, do not panic. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have – or you will have – breast cancer.
In the same context, even if you don’t notice these risk factors, that doesn’t guarantee you’re safe.
In any case, you want to get tested for proper diagnosis.
But before that, you should ideally consult your doctor and address your concerns. If they do see the need for it, they would recommend mammography, which will help examine your breast and diagnose any possible problem, including cancer.
Read this: What To Expect From Your First Mammogram?
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