(CT News) – Breast cancer affects roughly one in eight women in the U.S. It is the second most common cancer for women in the country after skin cancer.
It is important to detect breast cancer early, just as it is with any cancer. Breast cancer can be treated more effectively and more likely to survive if it is found early. In order to detect cancer, it’s important to know the earliest signs.
How Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?
According to Dr. Natalie Klar, MD, a cancer expert at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer, so everyone should know its earliest symptoms. Some factors can, however, put some women at greater risk.
Women with a family history of breast cancer or who carry genetic mutations such as BRCA are at a higher risk, says Dr. Sure. A genetic mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 can increase women’s lifetime risk of breast by 80 percent.
Medical Director for JScreen’s cancer program, Dr. Jane Meisel, MD, is an associate professor in the Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine.
A person may also be more susceptible to cancer if they have dense breasts along with a family history of the disease or if they carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
According to both doctors, anyone can lower their breast cancer risk by adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Start by quitting smoking or vaping.
Tobacco use increases the risk of all types of cancer, including cancer, according to scientific studies. Alcohol consumption in excess also increases breast cancer risk, according to Dr. Meisel.
In agreement with Dr. Klar, excessive alcohol consumption at more than four alcoholic drinks a week is associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer.
A lack of exercise and obesity also increase the risk, according to both doctors. The goal of achieving a body mass index of 25 or lower can reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers, says Dr. Meisel.
In order to decrease the risk of breast cancer, Dr. Klar recommends eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Breast Cancer’s Most Commonly Missed Early Signs
In order to have the best chance of surviving breast cancer, early detection is crucial, as both doctors stressed. Is there anything you can do to ensure that cancer is caught early, if you do get it?
Don’t skip your mammograms. According to Dr. Sure, most cancers are diagnosed through routine screening mammograms and ultrasounds.
Every two years, women ages 50 to 74 should get a mammogram. Talk to your doctor about how often you should get a mammogram in your 40s, taking into account your health and family history.
The first noticeable symptom of breast, according to Dr. Klar and Dr. Meisel, is a change in the breast.
There may also be a palpable mass, discharge from the nipple, an inverted nipple, new breast pain or discomfort, a rash or redness on the breast, or skin dimpling. In order to detect these symptoms, it’s important to perform a self-breast exam every month.
According to Dr. Meisel, women with breast cancer often suffer from fatigue in addition to changes in their breasts.
Your healthcare provider should be consulted if you notice any changes to your breasts.
As part of your appointment, your doctor will likely perform a breast exam and recommend a mammogram or ultrasound. A biopsy may be recommended if the breast exam and imaging reveal anything abnormal.
The doctor uses a small needle to take a piece of breast tissue to examine and determine if anything is abnormal. Breast specialists will be consulted if the biopsy reveals abnormal breast tissue, such as breast cancer.
The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be cured, says Dr. Meisel. Remember to check your breasts monthly for any changes and don’t skip your mammograms. In your hands lies your health.