Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women after skin cancer. The treatment options and survival rates for the disease have steadily improved over the years thanks in large part to increased awareness, research, and funding.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Early screening with mammograms and self examination can help to find lumps in the breasts and under the arm pits that can be a sign of breast cancer. Some of the most common signs of breast cancer include:
- A lump or noticeable changes or thickening of the skin surrounding the breast
- Discharge from the nipple
- Changes in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast
- Changes to the skin on the breast such as dimpling, redness, pitting (“orange peel”) effect
- An inverted nipple
- Skin that peels, flakes, or scales around the nipple or other parts of the breast
While mammograms are an important tool in detecting and treating breast cancer, a negative mammogram does not necessarily mean that a woman is free of breast cancer. Some tumors may be too small for example. Some women have denser breast tissue, which can also make it more difficult for tumors to be detected through mammograms.Let us help
Regular breast exams and monitoring for any potential changes in the breast are therefore very important in order to help detect the presence of breast cancer as early as possible.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Like many forms of cancer, breast cancer is believed to result from a complex variety of factors, such as lifestyle, environment, and genetics. There are certain genetic factors that can predispose certain women to developing the disease, but the majority of breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history or genetic predisposition to the disease. While breast cancer primarily affects women, it is important to note that it is possible for men to develop the disease as well.
BRCA 1 and BRCA 2
It is estimated that as little as five to ten percent of breast cancer cases are caused by hereditary or genetic factors. Many genes have been identified that can potentially increase the chances of developing breast cancer, but the most common genetic mutations that can lead to the disease are BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. Women with a family history of breast cancer can undergo genetic testing to learn if they carry the gene mutations.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
There are several factors that can increase the risk factors for developing breast cancer:
Female – While it is possible for men to develop breast cancer, the majority of breast cancer cases occur in women.
Family history – Most breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history of the disease, but having a mother, daughter, or sister that was diagnosed with the disease can increase the risk factors of developing the disease for some women.
Earlier diagnosis – An earlier diagnosis of breast cancer can increase the chances of developing the disease again down the road.
Age – The risk of developing breast cancer can increase with age.
Radiation – Exposure to radiation in the chest area can increase the chances of developing breast cancer for some women.
Alcohol Consumption – Excessive use of alcohol can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Age of onset of menstruation and menopause – Women that begin menstruating before the age of 12, and undergo menopause at an older than average age can be at a greater risk for breast cancer.
Pregnancy and childbirth – Having children after the age of 35, or never having been pregnant can elevate the risk of developing breast cancer for some women.
Contact Bicher Cancer Institute
The oncology and radiation experts at Bicher Cancer Institute have seen especially promising results for early stage breast cancer treatments with hyperthermia (heat) and radiation. Call today to schedule an appointment or consultation.
Read more about the effects of hyperthermia through our scientific paper – “Thermoradiotherapy Results in Localized Breast Cancer”we’re here to help