Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, yet many people do not know the facts about the illness.
The majority of the population will know someone – perhaps a friend of a friend – who has developed breast cancer. Some will have won their battle with the disease, while others will have lost. Either way, the important people in their lives are likely to have learned a lot more about what it involves.
When it comes to cancer, there seems to be a new food or activity connected to the development or prevention of the illness every week. In real terms, it is worth paying attention to medical news, but the best way to protect yourself is to check your breasts regularly for any changes – and go and see a GP if there are any significant changes such as a lump.
There are different treatments available depending on your personal situation, with factors such as the size of the tumour and whether you have started the menopause playing a key role in this decision. Doctors may decide to use a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy for breast cancer treatment. In any case, starting medication early gives the best chances of success.
There are all sorts of facts that can shock people into paying attention to breast cancer. For example, one in nine women are affected by the illness during their lifetime, eight out of ten of those are over 50 years old and they total about 46,000 people each year in the UK alone. It may surprise some to know that men can also get breast cancer, so checking your chest is not just a female duty.
When a woman develops the illness, she tend to have either invasive or non-invasive breast cancer, although there are other types. The invasive strand can spread to other areas, while non-invasive has not developed this ability yet and is often known as pre-cancerous cells.
In simple terms, cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissue, with the resulting damage often creating a lump, although a physical mound of this kind is not always seen.