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Breast Cancer

Spanish Version

Breast cancer is a disease that unfortunately affects many women every year, and occasionally a few men. Breast cancer refers to the uncontrollable multiplication of cells within the breasts. It often affects the milk ducts but can also affect other tissue in the breast.

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

  • A lump in the breast, especially if it is painful (not all lumps are cancer)
  • Changes in color, texture, temperature of the skin for example darkening or dimpling
  • An area of the breast that is very different from the rest of the breast
  • Nipple changes, such as an inverted nipple, some itching or burning, presence of pus or blood oozing out
  • Swelling or pain in the armpit area
  • In advanced cases there can be fatigue, nausea, fever, weight loss, etc.

Who is at risk for breast cancer?

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Early menstruation
  • Breast Implants
  • Having your first child after the age of 35, or not having any kids.Family history: If your mother,sisters, aunts or any close relative has or had breast cancer you are at increased risk
  • Genetic conditions: There have been a couple of genes that have been related to breast cancer and its likelyhood to develop
  • Age: as you get older, the risk increases
  • Previous breast surgery
  • Hormone replacement therapy: This increases the likelyhood of cancer in susceptible individuals
  • Other types of cancer in the family

What can I do to make sure that I don’t have breast cancer? To prevent late stage cancer as well as progression it is recommended that you self examine at least once a month for abnormalities in the breast. This should take place at least a week after or before menstruation. While menstruating or near menstruation, there can be lumps or irregularities found secondary to hormonal action on the breasts.

Also, all women over 40 should have an annual mammogram. Women of all ages should go to their doctor as soon as an abnormality is found.

Are there any treatments for cancer? Yes, there are several treatments for breast cancer especially if it is found during the early stages, they can vary from radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. Before a diagnosis of breast cancer a biopsy will be needed.

Am I going to die if I have breast cancer? Every day less and less women die from breast cancer especially if diagnosed in the early stages. There are several types of breast cancers, and some of them have a very good prognosis if found early.

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