One in eight women in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and more than 40,500 women die from breast cancer each year. It’s important to know the signs, symptoms and treatments associated with this disease, because breast cancer has become one of the most common cancers affecting American women today.
Early signs and symptoms of breast cancer
Most people think that a lump in the breast is the only sign of breast cancer. However, there are many other symptoms:
- Change in the skin texture or enlargement of pores on the breast
- Tenderness or thickening near the breast or under the arm
- Dimpling on the breast
- Breast, areola or nipple becomes scaly, red or swollen
If you experience any unusual changes in your breasts, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Early detection is key in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.
What are the most common treatments for breast cancer?
Treatments and care for breast cancer vary depending on the type of breast cancer, its stage and the overall health and personal preferences of the patient.
- Local treatments: These treatments address the tumor without affecting the rest of the body. However, depending on the cancer, you might need other types of treatments as well.
- Systemic treatments: Drugs that can reach cancer cells almost anywhere in the body. These drugs can be given orally or intravenously (directly into the bloodstream).
Before beginning any treatment, it’s important to discuss the benefits and risks of each option with your healthcare team.
Early detection and prevention of breast cancer
As mentioned before, early detection is key when it comes to treating and helping to prevent breast cancer from progressing. Make sure to get annual screenings, including a mammography, since these tests and diagnostic tools can detect cancer before any signs and symptoms appear.
If you are at a higher risk for breast cancer, it’s especially important to schedule your annual screenings and to talk with your healthcare provider about steps you can take to prevent or lower your risk of breast cancer.
University Health System is nationally recognized as a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence and provides comprehensive, compassionate breast care based on individual health needs. For more information about our breast care, call 210-358-7020.