Breast cancer is the most prevalent kind of cancer, outpacing colon, ovarian, pancreatic, and even lung cancer (though lung cancer is more dangerous). No-cost mammograms are available at professional medical facilities according to documentation from the CDC.
Women aged 40 to 49 should speak with their healthcare provider about scheduling a no-cost mammogram. Women over the age of 50 ought to get a mammogram every 2 years. The CDC also has the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program which provides free and low-cost screenings if you have no insurance or your insurance does not cover screening exams, for women aged 40 to 64 years old.
The most common kinds of breast cancer are Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. The former begins in the ducts and grows outside them into other parts of the breast tissue. In the latter, cancer begins in the lobules and spreads to breast tissues nearby. A lobule is a gland that produces milk. A duct is a tube that carries milk out of the nipple.
Various people will show symptoms of breast cancer differently; some people may even show no sign or symptom of the cancer at all. Various warning signs include new lumps in the breast or underarm, thickening or swelling of the breast, irritation of breast skin, redness or flakiness in the nipple area, nipple discharge (other than milk), or pain in the breast. The CDC notes that most breast lumps are caused by conditions other than cancer, so it is important to work with a doctor when diagnosing.
Breast cancer is typically found in women aged 50 and older, though men and younger women can get it too. Many people suffer from breast cancer risk factors which are out of their control. This can include having started menstruating earlier (before age 12), having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, having dense breast tissues, and genetic mutations. There are many risk factors which can be impacted, however. These include not being physically inactive, not being overweight (particularly after menopause), and having your first child before the age of 30 and breastfeeding (as opposed to having one after age 30 and not breastfeeding). Drinking alcohol is also a risk factor for breast cancer.
The CDC encourages women to breastfeed their children, if possible. They also encourage women to limit their number of alcoholic drinks. They also people to talk with their doctor about the potential risk factors associated with birth control pills. Screenings are encouraged because finding breast cancer early makes it easier to treat. Mammograms and ultrasounds are tests your doctor might use after a screening to help diagnose breast cancer, in addition to MRI’s (magnetic resonance imaging) and biopsies. The American Cancer Society recommends starting mammograms as early as age 40 if women wish to do so; women aged 50 and over are advised that a mammogram should occur once every one to two years.
Breast cancer is treated in many ways, depending how advanced it is. People may get surgery to cut out the cancerous tissue. They might have to undergo chemotherapy to kill the cancer; this can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins. Radiation uses high energy rays to kill the cancer cells. Hormone and biological therapy tries to block or fight cancer cells in the body. Hormone therapy helps decrease chance of cancer returning, and can help to shrink and control it. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your health provider will be sure to discuss all of these options with you.