Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

Certain risk factors for developing invasive breast cancer have been reported by several studies. These include:

  • Age: Breast cancer is more common among older women. Typically, risk increases starting at the age of 50.
  • Age at the start of menstruation: Women who had their period before 12 years old have a slightly higher risk. This may be attributed to earlier exposure of estrogen. Studies say that a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Age at first live birth: Women who have children later in life or those with no children have an increased risk also due to longer exposure to estrogen.
  • Number of first degree relative (mothers, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer.
  • Number of previous biopsies (whether positive or negative).
  • At least one breast biopsy with atypical hyperplasia.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Any unusual changes in the breast may be a sign of breast cancer:

  • Lumps: Not all lumps felt are cancerous. A lump that is painless, hard, immovable, with irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous.  A lump in the underarm area may also be a symptom.
  • Changes in skin texture: Skin retraction, dimpling or consistencies like an “orange peel”, thickening of the skin.
  • Redness, swelling of all or a part of the breast.
  • Nipple changes: Inward turning nipple, nipple discharge other than breast milk.

It is important to consult with a physician when these changes are observed.