October 28, 2019
Less Common (But Important) Facts About Breast Cancer
Managing your health means attending regular doctor appointments, but it also means remaining familiar with your own body when you are not in the doctor’s office. One way to ensure this is to do regular breast self-checks, so you can monitor for any changes in your breasts. If you’re concerned about reducing your risk for breast cancer, read the facts below and share them with your loved ones to help spread awareness.
- Alcohol is linked to breast cancer – Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. (www.breastcancer.org)
- Men can develop breast cancer too – All people are born with some breast cells and tissue which can develop cancer. However, male breast cancer is very rare. Less than one percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men.
- Breast cancer can occur outside of your breasts too – breast tissue is found up to your collarbone and deep inside your armpit. Be sure when you are doing self-exams that you are checking these areas too. Don’t forget to check out our helpful graphic below, to guide you through the most thorough way to conduct a breast self-exam.
- Breast cancer doesn’t always present as a lump – When you are doing a self-check, be sure to look for other symptoms, like swelling around your breast, collarbone or armpit, skin thickening, breast warmth and itching, nipple changes or discharge or breast pain lasting more than three to four weeks.
- Some genes are linked to breast cancer – Having a BRCA1 and BRCA 2 (breast cancer genes 1 and 2) mutation can increase your risk for breast and ovarian cancer. About 5 – 10% of breast cancers in the US are due to inherited gene mutations. If you have a personal or family history of breast cancer at age 45 or younger, it might be a good idea to speak to your doctor about genetic counseling.
If you want to know more facts about breast health, be sure to read Westmed’s Comprehensive Breast Care Center’s Breast Health Booklet, which includes pertinent information about the importance of screening for cancer and where you can access medical services to help you.