Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer after lung cancer and the second most deadly cancer for women (also after lung cancer). Breast cancer begins in the breast tissue, typically in the milk ducts or the lobules. There are many different types of breast cancer that measure differently in aggressiveness. Although breast cancer predominately occurs in women, about one percent of men suffer from it.
Women from the age of 20 onwards are encouraged to conduct so-called self-examinations at home to feel for any lumps and to observe whether any changes have occurred on or around the breast. When feeling around for lumps it is important to remember that the cancer may not solely becontained to the fat of the breast, and that lumps or bumps may be felt underneath the armpit as well as the collar bone As soon as a lump is located that feels different to the surrounding tissue it is best to consult a physician.
Some of the causes of breast cancer include:
- Sex (just being female means there is a 50 percent higher chance of getting breast cancer)
- Age (The risks of getting breast cancer increase with age, although it is possible to get it at any age)
- Hormonal influences (beginning menstruation at an early age and going through menopause at a later age seem to increase the chances)
- Diet (breast cancer is proven to occur more often in countries where the dietary intake includes a lot of fat).
Some symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- Breast cancer in its early stage is painless and has no symptoms
- Nipple inversion
- Change of color of nipples and skin around nipples and change of texture
- Most lumps in the breast are not cancerous, but should still be examined by a doctor
- Breast discharge
Usual treatment of breast cancer involves medication (chemotherapy), radiation and surgery. A surgery may be conducted to remove only the tumor, or the entire breast (a mastectomy).
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Celebrities who have suffered from breast cancer include:
- Christine Applegate
- Ingrid Bergman
- Betty Ford
- Bette Davis
- Kylie Minogue
- Melissa Etheridge
- Olivia Newton-John
- Cynthia Nixon
- Nancy Reagan