Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 1, 2016

What is breast cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way. With breast cancer, the cancer begins
in cells that make up the breasts — usually in the tubes that carry milk to the nipple or the glands that make milk. The cancerous cells form a mass of tissue called a tumor.

Why should I be concerned about Breast Cancer?

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. It also is the second-leading cancer killer of women, after lung cancer. With breast cancer screening, including mammograms, doctors often can find cancer early. Treatment has the best chance of success when cancer is found early. Breast cancer in men is rare. It happens most often to men who are older than 60. Factors that can increase a man’s risk of breast cancer include: exposure to radiation, having a harmful gene mutation, and having high estrogen levels (from disease or a genetic disorder). Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt. Men who find a lump should see a doctor right away.

Breast cancer risk factors

The following are some risk factor associated with breast cancer: age, personal history of breast cancer, family history, inheriting
certain harmful gene mutations, breast changes that are not cancer, race, breastfeeding, physical activity, body weight, drinking
alcohol, taking hormones (estrogen and progestin).

Breast cancer treatment

Breast cancer treatment often involves more than one approach. The treatment plan your doctor suggests will be based on several
factors, such as:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The size of the tumor compared to the size of your
  • The type of breast cancer you have
  • Whether you have reached menopause
  • Your general health

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor lots of questions or to meet with other doctors. The better you understand your options, the easier it will be for you to make an informed choice about treatment.