Breast examination & breast cancer

Breast self-examination

1. Visual check check both breasts by looking them in the mirror.

2. Breast examination & breast cancer

  • Breast self-examination
  • Symptoms of breast cancer
  • Breast cancer risk factors
  • Breast cancer prognosis
  • Breast cancer awareness month

Symptoms of breast cancer :

  1. breast lump (most frequent symptom - 83%)
  2. nipple abnormalities (7%)
  3. breast pain (6%)
  4. non-breast symptoms (e.g. back pain (1%) and weight loss (0.3%)).

About 1 in 6 women with breast cancer present with a large spectrum of symptoms other than breast lump. Women who present with non-lump breast symptoms tend to delay seeking help.

Breast cancer risk factors

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, accounting for more than 1 in 10 new cancer diagnoses each year.

Breast cancer evolves silently, and most disease is discovered on routine screening.

Identifying factors associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer development is important in general health screening for women.

Risk factors for breast cancer can be divided into 7 broad categories:

  1. AGE: The age-adjusted incidence of breast cancer continues to increase with the advancing age of the female population.
  2. GENDER: Most breast cancers occur in women.
  3. PERSONAL HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER: A history of cancer in one breast increases the likelihood of a second primary cancer in the contralateral breast.
  4. Histologic risk factors: Histologic abnormalities diagnosed by breast biopsy constitute an important category of breast cancer risk factors. These abnormalities include lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) and proliferative changes with atypia.
  5. THE FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER AND GENETIC RISK FACTORS: First-degree relatives of patients with breast cancer have a 2-fold to 3-fold excess risk for developing the disease. Five percent to 10% of all breast cancer cases are due to genetic factors, but they may account for 25% of cases in women younger than 30 years. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the 2 most important genes responsible for increased breast cancer susceptibility. 
  6. REPRODUCTIVE RISK FACTORS: Reproductive milestones that increase a woman’s lifetime estrogen exposure are thought to increase her breast cancer risk. These include:
  • the onset of menarche before 12 years of age,
  • first live childbirth after age 30 years,
  • nulliparity, and
  • menopause after age 55 years.
  1. EXOGENOUS HORMONE USE: Therapeutic or supplemental estrogen and progesterone are taken for various conditions, with the two most common scenarios being contraception in premenopausal women and hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women.


Breast Cancer Prognosis

The prognosis of early breast cancer is quite good.

Stage 0 and stage I both have a 100% 5-year survival rate.

The 5-year survival rate of stage II and stage III breast cancer is about 93% and 72%, respectively.

When the disease spreads systemically, its prognosis worsens dramatically. Only 22% of stage IV breast cancer patients will survive their next 5 years.



Breast cancer awareness month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer.

Read more about the topic

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