The amount of awareness surrounding breast cancer is quite less around the world, notwithstanding the misconception that the disease only affects women.
An annual campaign that aims to educate people about this form of cancer and spread awareness about its early detection, treatment, and care, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked from 1st October to 31st October.
Several people, organizations, and charities involve themselves in raising funds for breast cancer treatment and new research worldwide. Pink is the colour of this campaign and Seniority is here to touch upon the essentials that you need to know about breast cancer.
Understanding breast cancer and its types
Breast cancer awareness is very important. Here are a few facts and statistics about the disease. The most frequent type of cancer that affects women around the globe, breast cancer is responsible for close to 2.1 million casualties every year. According to the World Health Organization, 6,27,000 women have died due to breast cancer this year so far.
A condition that develops in the breast cells when they divide and multiply uncontrollably, breast cancer typically can form in either of these parts:
- Fatty tissue
- Fibrous connective tissue
Four main kinds of breast cancer
There are two primary buckets in which breast cancer types fall into, namely ‘invasive’ and ‘non-invasive’. Here are the common types:
1. Ductal carcinoma in situ
This noninvasive condition is caused due to changes in your breast duct cells.
2. Lobular carcinoma in situ
This noninvasive cancer grows in your breast’s milk-producing glands.
3. Invasive ductal carcinoma
Perhaps the most common kind of breast cancer, IDC starts by affecting the milk ducts and then invading the surrounding tissue and organs.
4. Invasive lobular carcinoma
This cancer types begin in the breast lobules and spreads to the tissues and organs around them.
Early signs of breast cancer
The key to curing or controlling breast cancer is early detection and diagnosis. The first and foremost sign of breast cancer is usually the feeling of unusual lumps in the breasts. And while these lumps could turn out to be just benign cysts that are not cancerous, it is best to be sure. A simple mammogram can help detect the formation or presence of any lumps, followed by a biopsy test which helps the doctor gauge whether these lumps are harmless (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
Here are a few other red alerts that should make you consider seeing a doctor and undertaking the prescribed tests:
- Unusual lumps in the breasts
- Pain in the breasts
- Discharge from the nipples
- Pain in the armpits
- Redness of the skin over the breasts
- Any unusual changes that you notice in your breast’s shape, size or appearance
As far as medical science and research are concerned, the following factors can put you at a risk of developing breast cancer at some point in your life:
- Lack of physical fitness
- Alcohol consumption
- Conceiving late (or not conceiving at all)
- Family history of breast cancer
How to prevent breast cancer
Here are a few ways in which you can give yourself the best chance of keeping breast cancer at bay:
- Learn everything there is to know about breast cancer
Look for health magazines, online resources or reliable blogs and update yourself on the concept of breast cancer and all related things.
- Become familiar with your breasts
Being very aware of your body is always a good thing – more so if you are looking to evade any risks of breast cancer.
- Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation
Staying off alcohol is definitely going to help you in more ways than one. But if you cannot, try and restrict yourself to not more than a drink a day.
- Keep a tab on your weight
Obesity can lead to multiple health problems, including breast cancer. Make sure you control your weight and follow an active lifestyle.
- Exercise regularly
This one is a no-brainer. Staying in good shape is a must if you wish to keep serious illnesses away. You can join a health club, go to the gym, swim, play a sport, go cycling, practice yoga or even set up your own home gym with a few exercise aids.
- Switch to a Mediterranean diet
Lots of fresh fruits, veggies, cereals, nuts, legumes, and olive oil – that should be your primary diet. And instead of red meat, go for grilled chicken and steamed seafood for all you meat lovers.
We hope you now have a good understanding of the basics of breast cancer. Of course, there is lots more to learn about it. Take it upon yourself to educate those around you, spread awareness about breast cancer, and go pink this October!
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