Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.
Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths associated is steadily declining, largely due to factors such as earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue.
- Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast.
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling.
- A newly inverted nipple.
- Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin.
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange.
- It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment. Breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
- Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.
- Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors as increase risks of breast cancer.
- Early breast cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.
- Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam for breast awareness by occasionally inspecting your breasts to determine if there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day, if you choose to drink.
- Exercise most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise.
- Choose a healthy diet. A Mediterranean diet focused mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.
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