Breast cancer

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After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer suffered by women around the globe. It has the highest death rate in women ranging from 35-50 years of age and 5-6% is genetic, therefore, it is imperative to be aware of the early signs of the cancer and evaluate the family history related to the condition.

It is recommended that women should get their breasts examined monthly and after the age of 40, they should acquire a mammogram yearly.

Early signs of breast cancer

It is important to know that every woman is at risk, however, some of the known factors that are associated with breast cancer include:

  • An early onset of the menstrual cycle or a late onset of menopause
  • Having no children or having them at the age of 30Breast cancer
  • A family history with breast cancer
  • A family history with endometrial or ovarian cancer or fibroadenosis
  • Prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation, pollutants or chemicals
  • Acquiring hormone replacement therapy after menopause for more than 5 years
  • Ethnic background. Statistics show that Caucasians report the largest number of breast cancer cases
  • Obesity may be linked as well

When to visit a doctor

It is not true that a lump indicates breast cancer. Studies show that usually 8 out of 10 lumps are actually harmless and not malignant tumors. However, it is crucial to see your doctor if you discover any changes in your breast including a lump, discharges and skin changes. Whatever seems normal to you might be abnormal and this can only be recognized by a doctor. Many women abstain from getting their breasts diagnosed as they are afraid of the dangers ahead. However, it is important that you take care of yourself and your health and get treatment as early as possible to prevent more severe complications. It is advisable that you visit your doctor regularly and get regular mammograms (breast X-rays).

What is a lump?                                       

A lump will be a loose clot under your skin which will be hard and painless. With time, the lump will be attached to the muscles in your breast and will not be moveable anymore. Sometimes the skin may even retract, indicating a sign of cancer. If you feel a lump in your breast, consult your doctor immediately for a mammogram to confirm the presence of cancerous tissue.


Between your doctor’s visits, it is important that you keep yourself updated about any problems that may arise with regular self-evaluation:

  1. Keep your arms on your hips and look at your breasts in the mirror. Keep your shoulders straight. Look for any changes in size, color and shape. Make sure that your breasts look normal in shape without any swellings or distortions. If you notice any dimpling, bulging or puckering of your skin, visit your doctor immediately. Look for any sores, redness, swelling or rashes
  2. Raise your arms and follow step 1 by looking for the same changes as before.
  3. Gently squeeze your nipple to check for any discharge—this can be a yellow or white fluid or blood.
  4. Lie down and in a clockwise, circular motion feel for any lumps from your armpits to your cleavage using your hands, gently but firmly. Make sure you cover your entire breasts till your collar bone. Start by touching each region softly and then add more pressure to check deeper tissues.
  5. Follow step 4 while you are sitting and standing. If you find any lump, visit your doctor immediately.

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