beating breast cancer
Breast Cancer survivors

 

What Signs Should I Look For?

 

After noticing the first signs of an abnormality, it should be properly investigated. Performing monthly self-exams will allow you to look for breast lumps and better identify changes in your breast. A change in how the breast and nipples feel such as tenderness or thickening are signs to look out for. Changes in skin texture or enlargement of the pores in the skin of the breast is a sign to be aware of. Pay attention to pain and lumps in the breast. Not all lumps are cancerous and should be further investigated by your doctor. Also keep your eye open for these breast cancer signs:

 

  • Dimpling on the breast
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Shrinkage of the breast
  • Recently one breast is larger than the other
  • Inward or inverted nipples
  • Clear, bloody, or milky discharge from nipple when not breastfeeding

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Deal With The Diagnosis?

 

Upon hearing the cancer prognosis you will undoubtedly be thrust into a roller coaster of emotions. Start with the hard stuff first and be willing to share your feelings with family and loved ones. Talk about your emotions with the people who care about you and be open enough to give them a chance to support you. If you need help from others, be specific with what you need them to do because they may not know how to effectively help you. If you need rides to appointments or to have groceries picked up, just say it to cut down on stress and frustrations.

 

Even though you may feel down and out, still make efforts to look your best and carry an ongoing positive attitude. Continue to love you while also letting yourself be loved. Talk with other breast cancer survivors on-line or in person to gain helpful insight and encouragement. It may seem difficult or even awkward, but you should maintain intimacy with your partner. Talk to them about struggles with your self-image, insecurities, and other bottled up feelings you may have.

 

 

 

Is The Cancer In My Genes?

 

There unfortunately are some breast cancer risk factors you cannot change. Being a woman alone makes you 100 times more likely to get the disease than your male counterparts. Age plays a role as 1 in 8 breast cancers are in women under 45 while 2 out of 3 are in women over 55 years of age. Five to ten percent of breast cancer cases are considered hereditary and passed down from a parent. Being proactive about genetic screening for certain inherited characteristics can help determine risks. Gene mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most common hereditary inherited mutations. Normal BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes help prevent cancer by making proteins to keep the cells from growing abnormally. A mutated copy of the gene gives you a higher risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime. Some other breast cancer risk factors include:

 

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of breast cancer (cancer in one breast is likely to lead to cancer in the other breast or return to the same breast)
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Benign breast conditions
  • Dense, fatty, fibrous, and glandular breast tissue

 

 

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