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Build Awareness. Honor the Survivors. Support the Fighters.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. The statistics you’ll find throughout this article are hard to ignore, starting with these:

  • About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • 1 in 39 women (3 percent) will die from breast cancer
  • In 2020, it’s estimated that about 30 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women between ages 55 and 64.
  • About 10 percent of breast cancers occur in women younger than 45.

Breasts are made up of a variety of different tissues, including ducts, lobes, and glands that produce milk and carry it to the nipple. Breasts also contain lymph nodes and fatty tissue. Cancer develops when the cells in the breast mutate and grow out of control. These cells create a tumor.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

The most recognized physical sign of breast cancer is a lump in the breast tissue. While this discovery will send (and should) many women to the doctor for further examination, there are other signs and symptoms of breast cancer you should know.

  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • An increase in size or change in the shape of the breast(s)
  • Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • General pain in/on any part of the breast
  • Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Breast cancer is typically detected either during screening, before symptoms have developed, or after a woman notices a lump. Masses can be detected on a mammogram. Women who are diagnosed with dense breast tissue may be required to get an ultrasound screening in addition to the mammogram.  Most breast lumps turn out to be benign.

However, when cancer is suspected, a physician will order a needle biopsy or a surgical biopsy to obtain a tissue sample. The selection of the type of biopsy is based on multiple factors, including the size and location of the mass, as well as patient factors and preferences and resources.

Take Control

One of the easiest things a woman can do to try and reduce her risk of breast cancer is to take charge of certain aspects of her health she can control, such as diet, exercise, and weight management. However, before making any drastic changes to lifestyle, women should get a screening that can identify the overall condition of their health.

The comprehensive female panel at Any Lab Test Now is designed for women at all stages of their life to help them make informed decisions about their healthcare goals. It includes blood counts, a metabolic panel which includes kidney and liver functions, female hormones, thyroid, heart health, and nutritional status. You don’t need to get a doctor’s order to get this or any lab test at Any Lab Test Now. You can learn more about the comprehensive female panel here.