The month of October celebrates National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating patients and consumers on the importance of breast health and reducing the risk of breast cancer. Consider the following information on breast cancer to learn more about how you can maintain your long-term breast health and reduce your risk of breast cancer.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer refers to a disease in which cancer cells or tumors grow within the tissue of the breasts. While some types of breast cancer may be localized within the breast tissue, the cancer cells may also metastasize and spread to other areas of the body. Studies show that approximately 1 in every 8 women will suffer from breast cancer over the course of their lifetime; however, breast cancer may develop in men as well.
While the direct cause of breast cancer is unknown, there are several factors that may increase the risk of developing cancer, including:
- Increased age
- Family history of cancer
- Changes in breast tissue or increased breast density
- Gene mutations
- Tobacco use
- Overuse of alcohol
- Early onset of menstruation
Signs and Symptoms
Early stages of breast cancer may not demonstrate any symptoms, but as the cancer grows, the common signs include:
- A lump or the thickening of the tissue in the breast or in the underarm
- Change in size or shape of breast
- Nipple discharge
- Changes in the feel or look of the breast tissue, areola, or nipple
Prevention and Treatment
The best way to treat breast cancer is to find it early through the use of clinical breast exams, self-breast exams, and mammograms. However, individuals suffering from breast cancer have a number of treatment options, including a lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biologic therapy, and hormonal therapy.
Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our Cancer Center provides ongoing cancer support services, diagnostic imaging, and treatment services to help cancer patients beat this devastating disease. Learn more about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by contacting us at (951) 788-3000 today!