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Breast cancer overview and prevention methods

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an international campaign to promote awareness of the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death in North America and strikes victims of all ages. Most cancers derive from a single abnormal cell.

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast divide uncontrollably. Additionally, it can spread to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system. The most common type of breast cancer is invasive ductal carcinoma (approximately 80% of cases). The second most common type is invasive lobular carcinoma (10–15% of cases).

Risk factors

Risk factors for this type of cancer include older age, family history of the disease, and genetic mutations. In addition, previous treatment using radiation, not being physically active, and consuming alcohol increase your likelihood of getting breast cancer.

Common symptoms

Pain in any area of the breast, a new lump in the breast, and irritation of breast skin are common symptoms of breast cancer and should be checked by your doctor.

How to reduce the risk of breast cancer

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that is the best test for doctors to detect early signs of breast cancer. You can reduce your risk by limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day. Also, try to exercise (150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week) and maintain a healthy weight. You are within the normal or healthy weight range if your body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

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This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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