Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the world. It occurs in both men and women, although women are about 100 times more likely to develop it than men. While this form of cancer is second in frequency only to lung cancer, it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in women around the world.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a small lump of abnormal tissue that can be detected in the breast by performing a self-exam. Doctors can also use mammograms to search the breast for abnormal tissues that may signal the presence of cancer.
Women and men with breast cancer may also notice pain or changes in the breast’s appearance. While these are not reliable symptoms of breast cancer because they are present in a variety of breast disease, those who experience them should most certainly see their doctors to have a full diagnosis.
There are several genetic and environmental factors that can influence breast cancer development. Those who have a family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease themselves.
This does not mean that men and women have to rely on their genetic luck to avoid cancer. Other factors are easily controlled. For instance, tobacco and frequent alcohol use have been linked to higher instances of breast cancer in women. Weight gain can also put a woman at higher risk, especially if it occurs after menopause.
Breast cancer is most easily treated when it is detected early. This makes self-examinations an important part of a person’s regular health routine. Women should perform examinations monthly. It is best to choose a day several days after menstruation to get the most accurate results. Menopausal women should perform the self-test on the same day each month.