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Breast cancer: Symptoms, causes and awareness

Breast cancer is cancer which develops in the breast cells. Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. Men can also get breast cancer but that happens rarely.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Breast can occur due to a number of reasons such as a lump in the breast that looks and feels different from the surrounding area, inverting of the nipple, redness or blood discharge from the nipple, pain in the breast, swelling in the breast, changes in the skin of the breast.

It is important to get one checked if they feel any of these symptoms, disregarding them can worsen the problems.

Causes of breast cancer:

Alcohol

Drinking two to three drinks a day have about a higher risk compared to women who don’t drink alcohol. Women who drink alcohol should not have more than one glass a day to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Increasing age

Older women are more likely to be prone to breast cancer than younger woman.

Being overweight

Older women who are overweight due to menopause tend to have higher blood insulin levels, which have been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer. Women should try to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eating healthy and doing exercise on a regular basis can help counter the chances of breast cancer.

Family history

Chances of breast cancer are higher if the disease has been part of the family. But usually people with no family history have also been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Inherited genes

Breast cancer can also be passed down by genes from parents to their children.

Periods

Menstruation in women usually begins around 12-13 years of age. Beginning menstruation at an earlier age than 12 years can be a cause of breast cancer.

History of breast problems

If a woman has had a medical history of breast problems in the past she is more prone to developing breast cancer.

Having a child at an older age

Women who give birth at an older age are more prone to getting breast cancer.

Not having ever been pregnant

Subsequently, women who have never ever been pregnant are more inclined to getting breast cancer.

Awareness month

October is the month of breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment. Pink ribbons are worn to show moral support for the cause of awareness of breast cancer. Any individual looking to support the cause of breast cancer can join a charity, donate to research initiatives, help patients who have cancer by listening to their stories, taking them to chemotherapy, donating clothes to them, etc.

It is pertinent for one to get themselves checked if they feel any pain or symptom in their breasts. Most people forgo or ignore such symptoms which can cause problems to get adequate treatment.

So how are you playing your part in raising awareness for breast cancer?

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