Breast cancer: symptoms, causes, and treatment options

Cancer is a frightening disease that can affect anyone. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, and it can be treated if caught early. There are many different symptoms and causes of breast cancer and various treatment options. Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is essential so you can get treatment if necessary. Treatment for breast cancer varies depending on the stage of the disease but typically includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy. There are also many support groups available for those affected by breast cancer.

Many may wonder what causes breast cancer, and if someone in your family has had breast cancer, will you get it too? There has not been a pinpoint of what causes breast cancer, only certain risk factors that can lead to a diagnosis like lifestyle, eating habits, hormones, exercise level, and more. What is known is that normal breast cells can become cancerous due to changes in mutation genes. Only 1 in 10 breast cancers are linked to inherited genes from a parent, so if breast cancer is known to run in your family, there’s a possibility of an inherited gene. Advanced testing can be done to see which genes you may carry if this is something you worry about.

Some symptoms that can occur with breast cancer are finding a lump in the breast or near the underarm, pain in any area of the breast, any change in the size or shape of the breast, redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast or thickening or swelling of part of the breast. If you are faced with cancer, some standard treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and radiation therapy. The best treatment option will depend on your breast cancer type and how advanced it may be. It’s often that treatment options are combined. Your team of doctors will work closely with you to determine the best care route for you and your cancer.

So what to do if you just found out that you have breast cancer? First, take time for yourself to understand your feelings and know they are valid. Next, schedule your appointment with your care team to discuss your treatment options. Before your visit, try to write down any questions you may have so you can ask them during your appointment. A support system will be needed, so make sure to rally the people you know you can count on. Once you have confirmed your treatment plan, met your doctors, and rallied your support system, the last thing to do is to take it one day at a time. Remember some days will be better than others, but every day is another chance to beat this disease.