They say, “knowledge is power” and when it comes to breast cancer, it can ease your fears and maybe save your life as well if you learn about it on time. And while breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, there are still some things that you might not know about it.
So, here are 6 little-known facts about breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Doesn’t Always Appear in The Form of a Lump
Breast cancer in its earliest stages usually doesn’t have any symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it’s not always in the form of a lump. Be on the lookout for any of the signs below and report them to your doctor right away.
- The appearance of a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest area or armpit. You might feel the lump, however you won’t be able to see it
- Unusual changes in the shape or size of the breast
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red-ish or slightly inflamed
- Look for changes in the skin texture i.e., dimpling or rumpling of the skin
- A rare discharge from either nipple
- Breast Pain lasting for more than 3 to 4 weeks
- Breast warmth and itching
Having a Male Relative Who’s Had Breast Cancer Increases Your Chances
Interestingly, you may be more likely to get breast cancer if you have a male relative who’s had the disease. And this is especially true if it’s a close family member like a father, brother or son. If you fall in this group, talk to your doctor about genetic testing to find out if cancer runs in your family.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight Can Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Being overweight or obese, especially after menopause, may raise your cancer risks. To keep your cancer risk low, avoid weight gain by eating healthy foods and staying active. Stick with a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. And, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine.
You Don’t Necessarily Need to Learn How to Do a Monthly Breast Exam
Studies show that doing monthly breast self-exams isn’t necessary. Instead, it’s more important to stay aware of how your breasts look and feel. If you notice changes, report them to your doctor without delay. This generally works just as well as doing a formal breast self-exam. Moreover, mammograms are magic so when your doctor recommends it, take one.
Men Can Get Breast Cancer Too
A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1000. Many people do not realise that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. But breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because they normally have lower levels of female hormones that affect the growth of breast cells.
Breast Cancer Is More Common in Left Breast Than the Right One
The left breast is 5 - 10% more likely to develop cancer than the right breast. The left side of the body is also roughly 5% more prone to melanoma (a type of skin cancer). Nobody is exactly sure why this is.In spite of the fact that a lot of focus is put on environmental factors and our lifestyles, just remember that breast cancer can be caused by factors that are outside of our control. There’s a myth that it’s your fault. “It is not your fault, there is risk with everything in life, don’t beat yourself for it.”