Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting American women. It’s also the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins at the breast. Just like most types of cancer, breast cancer develops when the cells in the affected site start to grow out of control.
Causes and Risk Factors
Doctors still don’t know the exact cause of breast cancer, but they’re able to pinpoint some factors that can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. This includes:
Women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer than men. This has something to do with the hormonal differences between the two.
A family history of the disease
If you have family members who have or had breast cancer, then your chance of developing it is higher.
Having received radiation treatments to your chest can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
Postmenopausal hormone therapy
Women who have received combined (estrogen and progesterone) hormone therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who haven’t had hormone therapy.
Being obese, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of breast cancer.
Can breast cancer be prevented?
Although there are certain factors you don’t have control of (e.g. a family history of the disease), there are things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening
You can discuss with your physician when to have and what breast cancer screening strategy that would work best for you.
Learn how to examine your breasts
Be familiar with your own breasts by learning how to do self-breast exams. If you notice any unusual changes in appearance, discharges, or presence of lumps, see your doctor promptly.
Live a healthy lifestyle
If you’re overweight, start making changes to get into a healthy weight. Eat a well-balanced diet, have regular exercise, quit smoking, and moderate your alcohol consumption – all of these can benefit you in the long run.
Limit postmenopausal hormonal therapy
Talk to your doctor for a better approach to hormonal therapy. For some women, choosing the lowest dose makes a good compromise.
Treating Breast Cancer
If you observe any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately. These could indicate breast cancer:
A breast lump that feels different from the surrounding tissue
Changes on the skin over the breast
Unusual breast discharges
Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast
Changes in the size or appearance of the breast
Treatment for breast cancer depends on a lot of things, including the type of breast cancer, cancer stage and grade, one’s current health status, and preference.
Dr. Elizabeth Lawson of Premier Surgical Lawson Group in Johnson City perform a variety of breast cancer surgeries (one of the treatment options for breast cancer). She partners with area oncologists and radiation oncologists to to identify the breast cancer treatment that’s best for you.
To learn more about your breast cancer surgery options, visit https://www.lawsonsurgical.com/surgical-services/breast-surgery/