Lifestyle changes, a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, exercise, and weight reduction can help reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. It's important to be aware of how risk factors such as family history, lifestyle factors, breast conditions, radiation therapy, and hormonal factors may influence your chances of developing breast cancer. Mammography and breast self-examinations are crucial steps in breast cancer prevention. Read more: Breast Cancer Prevention Article
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Health Screening Tests Every Woman Needs
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Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
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Cancer-Fighting Foods in Pictures: Resveratrol, Green Tea, and More
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Breast Cancer Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
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Related Disease Conditions
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Birth Control Options (Types and Side Effects)
Birth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed prior to using any birth control method.
Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
Breast Lumps (in Women)
Breast lumps in women can have a variety of causes such as breast inflammation, infection, injuries, cancer, and non-cancerous growths. Breast lumps in women are diagnosed with physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy. Treatment of breast lumps in women depend on the cause.
Fibrocystic Breast Condition (Changes)
Fibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually pain, tenderness, and discomfort in one or both breasts. The condition is very common and benign (not malignant). Fibrocystic breast condition is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" in women. A common symptom of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort. Some women with fibrocystic breasts have mile breast tenderness or pain. Other women with the condition may have very painful and tender breasts with lumpy areas that can be felt. Fibrocystic breast condition is most common in women after age 30, which continues through perimenopause and menopause. Women with the condition often have fewer problems after menopause (postmenopause).Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with fibrocystic without fibrocystic changes. Natural and home remedies to help relieve breast pain include NSAIDs like aspiring, Aleve, and Advil. Prescription medication also may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.
Nature vs. Nurture Theory (Genes vs. Environment)
In the nature vs. nurture debate, "nature" represents our genetic makeup. These are the genes you have inherited from your biological family, and that may affect your physical and mental health, for example, intelligence, disease, and psychological health. While "nurture" represents how our environment affects our intelligence, traits, personality, and mental and physical health. Studies have shown that a person's environment can alter his or her genes, and lower their risk of developing certain inherited diseases, conditions, and mental illnesses that run in his or her family. Researchers and doctors have found that particular physical traits like eye and skin color, and diseases like Huntington's chorea are the result of genetic inheritance (inherited from a family member). However, patterns of thinking and behavior can be attributed to both nature and nurture (your genes and your environment). Moreover, researchers who study the brain have found overwhelming evidence that a person's genetic factors and his or her experiences guide and support brain development. The human brain produces new nerve cells (neurons) into adulthood, and these nerve cells can change the strength of their connections throughout life, which can affect intelligence and other factors.
Symptoms of 12 Serious Diseases and Health Problems
Learn how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of serious diseases and health problems, for example, chronic cough, headache, chest pain, nausea, stool color or consistency changes, heartburn, skin moles, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, lightheadedness, night sweats, eye problems, confusion, depression, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and nipple changes. The symptoms and signs of serious health problems can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, postpartum depression, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
The breast, or mammary gland is made up of lobules, milk producing glands, and a system of ducts to transport milk. Both males and females have breasts. Abnormal enlargement of breasts in men is referred to as gynecomastia. In women, during pregnancy the breasts grow larger and produce milk. Common medical conditions that affect the breasts include breast cancer, breast lumps, fibrocystic changes and cysts, mastitis, and benign tumors (fibroadenomas).
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Cancer Risk Factors
Though it's difficult to say why some people develop cancer while others don't, research shows that certain risk factors increase a person's odds of developing cancer. These risk factors include growing older, family history of cancer, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemicals, and some viruses and bacteria.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
Women's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and diseases that may occur. Educating yourself so that the transitions into different phases of life is key to a healthy, happy, and productive life.
Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer is more common in Hispanic and African-American women. Signs and symptoms include a lump in the armpit or breast, nipple discharge and inversion, and changes in the breast's skin. Treatment may incorporate surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Breast Cancer Facts
Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer of American women, but it can also occur in men. Every year in the U.S., there are over 266,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer. A woman has a risk of one in eight for developing breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.
Breast Cancer Recurrence
Breast cancer most often recurs within the first three to five years after the initial treatment. Changes in the look, feel, or appearance of the breast may indicate breast cancer recurrence. Factors related to recurrence include tumor size, tumor grade, hormone receptor status, lymph node involvement, and oncogene expression. Treatment for recurrent breast cancer depends on the initial treatment.
Paget Disease of the Breast (Paget's Disease of the Nipple)
Paget's disease is a rare form of cancer that forms in or around the nipple and frequently coexists with breast cancer. The exact cause of Paget's disease is unknown. Symptoms and signs include redness, scaling, and flaking of the nipple skin. A biopsy and imaging studies are needed to diagnose the disease. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, and adjuvant therapy.
Breast Cancer in Young Women
About 5% of cases of breast cancer occur in women under the age of 40 years old. Some risk factors for breast cancer in young women include a personal history of breast cancer or breast disease, family history of breast cancer, prior radiation therapy, and the presence of BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations. Breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and screening mammograms may help detect breast cancer. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy.
Disease Prevention in Women
Disease prevention in women includes screening tests that are a basic part of prevention medicine. All screening tests are commonly available through your general doctor. Some specialized tests may be available elsewhere.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
Breast cancer clinical trials are research programs designed to evaluate new medical treatments, drugs, or devices for the treatment of breast cancer. Clinical trials are designed to test the safety and efficacy of new treatments as well as assess potential side effects. Clinical trials also compare new treatment to existing treatments to determine if it's any better. There are many important questions to ask your doctor before taking part in a breast cancer clinical trial.
Can Fibroadenomas Turn Into Breast Cancer?
A fibroadenoma is the most common type of benign, non-cancerous lump of the breast. Although it is rare, complex fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors have a chance to develop into malignant breast cancer.
Genetic Testing: Families With Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can be a killer and the decision to get tested to see if a patient is prone to the disease should be discussed with a doctor -- particularly if the woman has a history of breast cancer in her family. Genetic testing can only tell so much about breast cancer risk, however.
Breast Cancer Questions to Ask the Doctor
A diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, so it's important to write down all your questions before meeting with your doctor.
Estimating Breast Cancer Risk: Questions and Answers
As breast cancer is the most diagnosed non-skin cancer in American women, it is important to know your breast cancer risk. Risk factors include age, age at menarche, age at first live birth, history of breast abnormalities, breast biopsies, race, and history or breast cancer among first-degree relatives.
Breast Cancer During Pregnancy
Breast cancer occurs in about 1 in every 1,000 pregnant women. Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy involves surgery, but it is very difficult to protect the baby from the dangerous effects of radiation and chemotherapy. It can be an agonizing to decide whether or not to undergo breast cancer treatment while one is pregnant.
Breast Cancer and Coping With Stress
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is stressful. Learning relaxation techniques, exercising, eating well, getting adequate sleep, receiving psychotherapy, and maintaining a positive attitude can help you cope. Creating documents, such as an advance directive, living will, and durable power of attorney will outline your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions regarding your care.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- Breast Cancer Husband
- Breast Cancer Treatment Update
- Breast Cancer: A Feisty Women's Discussion
- Breast Cancer, Taking Control: Self-Advocacy 101
- Breast Cancer: The Male View on Survival and Support
- Breast Cancer: Mother-daughter relationships
- Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer: Early Diagnosis and Prevention
- Breast Cancer Treatments. Oct. 29, 2002.
- Breast Cancer: Early Stage Treatments
- Breast Cancer: Clinical Trials - Today's Cutting Edge
- Breast Cancer, Metastatic: Treatment Goals and Therapy Options -- Harold J. Burstein, MD
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Obamacare Helps Poorer Americans Spot Cancer Earlier: Study
- Breast Cancer Caught Earlier in U.S. States With Expanded Medicaid: Study
- Latest in Cancer Prevention: Move More, Ditch Beer and Bacon
- High-Fiber Diets May Lower Odds for Breast Cancer
- Female Firefighters Face Higher Exposure to Carcinogens
- Breast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping Women
- Regular Exercise Cuts Odds for 7 Major Cancers
- Health Tip: Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
- Shedding Pounds May Shrink Breast Cancer Risk
- Breast Cancer Drug Shows Long-Lasting Prevention Power
- Study Links Hair Straighteners, Dyes to Breast Cancer
- Health Tip: Benign Breast Lumps
- Another Weight-Loss Surgery Benefit: Lower Breast Cancer Risk
- Most Americans Fear Cancer, but Feel Powerless to Prevent It: Survey
- Don't Delay Surgery for Very Early-Stage Breast Cancer, Study Suggests
- Despite Rise in New Cases, Breast Cancer Deaths Continue to Fall
- Onions and Garlic May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
- Can Older Women Stop Getting Mammograms?
- AHA News: Scientists Find Biological Link Between High Blood Pressure and Breast Cancer
- Can Breast Cancer Be a Risk Factor for Opioid Use Among Older Patients?
- U.S. Task Force Updates Breast Cancer Gene Testing Recommendations
- Red Meat May Raise Breast Cancer Risk
- Could 3-D Mammograms Soon Be the Standard for Breast Cancer Screening?
- Making Sense of Mammography Guidelines
- Low-Fat Diet Could Be a Weapon Against Breast Cancer
- Breast Surgeons' Group Issues New Mammogram Guidelines
- FDA Says Breast Density Must Be Reported to Women During Mammograms
- Scientists Spot Clues to Predicting Breast Cancer's Return
- Lifestyle Changes Can Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk
- Don't Be Fooled: Thermography No Substitute for Mammograms, FDA Says
- Should You Get Tested for the 'Breast Cancer Genes'?
- Breast Cancer and DDT: Timing of Exposure May Matter
- Mammograms Helped Save Up to 600,000 U.S. Lives Since 1989: Study
- Make Cancer Prevention a Priority in 2019
- U.S. Cancer Deaths Continue to Decline
- Excess Body Fat May Increase Older Women's Breast Cancer Risk: Study
- Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Odds of Breast Cancer's Return
- For Some Women, Mammograms May Need to Begin at 30: Study
- Doctors Aren't Promoting Breastfeeding's Cancer-Protection Benefit
- Mammograms Do Save Lives: Study
- Early Birds May Have Lower Breast Cancer Risk
- Why Cancer Risk Is Higher in Taller Folk
- Love Organic Foods? Your Odds for Some Cancers May Fall
- Lose Excess Pounds, Lower Breast Cancer Risk?
- Could Diet Affect Breast Cancer Risk?
- Eating Processed Meats Increases Risk of Breast Cancer: Study
- Breast Cancer Treatment Adherence Rates Vary by Race
- Technique May Take Guesswork Out of Gene Tests, Scientists Say
- 3-Pronged Approach to Cancer Prevention
- Too Few Americans Getting Screened for Cancer: CDC
- Could an Early Supper Lower Breast, Prostate Cancer Risk?
- Surgeons Make the Call on Gene Tests for Breast Cancer Patients
- Could More Vitamin D Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
- More Body Fat Might Lower Odds of Breast Cancer in Younger Women
- Gene Test May Allow Many With Early Breast Cancer to Avoid Chemo
- Breast Cancer Prognosis May Be Worse If Diagnosis Follows 'Negative' Mammogram
- Earlier Mammograms May Mean Less Need for Aggressive Treatments
- Device Might Detect Breast Cancer-Linked Swelling Sooner
- Breast Symptoms at Mammogram May Raise Future Cancer Risk
- Genetic Testing Underused in Breast Cancer Patients: Study
- Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines May Miss Minorities
- FDA Approves First Home Test for Breast Cancer Genes
- Friends' Experiences Sway Women's Choices on Breast Cancer Care
- Obamacare Led to Rise in Breast Cancer Screening
- Breast Cancer Screenings Still Best for Early Detection
- Nerlynx Approved to Help Prevent Breast Cancer's Return
- Low-Dose Aspirin May Lower Risk for Common Breast Cancer by 20 Percent
- Breast Cancer 'Immunotherapy' Helps Some With Tough-to-Treat Disease
- Taking Breast Cancer Prevention Drug Beyond 5 Years May Not Raise Survival
- 3 Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent Breast Cancer
- Insurance, Distance Often Prevent Breast Reconstruction After Cancer
- Cancer Surgeons Advise Against Removal of Healthy Breast
- Wide Variation Seen in 'Dense' Breast Diagnoses
- U.S. Black Women Get Less Care to Prevent Breast Cancer Return
- Two Drugs Equal in Preventing Early Breast Cancer's Return: Study
- Early Detection Still Key to Breast Cancer Survival: Study
- Mediterranean Diet With Olive Oil Might Cut Breast Cancer Risk: Study
- Common Breast Biopsy Finding May Be More Dangerous Than Thought
- Random Mutations Responsible for About Two-Thirds of Cancer Risk: Study
- Preliminary Studies Target Advanced Breast Cancers
- Guidelines Aim to Reduce 2nd Surgeries After Breast Cancer Lumpectomy
- Many U.S. Doctors Wary of Genetic Testing: Survey
- Herceptin Boosts Survival for Breast Cancer, Study Reports
- Gene May Help Shield Hispanic Women From Breast Cancer, Study Says
- Cholesterol Levels May Be Linked to Breast Cancer Risk
- Could a Blood Test Predict Breast Cancer's Return?
- Obesity May Raise Breast Cancer Death Risk for Some Women
- Whole-Genome Scans Not Quite Ready for Widespread Use: Study
- Only High-Risk Women Need Breast Cancer Gene Test: Experts
- Health Tip: Performing a Breast Self-Exam
- Most Breast Cancer Deaths Occur in Younger, Unscreened Women: Study
- Women at High Breast Cancer Risk Should Consider Preventive Drugs: Experts
- Which Women Might Benefit From Drugs to Prevent Breast Cancer?
- High-Fat Dairy Foods Linked to Worse Survival After Breast Cancer
- Breast-Feeding Might Cut Risk for Tough-to-Treat Breast Cancer: Study
- Mammograms Have 'Limited or No Effect' on Breast Cancer Deaths: Study
- Fewer Women in 40s Getting Mammograms
- Diabetes Drug Metformin May Cut Breast Cancer Risk in Older Women
- Estrogen After Hysterectomy Lowers Cancer Risk?
- Multivitamins May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
- Green Tea Doesn't Prevent Breast Cancer, Study Finds
- Why Some Breast Cancer Patients Forgo Implants
- Multivitamins May Cut Breast Cancer Risk
- Anticancer Effects of Aspirin: FAQ
- Hormone May Prevent Aggressive Breast Cancer
- Calcium, Vitamin D Won't Prevent Breast Cancer
- Evista for Breast Cancer Prevention?