Breast Cancer

Both males and females are prone to getting breast cancer. However, the incidence is more common in women.

What are the chances?

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000 and is about 100 times less common than woman. In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.

Common Symptoms:

  • Classic “lump in breast"
  • Breast or nipple pain
    • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
    • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
  • Lymph Nodes - sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt

Genetic predisposition:

  • BRCA1 (also predisposes to cancer of the ovary and fallopian tube) and BRCA2

Risk Factors:

  • Family history: Having a family history of breast cancer, particularly women with a mother, sister or daughter who has or had breast cancer, may double the risk
  • ​Exogenous estrogens or “estrogen dominance”
  • ​Menstrual and reproductive health
  • ​Ionizing radiation exposure, especially at time of breast development

Lifestyle factors:

  • Obesity: excess fat tissue, especially after menopause may contribute to increases in estrogen levels, and high levels of estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer. Weight gain during adulthood and excess body fat around the waist may also play a role
  • A sedentary lifestyle: Physical inactivity and prolonged sitting
  • Heavy drinking: The use of alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol

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