Breast cancer is more common than you think. One in eight women is at the risk of having some form of breast cancer during her life. This makes it the second most common forms of cancer in American women, the first being skin cancer. The risk of having breast cancer for women over 50 is 65-70%, but a lot of women are diagnosed before their 40s as well. The prognosis for breast cancer in young women is worse. It is related to abnormalities in a genetic component and is commonly found to affect both breasts.
The death rate related to breast cancer has declined since 1990 due to earlier detection of the cancer and the advanced treatment options available. Here are some things women must know about breast cancer to diagnose it at the early stage.
1. Know Your Breasts
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in women from age 15-34. This makes it a serious disease and you should therefore get yourself checked for it regularly. You can go for self breast exams but have your doctor review it for you. The main thing is to know your breasts well so you know if there are any changes taking place in them and if there is, don’t take too long to call your doctor.
2. Be Persistent
If you feel something different about your breasts and your family members dismiss your concerns saying you are too young for breast cancer, don’t stop seeking answers. There have been cases of women as young as 15 dying of breast cancer. Do not wait to see a doctor if you suspect even a little something going on with your breasts. Diagnosing it early can make the treatment easier and increase the chances of you getting well.
3. You Have Time
Unlike other forms of cancer, you don’t have to begin treatment immediately. Therefore, take your time to choose your doctor. Get a treatment you are comfortable with and be aware of all the new approaches and treatment options available to you. Also consider the genetics of breast cancer, neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy done before surgery) and the individual risk you have by looking at your tumor’s molecular markers.
4. Pick Your Birth Control Carefully
There are some hormonal birth control methods are seen to increase the risk of breast cancer. If used for more than a year, contraceptives with just progesterone double the risk of breast cancer. Some birth control pills also increase the risk of breast cancer in women who have a family history of breast cancer. Therefore, it is important to be careful about birth control method you choose.
If you are worried about the risk of breast cancer, you should consult a doctor and also take a genetic test to find out if there is any predisposition of the disease in your genes. Pathway Genomics offers Hereditary Cancer Genetic Test™ to determine the risk of cancer. The knowledge from this test can help in taking early precautionary measures and develop an appropriate treatment plan against breast cancer.