Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer for women in the United States, second only to skin cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some time during their lives. (1)
Check out these seven facts you may not know about breast cancer:
1) Breast cancer is not just a woman's disease.
Breast cancer is rare in men, but it is possible for a man to get it. In a given year, approximately 2,300 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men, while about 230,000 new cases are diagnosed in women. (1, 5)
2) Breast cancer may not start with a lump in your breast.
The most common types of breast cancer develop as a tumor or collection of cancer cells that will create a lump in your breast. But some less common types of breast cancer do not form a lump or tumor.
According to the American Cancer Society, these symptoms may also mean you could have breast cancer:
Swelling – A swollen breast, or swelling or lumps in your armpits or around your collar bone, could be a sign of breast cancer.
Thickened or red skin – Skin changes could be caused by an infection, or may indicate breast cancer.
Hot or itchy – If your breast feels unnaturally warm or itchy, talk to your doctor to rule out the possibility of breast cancer.
Nipple changes – If your nipple turns inward or if the skin around the nipple looks red, scaly or thick, it could mean breast cancer. Tell your doctor if you have discharge from the nipple other than milk, especially if the discharge is bloody.
Pain – Most types of breast cancer do not cause pain in the breast but some types can be very painful.
If you see or feel any of these changes in your breast, talk to your doctor right away, even if you don’t find a lump.
3) Breast awareness can help you recognize breast cancer.
Doctors used to recommend that all women do monthly breast self-exams to check for lumps. Now, doctors recommend breast awareness as a better tool for self-assessment.