As many as one woman in every seven will get breast cancer at some time in her life, which is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women from developed countries. Although this is overwhelmingly a female disease, about 1% of cases do occur in men.
Amongst women, breast cancer becomes more common as age increases with more than 80% of cases occurring in women over 50 years. Obesity and heavy drinking significantly increase the risk, while taking the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy only slightly do so. Family history is also important. Having close relatives (mother and/or sister) with breast cancer doubles or triples your risk of getting the disease, when compared to women with no cases in the family.
Fortunately, during the last 30 years, great progress has been made in early diagnosis and treatment of the disease and in reducing breast cancer deaths. In the past, a diagnosis of breast cancer usually meant radical surgery. Today, radical mastectomy is rarely performed, instead, there are more and better treatment options, and many women are candidates for breast-sparing operations
Most of us know someone with breast cancer and many of us worry whether we will be affected during our lifetime.
What can we do to lessen our risk?
We recommend regular (every 1-2 years) screening mammograms for all women starting from age 40 as early detection is very important.
Reasons to see your doctor:
- Breast Lump
- Change in the size or shape of a breast
- Dimpling of the breast skin
- Changes/inversion of the nipple
- Swelling or a lump in the armpit
- Family History of Breast Cancer
- Just worried and need to talk…
If you are worried about Breast Cancer, do not delay seeking advice. Schedule an appointment with one of our family doctors or gynecologists as soon as possible.