OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
MATHEW KNOWLES WAS ON THE SHOW FRIDAY TO DISCUSS HIS BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS.WHAT ARE THE SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER FOR BOTH MEN AND WOMEN?
For men and women, possible symptoms of breast cancer may include the following:
- Changes to skin overlying the breast. These changes can include dimpling, redness or scaling.
- Changes to the nipple which might include the nipple turning inward, redness or other skin changes
- Discharge from the nipple
- A lump or thickened breast tissue
REGARDLESS OF GENDER, WHAT CAUSES BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer occurs mainly in women, but men can get it too because they have breast tissue as well. Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells can then form a tumor.
WHAT FACTORS MAY AFFECT A PERSON’S RISK OF GETTING BREAST CANCER?
These are factors that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer in WOMEN:
- Being overweight or obese after menopause
- Drinking alcohol
- Not being physically active
- Women who have never had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk
- Some type of birth control and some types of hormone therapy
- Having a family history or personal history of breast cancer
- Certain genes
- Having certain breast conditions
There are other risk factors, but these are some.
These are some of the factors that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer in MEN:
- Older age
- Family history of breast cancer
- Liver disease
- Klinefelter’s Syndrome
- Heavy alcohol use
- Testicular conditions
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAST CANCER?
Yes, there are many different types of breast cancer.
SHOULD MEN DO CHEST SELF EXAMS OR ASK THEIR DOCTORS TO CHECK THEM FOR BREAST CANCER DURING ANNUAL EXAMS?
According to the American Cancer Society, “Careful breast exams might be useful for screening men with a strong family history of breast cancer and/or with BRCA mutations found by genetic testing. Screening men for breast cancer has not been studied to know if it is helpful, and mammography (x-rays of the breast) and ultrasound is usually only done if a lump is found. Men who are at high risk for breast cancer should discuss how to manage their risk with their doctor.” https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD WOMEN BE GETTING MAMMOGRAMS AND HOW OFTEN?
In general, the recommendation for when a woman of AVERAGE risk for breast cancer gets mammograms varies among different medical organizations often between the ages of 40, 45 or 50. Given the differing recommendations, it is important ALL women discuss this with their doctor to find out when is right for them to get screened and at what intervals.
It is also important to remember that if a woman is at higher risk for breast cancer due to a family history or other risk factors, she likely needs to be screened sooner and she should talk with her doctor about this.
The most important thing is to talk with your doctor about this early.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT A FRIEND OF FAMILY MEMBER WHO HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER?
Simply be there for them. Ask them what they need and how you can help. Lend a listening ear, travel to appointments with them, help them with the emotional aspects of this condition. Be supportive and be responsive to their needs.
WHAT ARE TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
There are many different treatment options available. Which treatment is chosen depends on the type of breast cancer, the stage of the breast cancer and other factors. Therapies can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and other therapies as well.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?
American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
CDC, www.cdc.gov. It is also important to talk with your doctor.
Dr. Jen is a board-certified family physician and associate professor at Rowan University. She frequently appears as a health expert on The Dr. Oz show, Fox news, CNN, HLN and others. Dr. Caudle graduated with honors from Princeton university and earned her medical degree from University of Medicine and Dentistry School of New Jersey.
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