Breast cancer is the growth of malignant tumors in the breast tissue. The most common type of breast cancer begins in the lining of the milk ducts but it can also initiate in the lining of the milk producing glands. Breast cancer is the third deadliest type of cancer and more than 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. It is estimated that 41,070 Americans will die from breast cancer in 2017.
Breast cancer can be treated most effectively when it is caught early. The best prognosis is for patients with early-stage breast cancer that has not yet spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. In early stages, the cancer is highly treatable and can often be removed in just one surgery. Later stages of cancer usually require more arduous treatments including chemotherapy, drug therapies, surgery and radiation.
Signs of breast cancer
Because mammograms do not find every breast cancer, it is important for every woman to know the feel and look of her breasts so that any irregularity can be discovered right away. If you have any of the following signs of breast cancer please call 281-341-3000 to set up a consultation with a Houston breast cancer specialist.
• The most common sign of breast cancer is finding a lump or mass. Painless hard masses with irregular edges are more likely to be cancerous but breast cancers can also be tender, soft or rounded. Sometimes these lumps might even be painful.
• Breast or nipple pain.
• Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
• Swelling of all or part of the breasts.
• Bloody discharge from the nipples.
• Redness, peeling, flaking or pitting on the skin of the breast or nipple.
• Nipples that turn inward.
• Swelling or a lump under an arm or around the collar bone can be caused by breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.
Even with a recent normal mammogram, it is vital to inform a healthcare provider immediately of any lumps or changes in the breasts, nipples or lymph nodes.
Risk factors of breast cancer
In the United States, a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer has gone up over the past three decades: from one in 11, to one in every eight. This rise is believed to be caused by women having children later in life and the higher levels of obesity. Here is a list of other risk factors for breast cancer:
• Late or no pregnancy – Women who never have children along with women who have children over the age of 30 are at a higher risk for breast cancer.
• Obesity – Fat tissue from obesity creates excess levels of estrogen, which has been linked with a higher risk of breast cancer.
• Not working out – Women who are not physically active are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
• Sex – Women have a 100 times greater risk of developing breast cancer than men.
• Age – The risk of breast cancer increases with age with most breast cancers being detected after age 50.
• Genetics – Women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of also being diagnosed with breast cancer.
• Early menstrual period – Women who started their menstrual cycles before the age of 12 are exposed to hormones longer and are therefore slightly more likely to develop breast cancer.
• Alcohol – Studies show that women who drink more alcohol are also more likely to develop breast cancer.
What to do if you have any of the symptoms of breast cancer
If you have noticed any changes in your breasts or nipples please contact the woman’s imaging center at OakBend Medical Center today at 281-341-2836 to schedule a mammogram. Additionally, if you’ve already had an abnormal mammogram, the oncologists at OakBend Medical Center are available to diagnose and treat both breast cancer and other non-cancerous breast problems.
OakBend Medical Center recognizes the anxiety that can occur with new or ongoing breast related problems, and they strive to ensure that every patient is welcomed into a comfortable and compassionate environment. The highly trained and experienced providers, front office staff and clinical staff will always be available for assistance throughout the entire testing, diagnosing and treatment processes. For more information please call 281-341-3000.