BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
Lifestyle-related Breast Cancer Risk Factors
- Drinking alcohol
- Being overweight or obese
- Not being physically active
- Not having children
- Not breastfeeding
- Birth control
- Hormone therapy after menopause
- Breast implant
American Cancer Society screenings recommendations for women at average breast cancer risk
Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
All women should understand what to expect when getting a mammogram for breast cancer screening – what the test can and cannot do.
For more complete information please visit www.cancer.org and www.nationalbreastcancer.org
BREAST CANCER IN MALES
Breast cancer is prevalent amongst women however both MEN and WOMEN are at risk since both sexes have breast tissue.
Until puberty (on average around age 9 or 10), young boys and girls have a small amount of breast tissue consisting of a few ducts located under the nipple and areola (area around the nipple). At puberty, a girl’s ovaries make female hormones, causing breast ducts to grow and lobules to form at the ends of ducts. Even after puberty, boys and men normally have low levels of female hormones, and breast tissue doesn’t grow much. Men’s breast tissue has ducts, but only a few if any lobules
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers). Some start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers). Men have these ducts and glands, too, even though they aren’t normally functional. There are also types of breast cancer that start in other types of breast cells, but these are less common.
It’s also important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or malignant (cancer) and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Men
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease.
Some men with one or more breast cancer risk factors never develop the disease, while most men with breast cancer have no apparent risk factors.
- Family history of breast cancer
- Inherited gene mutations
- Klinefelter syndrome- a congenital (present at birth) condition that affects about 1 in 1,000 men.
- Radiation exposure
- Liver disease
- Estrogen treatment
- Testicular conditions