I would like to take some time to get the word out about breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awarenss Month and one of the biggest fund raising months to help with the search for the cure. While some women are more suscepitble to breast cancer than others it is still possible to get it. Here are some things to be aware of:
- A mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (or a first-degree relative with a mutation)
- Strong family history of breast cancer, such as mother and/or sister diagnosed at age 40 or younger
- Personal history of breast cancer (including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia
- Radiation treatment to the chest area during childhood or young adulthood
- A mutation in the TP53 or PTEN genes (or a first-degree relative with a mutation) (These gene mutations can lead to Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome. People with one of these syndromes or who have a first-degree relative with one of these syndromes have an increased risk of breast cancer.)
If you have a family history of breast cancer then you are more vulnerable to get it as well. It is very important to get a mammogram every year as part of your yearly checkup. It is also very important to let your doctor know of ANYTHING that alarms you or any new lumps that you may find. Nobody can tell you something is wrong better than your own body.
Here are a few things that komen.org suggests to look for and contact your doctor if you find:
See your health care provider if:
- You find a new lump or change that feels different from the rest of your breast.
- You find a new lump or change that feels different from your other breast.
- Feel something that is different from what you felt before.
If you are unsure whether you should have a lump checked, it is best to see your provider. Although a lump may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind that it has been checked.
Liquid leaking from your nipple (nipple discharge) can be troubling, but it is rarely a sign of cancer. Discharge can be your body’s natural reaction when the nipple is squeezed. Signs of a more serious condition, such as breast cancer, include:
- Discharge that occurs without squeezing the nipple
- Discharge that occurs in only one breast
- Discharge that has blood in it or is clear (not milky)
Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or another condition that needs medical treatment. For these reasons, if you have any nipple discharge, see your health care provider.