Demystifying Breast Cancer: Identifying Symptoms, Risk Factors, Screening and Prevention

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells form in the cells of the breasts. It is typically thought of as a condition that happens in women but it can also affect men as they have some breast tissue. Male breast cancer is rare. It happens most often in older men, though it can occur at any age.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer 

  • A breast lump or thickening that is a hard mass, painless, immobile and grows over time
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast, like the skin of an orange

Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:

  • Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
  • A personal history of breast conditions. If you've had a breast biopsy that found lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia of the breast, you have an increased risk of breast cancer..
  • A family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. 
  • Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
  • Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Beginning menopause at an older age. If you begin menopause when you are above 55 years, you're more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Having never been pregnant. Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. 
  • Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.Women who had 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day had a 20% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t drink alcohol
  • Physical Inactivity.Women who get regular exercise (physical activity) have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who don’t exercise

Ways to reduce your Breast Cancer Risk

  • Limit or avoid smoking completely
  • Control your weight and maintain a normal BMI of 18.5-24.9.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Mothers are advised to breastfeed
  • Be physically active
  • Avoid exposure to radiations

To learn more about how we can support Antara members with Breast Cancer Screening, call us for free on ‭0800 721 106‬, or schedule an appointment on the Antara App today: