10 Important Things to Know About Breast Cancer

Ask any woman what disease she fears the most, and chances are she’ll say breast cancer. Almost all of us know someone who did everything to avoid developing breast cancer, and still got the disease – and that’s just what makes women feel like they completely have no control over the disease. While we can’t control our genes, there are still powerful steps that we can take to protect ourselves from breast cancer. For starters, here are 10 important things that health experts wants us to know about this disease.

ABOUT LIFESAVING SCREENINGS

1. Getting clinical breast examinations are as important as getting mammograms.
Mammogram tests starting at age 40 are crucial, but they’re not an ideal screening tool especially for women with denser breasts. This is the very reason why getting an annual clinical breast exam is a must. Clinical breast exams are essential for detecting inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive and rare type of cancer that makes the breast swollen and red, since it usually doesn’t show up on mammogram tests. On the other hand, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the earliest form of breast cancer is most often detected by mammograms, making undergoing both screening tests as equally important.

2. Avoid panicking if you have calcifications or got called for a mammogram redo.

Most women who are over 40 years old have calcium deposits in their breasts, and most of these calcifications are benign. These deposits when you check for breast cancer in Singapore show up as white spots on a mammogram test. They are usually harmless if they’re large solitary spots, but are suspicious if they’re in a form of tiny flecks clustering together in a linear pattern. Most Singapore radiologists are able to distinguish between the two, and only the latter warrants a biopsy. Although the waiting period between the initial and follow-up mammogram tests tend to be anxiety-filled, most of these call-backs just turns out to be nothing.

ABOUT DIET AND EXERCISE

3. Make sure that you consume a good amount of folate.

While health experts say that having an overall healthy diet helps in preventing breast cancer Singapore, another research suggests that consuming enough B vitamin folate might mitigate the increased breast cancer risk linked with drinking alcohol. Go easy on your alcohol consumption, but if you can’t help but have one drink daily, ensure that you also get plenty of folate from your diet or multivitamins.

4. Steer clear from taking any soy supplement.

Soy contains isoflavones, which acts like an oestrogen in your body and stimulates the growth of certain types of breast cancer. Soy supplements usually contain concentrated doses of isoflavones, which is why experts recommend avoiding taking them. However, consuming soy foods like tofu, edamame, and soy milk are fine.

ABOUT YOUR BREAST HEALTH

5. Lumpy breasts isn’t always associated with a higher breast cancer risk.

Feeling any kind of bump or lump in your breasts can be scary, but these lumps doesn’t always lead to cancer. Most women develop cysts in their breast that usually comes and goes throughout their menstrual cycle. Still, it’s crucial for women with fibrocystic breasts to perform breast self-exams regularly to check if there are any out of the ordinary lumps.

6. Experiencing pain isn’t always a sign of breast cancer.

If you feel any pain in one or both your breasts, it’s probably due to a ligament strain, a benign cyst or some hormonal changes. More common warning signs of breast cancer include changes in breast size or shape, appearance of a palpable lump, puckering of breast skin, nipple changes, and increased warmth in the breast area. Should these signs show up, immediately bring it to your doctor’s attention.

ABOUT BREAST CANCER RISKS

7. A family history of breast cancer doesn’t always mean you’ll get the disease.

Only about 20 to 30 percent of people who develop breast cancer have a family history of the disease, and even smaller number – about five to 10 percent – carry the BRCA1 or 2 mutation in their genes. So rest assured: genetics isn’t destiny.

8. Several factors affects your risk of developing breast cancer.

When it comes to developing breast cancer Singapore, family history isn’t the only thing that matters. Other factors also come into play like the age you first got your period, have children, as well as how active your lifestyle is. Discuss your medical history and lifestyle details with your doctor so she can ensure that you get the right screenings at the right time and age.

ABOUT BREAST CANCER TREATMENTS

9. Breast cancer isn’t just a single disease.

What helped Singapore scientists and doctors in developing more effective treatments for breast cancer is when they realized that there are various types of breast cancer each with different causes. Among the primary types are HER-2-positive breast cancers, which contains HER-2/neu; oestrogen-receptor-positive cancers, whose growth is fuelled by the hormone oestrogen; and triple-negative breast cancer, which doesn’t have receptors for oestrogen, HER-2, and progesterone.
10. Chemotherapy isn’t always the appropriate treatment.

These days, specialists are already performing genetic profiling on breast cancer tumours using tests like MammaPrint or Oncotype DX to gauge a woman’s risk of breast cancer recurrence. If your chances are low, then your doctor may not advise you to undergo a chemotherapy treatment. Oncologists are now being more selective on using chemotherapy to help the patients avoid any unnecessary toxicity and going through all the unnecessary suffering.

Apart from living a healthy lifestyle, learning about breast cancer is also a good way to protect yourself from the disease. So keep these things in mind, and you’ll hopefully be able to keep yourself from developing the said disease.

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