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Women’s Health – Breast Cancer

According to recent research, approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at some time in their lives. Keep reading to learn more about risk factors associated with breast cancer, as well as how to identify and treat this disease.

Risk Factors

Medical experts attribute the development of breast cancer to a combination of both unknown and known risk factors. Some risk factors are unavoidable, while others can be prevented through lifestyle changes. The most common risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Being a woman over the age of 50
  • Having a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, or certain non-cancerous breast diseases
  • Starting menstruation under the age of 12
  • Being overweight or inactive
  • Smoking or drinking excess alcohol

Detecting Breast Cancer

To detect breast cancer, physicians may use the following tests:

  • Mammogram—This is a breast X-ray. Women over age 50 should get a mammogram annually.
  • Biopsy—This entails the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope.
  • Estrogen and progesterone receptor tests—These tests are used to determine hormone levels.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—An MRI procedure uses a magnet, radio waves and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of inside the body.

Treatment Options

The chance of recovery and the treatment options for breast cancer depend on many factors—including the stage of cancer, how fast the tumor is growing, hormone receptor levels and the woman’s age. Four common forms of treatment used for breast cancer are:

  1. Surgery (ranging from a small lump of tissue being removed to an entire breast)
  2. Radiation therapy
  3. Chemotherapy
  4. Hormone therapy

Know the Signs

It’s critical to assess your body regularly for potential signs of breast cancer. Common symptoms include a lump in the breast or underarm area, nipple pain or abnormalities, redness or scaly skin near the breast and discharge coming from the nipple. If you detect any of these signs, consult your doctor immediately.

This flyer is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. © 2007-2011, 2013, 2016, 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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