A Guide to Understanding Breast Cancer

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer it can be difficult to understand. According to Breastcancer.org, the disease will affect one in eight U.S. women during their lifetime, and more than 232,000 new cases will be diagnosed in 2014. 

Breast cancer doesn't just affect women. More than 2,000 new cases are diagnosed in men each year, and the risk of a man developing breast cancer is approximately one in 1,000. According to a Pink Initiative, n women, the disease is only second to lung cancer in cancer-related deaths among women, and as many as 40,000 women and 400 men die as a result of breast cancer each year.

Because about 12 percent of women will develop breast cancer, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of this disease. Common symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple inversion
  • Nipple discharge
  • A lump in the armpit or in the breast
  • Skin irritation on the breast
  • Swelling of the breast

It's also important to know your risk for breast cancer. With the average age of diagnosis being 61, a few of the biggest risk factors is being a woman, growing older and family history.

Women are encouraged to start receiving an annual mammogram once they reach age 40. However, the Pink Initiative found that only 51 percent of women who are of the recommended age are actually receiving mammograms. 

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