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Breast Cancer Affecting Women

Sep 3, 2008
Breast cancer can affect women and men alike and is the second most common type of cancer worldwide next to lung cancer. Breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Among women, breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Breast cancer is more prominent in industrially developed countries than in countries not industrially developed.

There are plenty of signs or symptoms involved with detecting breast cancer. The most notable sign or symptom is the discovery of a lump on the breast. This lump usually feels different than the surrounding tissue. More than 80 percent of breast cancer cases are discovered by the woman doing a self-test and finding a lump on the breast according to the Merck Manual. The first red flag of breast cancer discovered by doctors is through mammograms according to American Cancer Society.

If a patient finds a lump or lumps in the armpits or lymph nodes this can also be an indicator of breast cancer. Other signs of breast cancer are changes in the size of the breast, skin dimpling, nipple inversion or spontaneous nipple discharge. Another sign is the reshaping of the breast. Patients who suffer from breast pain can be a misleading sign of breast cancer. It is not normally breast cancer if a patient suffers from pain but could be other breast-related problems.

There are ways to prevent breast cancer or help to prevent the condition. Having more children, breastfeeding, and exercising three times per week for an hour each time. This exercise regimen has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer by up to 40 percent. High intake of soy, folic acids, and avoiding secondhand smoke also help to prevent the development of breast cancer.

The most common way for women to detect breast cancer is through screening at a doctor's office. The screening is known as an X-ray mammography. This process is quick, accurate and readily available in most industrially developed countries. It has been estimated that breast cancer mortality has been reduced between 20-30 percent because of mammography testing. Doctors worldwide recommend that women, beginning in their forties, get a yearly mammography to check for lumps in their breasts.

Treatment of breast cancer, if a lump is discovered and the tumor is localized, includes surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. There is also immune therapy and hormone therapy for breast cancer patients. Radiation can be used following surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.

Breast cancer isn't located just in the breast. Breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body, which is known as metastasis. Breast cancer spreads most commonly to the lymph nodes under the arms. Breast cancer can also spread to other parts of the body via the blood vessels. It can spread to the lungs, brain, the liver and even to the bones. Almost 70 percent of the time that breast cancer spread it spreads to bones of the ribs, arms, and the legs. If breast cancer is spread to the bones it is treatable but not curable.
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