The exact cause of breast cancer isn’t fully understood and the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age with more than half of the cases diagnosed occurring in women over the age of 65. There are thought to be certain factors which do increase the risk of getting breast cancer and these are listed below:
- If you have suffered from certain types of non benign breast problems in the past.
- If you are taking hormone replacement therapy.If you are taking the contraceptive pill.
- Women who have never had children.
- Women who had children but didn’t breast feed them.Being overweight, particularly if you have been through menopause.
- Drinking a lot of alcohol over many years.
A very small number of people who develop breast cancer are thought to have inherited it through genes, though this is a very small percentage. However should the following relate to you and your family then you might wish to talk it over with your doctor.
- 3 blood relatives from the same side of the family have developed breast cancer.
- 2 close blood relatives from the same side of the family under the age of 60 developed breast cancer.One close relative under the age of 40 developed breast cancer.
- A close relative who has breast cancer on both breasts.
- A male relative who has breast cancer.
Of course just because one of the above applies to you this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will go on to develop breast cancer, but just that the risk level will be slightly higher.
The symptoms of breast cancer
The majority of women who have breast cancer first noticed the disease as a painless lump, lumps which are very painful to touch are usually benign, other signs of breast cancer may also include:
- Change in the shape or size of the breast.
- Dimpling of the skin on the breast.
- A nipple suddenly becoming inverted.
- A rash which affects the nipple.Discharge from the nipple which is usually bloodstained.
- A swelling or lump in the armpit.
If you have noticed any of the above then it is important that you do seek the advice of your doctor especially if you have a painless lump in your breast, breast cancer can be successfully cured and the chances are greater the earlier it is detected.