6 Things You Need to Know About Breast Cancer

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Breast cancer affects men and women

Although most commonly diagnosed in women, breast cancer can also develop in men. In the UK, 350 men are diagnosed with and 80 men die from breast cancer every year. This number pales in comparison to the 55,000 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. However, each statistic represents a life, a loved one. While research is making strides in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, for both men and women, the most important thing to know is that the earlier breast cancer is found, the better chance of successful treatment. This leads onto the next thing you need to know.


Signs of breast cancer

There are various ways that breast cancer can present. if you notice any of these symptoms, pay a visit to your doctor as they could be signs of breast cancer:

• Lumps in your breasts or armpits• Change to the size or shape of your breast• Change in the appearance of your nipples or unusual discharge from your nipples• Change to skin texture, colour or dimpling 


Breast cancer does not typically present with common signs of cancer

Many people know that cancer often comes with symptoms such as weight loss and loss of energy. However typical signs of breast cancer may not include these noticeable problems. This means that if you notice any changes to your breasts or nipples and you feel well otherwise, you should still get checked out by your doctor.


Risk factors of developing breast cancer

There are several factors that are known to increase your risk of developing breast cancer. These include your age and a family history of the condition, which you cannot do much about. However, drinking alcohol to excess and being overweight are risk factors that you can change. 


Staging of breast cancer affects survival rates 

According to Cancer Research UK, the overall chances of surviving breast cancer are good.  Many factors impact on survival rates, but the most important is the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. Staging relies less on the signs of breast cancer and more on the results of medical testing. For example, samples of tissue are taken, examined under the microscope and allocated a grade which indicates how abnormal the cells are. Another factor which affects survival is genetics, which determine whether the cancer cells are susceptible to cancer drugs.


Immunotherapy could be the next new treatment for breast cancer

Immunotherapy exploits the body’s own defence system to destroy cancer cells and is currently in development for the treatment of breast cancer. Ultimately it may be used as a first line treatment for some cancers, or for those whom surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy have not helped. Every year that goes by brings us a step closer to a cure.


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