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Be Aware of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors in women, accounting for 7-10% of all kinds of malignant tumors in the body, and the incidence is about 23/100,000.  Breast cancer occurs most often in women between the ages of 40 and 60especially in those menopause and postmenopausal women, it is seldom happened in men.  

What does breast cancer looks like in clinical?

There is usually no obvious symptoms and signsin early stage of breast cancer, which is mostly found in physical examination or breast cancer screening. The following are typical signs of breast cancer:  

1. Breast mass. It is usually the first symptom in 80% of breast cancer patients.  

2. Nipple discharge. 

3. Skin changes. Skin changes caused by breast cancer can appear a variety of signs, the most common are "dimple sign", "orange peel change", "skin satellite nodules".  

4. Abnormal nipple and areola, manifested as nipple skin itching, erosion, ulceration, scab, desquamation, with burning pain, so that nipple retraction.  

5. Axillary lymph node swelling. More than 1/3of breast cancer patients have axillary lymph node metastasis.Hard, scattered, moveable and enlarged lymph nodes can appear in ipsilateral axilla of the early stage of breast cancer. As the disease progresses, lymph nodes may fuse , adherent , fixed to the skin and surrounding tissues.  Metastatic lymph nodes can be palpated in the supraclavicular and contralateral axilla.  

What are the high risk factors of breast cancer?

1. Early menarche (menstruation at the age of 12) and late menopause (menopause after 55);  

2. None pregnancy ,none delivery, or the first birth age is more than 35 years old; 

3. Delivery but without breastfeeding or breastfeeding for a short time;  

4. History of breast or ovarian cancer in the mother's family;  

5. Estrogen replacement therapy after menopause;  

6.Excessive obesity, especially with obvious weight gain after menopause;  

7. Atypical hyperplasia of breast lobules or ducts;  

8. Mental depression, introversionor under huge pressure ;  

9. Frequent intake of foodwith rich fat, heavy drinking and smoking;  

10. Radiation therapy as a child.  

How to screen breast cancer?  

1. Breast self-examination is the most effective and simplest method for early detection of breast cancer.  

2. Imagining examination: including ultrasound, mammography, MRI.  For low risk population, annual mammography recommended forthe ages of 40-45, every 1-2 yearsof mammography for the ages of 45-69, every 2 years of mammography for the ages above 70.  Ultrasound is recommended for women with dense mammary gland.  For high risk people ,the mammography should be carry on before 40years old.  

How do we carry on the breast self-examination? 

Breast lumps are the first symptomfound in 80% of breast cancer patients, many female patients found breast lumpsaccidentally during bath, so the breast cancer self-examination is very important for early breast cancer screening. Breast self-examination is recommended to undergo on 9 to 11 days after menstruation or a fixed time every month for menopausal women, with appropriate examination method and strength ,full scope and regular interval. 

Breast self-examination

Step 1: Face a mirror, raise both hands, fully expose the chest, carefully observe the shape and skin color of the breast, dimplesign or nipple secretions.  

Step 2: Rest arms on the waist, carefully observe the shape and skin color of the breast, dimple sign or nipple secretions.

Step 3: Palpate the breast with five fingers pulp, check whether there is a lump.  

Step 4: Slide on the breastwith four fingers other than thumb. If the slide is stuck, there may be a lump.  

Step 5: In supine position, with a cushion under one side of the chest, slide on the breast with four fingers other than thumb, check if there is a bump.  

Step 6: Put 4 fingers under armpit, check if there is a bump. Grab the areola with a little force and check for nipple secretions.

If there is any abnormalities found in breast self-examination, see the doctor in time.  

What are the treatments for breast cancer?

At present, there are many methods to treat breast cancer, such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, biological targeted therapy and TCM adjuvant therapy.  The treatment effect of breast cancer lies in early detection, early diagnosis and early treatment, so regular breast screening, timely diagnosis and treatment is the key to the prognosis of breast cancer.  


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