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4 Breast Cancer Facts to Spread Awareness
This October, Saber Healthcare encourages our staff, residents, and families to educate themselves about breast cancer. October is dedicated to learning about breast cancer, who it affects, and how you can help those who have it.
To help spread awareness and educate those who are interested in researching more, we’ve compiled a list of four facts that you may have not known about breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Affects Men, too
When you think of breast cancer awareness, you might picture it as a women's-only issue. After all, women are usually the face of these campaigns, and the breast cancer ribbon is the color pink.
However, men are also able to have breast cancer. According to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, 2,190 men will be diagnosed and approximately 410 will die. They also state that men’s breast cancer mortality rate is higher than women because awareness for men is lower.1
That means many men out there don’t think about the possibility of having breast cancer, even if they exhibit the signs and symptoms.
If you think about it, roughly 18.72% of men who end up having breast cancer will not survive because of society’s lack of awareness.
However, you can take steps to start educating others around you to help the men in your life get the care they need. This starts by learning how breast cancer affects men and how you can raise awareness.
Symptoms in Men
- A lump in the breast
- Pain or aching that feels like tugging in the nipple area
- Flaky skin
- Swelling in the breast
With this in mind, it’s important for men to periodically observe if they possess any of these symptoms. After all, regularly checking up on your body can help you or your loved one catch early warning signs.
Furthermore, the quicker breast cancer is discovered, the sooner you or your loved one can start taking steps to help fight it.
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms in the chest area, it’s important to consult a doctor about the possibility of breast cancer. Make sure you discuss your condition in detail and stay open to any other possibilities they may suggest.
Women who get screened are more likely to Survive
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, it can be scary to think about the fact time may be limited. After all, America is still fighting for a cure and looking for new ways to help safely stop the cancer from spreading throughout the body.
However, there are many positives when it comes to educating yourself and identifying the cause of breast cancer. Empowering yourself with knowledge can help you or your loved one get the right care, especially in the early stages.
Getting a Mammogram
A mammogram is an x-ray test that scans the breast for cancer. It’s generally recommended by health professionals to get one yearly or biyearly to check for breast cancer.
The American College of Radiology states that mammograms have reduced the amount of breast-cancer related deaths by 40%.3 That means by simply having you or your loved one get a mammogram, you can potentially save a life.
It’s important to understand that even if you or your loved one feels fine, you should still consider getting regular mammogram checks. After all, the earlier your doctor identifies the cancer, the more they can work to treat and help you through it.
You should also be aware that just because you end up with a positive mammogram, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer.
Out of a hundred women, ten will be asked to come back – luckily, six of those ten will find that their mammograms are normal.3
Your doctor may also look at other medical possibilities if you receive a positive mammogram. However, if you do have breast cancer, it’s better to find out sooner than later.
Breast Cancer is More Likely to Be Found in Older Women
When it comes to the possibility of having breast cancer, age is one of the biggest determining factors for those who are diagnosed.
According to breastcancer.org, roughly two of three breast cancer cases are found in women aged 55 and older.4
The older we get, the more we have to work to keep our bodies healthy and in shape. After all, aging causes more chances for our cells to mutate, and our bodies may not fight off disease as easily as they used to.
However, that doesn’t mean breast cancer can’t affect younger women. Even though women still in their early twenties and thirties are only 5% of all breast cancer cases, it’s still the leading type of cancer for this demographic.5
How to prevent breast cancer as you age
No one can prevent aging, since it’s a natural part of life.
However, there are still some risk factors you or your loved one can work to change to help prevent breast cancer as you age. These are:
- Living a healthy lifestyle.6 This includes no smoking, keeping and maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol. If you focus on your body’s overall health, you can reduce your chance of getting breast cancer. You’ll also feel better as you age if you avoid unhealthy habits.
- Look at your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, what we eat might be potentially linked to breast cancer risk. They found that women who ate diets such as Mediterranean eat foods that are healthy and lowered the chances of breast cancer. Part of the Mediterranean diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oil, all of which help maintain weight and are healthier than traditionally popular American foods.7
Overall, living your life in a way that actively engages your body and keeps you from harmful, toxic substances can help minimize your breast cancer risk. Learn how to keep yourself healthy so you can live a fulfilling, long lasting life.
Family History Can Determine Risk
Another fact about breast cancer is your family history can influence how statistically likely you may develop it.
After all, your parents pass down genes to you that determine your overall genetic makeup. That means there’s a chance you may have inherited a gene that increases the likelihood of breast cancer.
Being related to a direct family member who had breast cancer can increase your risk. This includes having a direct family member (sister, mother, grandmother, aunt) who had cancer before 50, possessing an abnormal breast cancer gene, and having other types of cancers in your family.8
However, it’s important to note that even if you inherited a gene or have breast cancer in your family, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily get it. You can start taking preventative measures such as eating right and educating yourself on ways to help minimize the risk.
The American Cancer Society states that 5-10% of breast cancer cases are due to genetics. This includes the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. These genes usually generate proteins that replicate your DNA correctly, but a mutation can lead to in-balance, which eventually causes cancer.9
Think of your genes as a code that tells your body what to do. When they work properly, they tell your body what exactly needs to be replicated and how. However, as you age, there’s a chance that your genes may replicate incorrectly and start spreading a mutation.
Women with breast cancer who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene oftentimes have a strong family history of cancer.8 This includes breast cancer, ovarian, and other cancers.
However, most people who are diagnosed with breast cancer don’t have a family history of it. Only 10% of diagnosed women have a strong family history of breast cancer.10
This means even if you’re in not in a high risk group, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t or won’t get it.
Continue Your Education
Now that you’ve learned a little about breast cancer and some of the risk factors, we encourage you to take the next step in educating yourself. After all, you never know who you might be able to help by simply being aware about the signs and symptoms.
Learn more about breast cancer and how you can spread awareness by visiting The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Myth: Men do not get breast cancer; it affects women only.” The National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., nationalbreastcancer.org. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths/men-do-not-get-breast-cancer-it-affects-women-only/
- “Breast Cancer in Men.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 11, 2020. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/men/index.htm
- “Mammography Saves Lives.” American College of Radiology, ACR Accreditation. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.acraccreditation.org/mammography-saves-lives
- “Age.” Breastcancer.org, breastcancer.org. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/age
- Cafasso, Jacquelyn. Azu, Michelle, editor. “Everything You Should Know About Breast Cancer in Your 20s and 30s.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. November 13th, 2020. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-20s-30s
- “What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 14th, 2020. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
- “Breast cancer prevention: How to reduce your risk.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, mayoclinic.org. December 1st, 2018. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/breast-cancer-prevention/art-20044676
- Nixton, Christina, and Peggy Cottrell. “Genetics.” Breastcancer.org, breastcancer.org. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/genetics
- “Breast Cancer Risk Factors you cannot change.” The American Cancer Society, cancer.org. September 10th, 2019. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/breast-cancer-risk-factors-you-cannot-change.html
- “Myth: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.” The National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., nationalbreastcancer.org. Accessed October 9th, 2020. Link: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-myths/if-you-have-a-family-history-of-breast-cancer-you-are-likely-to-develop-breast-cancer-too/