4: Causes – Why Me?
When life-threatening diseases strike, we often ask “Why me?” The causes of breast cancer are still being investigated but there are some connections that can be drawn. They include:
Gender: More women get it
Age: Generally above 55
Genetics: Close relative who has/had condition
Lifestyle: Smoking, high alcohol-intake
Certain types of birth-control medication, exposure to some chemicals etc are some of the risk factors. Diabetes, hormonal and other types of changes in the breast like fibrocystic changes can trigger breast cancer.
5: Factors Within Your Control
There is a strong genetic component in breast cancer, and mutations in genes labeled BRCA1 and BRCA2 are thought to increase risk by 80%. Though many of the risks are beyond our control, there are certain life-style changes that can reduce the risk.
• Reducing weight
• Restricting alcohol and smoking
• Consumption of soy-based foods
Regular exercise also helps lower recurrence in cancer survivors.
What life-style changes have you made to reduce or control your risk of breast cancer?
6: Signs and Symptoms
Signs are what doctors can observe, while symptoms are what patients feel and can report. Breast cancer signs and symptoms may be indicative of other conditions too.
Common symptoms include:
• Lumps that feel different from surrounding tissue (they may also occur in the armpits)
• Noticeable breast changes in size, feel, shape, texture
• Breast appearing larger/lower than other
• Nipple changes including discharge
• Redness/discoloration of breast
• Unexplained weight-loss
• Nausea, headache, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, double-vision, fluid build-up in lungs etc are late-stage symptoms.