October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the number two killer among women in the U.S. after skin cancer. In 2010, 206,966 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,996 women died from the disease. www.cdc.gov It is, therefore, important to know to the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. A lot of women report not knowing or are unaware of signs and symptoms of breast cancer. This is where regular annual screenings come in. Though a woman may display no symptoms, or may not be high risk, it is still vitally important to get screened each year. Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer may be:
- Nipple tenderness or a lump. This could be in or near the breast or under the arm.
- A lump and all abnormalities in or around the breast need to be investigated.
- Swelling of either breast
- Anything that may look different on the breast perhaps one breast is larger or sagging compared to the other.
- Discharge from the nipple
- Any scaling, redness, or swelling of the breast
Treatment for breast cancer generally entails surgery once a lump is found along with chemotherapy, radiation and other treatment options. It is also becoming common for women at high risk for breast cancer to have their breasts removed; this would be up to each individual woman and their healthcare professional to go this route. Cleveland Clinic's Breast Center offers a full array of collaborative services, from initial screenings and diagnosis to innovative treatment and supportive counseling. www.my.clevelandclinic.org
Marcia Wallace, 70, actress who recently starred in the Simpsons and the Bob Newhart Show has succumbed to breast cancer after years of survival. The average survival rate for a breast cancer patient is five years and longer. Due to recent discoveries, the average may increase. As with any disease, early detection is key. Get screened annually, get educated, be aware of your body, eat healthy and enjoy life.