10 Breast Cancer Facts You May Not Know
What is Breast Cancer?
When someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, it means that their cells in their breast tissue change and divide uncontrollably. This results in a lump or mass in the lobules, ducts, or connective tissue of the breast. There are many different types of breast cancer, and the type is dependent on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. The most common types are:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma: This type of cancer is where the cancer cells grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive ductal carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma: This type of cancer is where the cancerous cells spread from the lobules to the nearby breast tissue. Similar to invasive ductal carcinoma, this type of breast cancer can also spread.
Signs of Breast Cancer
While the signs and symptoms of breast cancer vary from person to person, some of the more common warning signs include:
- Swelling, redness, or other visible skin changes in one or both breasts
- Increase in size or change in the shape of one or both breasts
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- General pain
- Lumps or nodes felt on or inside the breast
Signs of more invasive breast cancer may include:
- Irritated or itchy breasts
- Change in breast color
- Changes in touch, including feeling hard, tender, or warm
- Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
- A breast lump or thickening
It’s important to note that you may not experience any symptoms at all, which is why it is crucial to be screened by your gynecologist regularly.
About Breast Cancer Screening
Your gynecologist will use a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. This screening test uses low dose X-rays to look for changes in your breast tissue. A mammogram can detect lumps that are small and cannot be felt in a self-examination. It is recommended that all women over 40 schedule a yearly mammogram, but it’s important that you discuss your options with your gynecologist. He or she will help guide you in knowing what the right choice for your body is.
Breast Cancer Facts You May Not Know
- 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. That equates to about 12% of the female population in the US. About every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed.
- While it is not as common, men can get breast cancer too. About 1 in 1,000 men will be diagnosed.
- Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women.
- There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the US, which is the largest group of all cancer survivors.
- Although many people, unfortunately, pass away from this type of cancer, the death rates for breast cancer have been decreasing since 1989. These decreases may be a result of treatment advances, earlier detection, and increased awareness.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer almost doubles if her mother, sister, or daughter has been diagnosed.
- 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to a gene mutation that is inherited from your mom or dad. Women with the BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% risk of developing breast cancer, while women with the BRCA2 mutation have up to a 69% risk. Breast cancer that is positive for these mutations tends to develop more often in younger women.
- The most significant risk factors are gender (being a woman) and age (the older you are, the higher your chance).
- 62% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 85%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate dips to 27%. Early detection is the best prevention!
- Causes of breast cancer can be genetic (age, race, family history) or caused by environmental factors (alcohol consumption, weight).
Breast Health Services in Livingston, New Jersey
No matter if you’re over 40 or not, if you are concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Quartell and his staff. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about breast cancer or any other gynecological condition you are worried about. For more information about our Livingston, New Jersey office, please contact us today.