October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to increase knowledge and early detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. However, it can affect both women and men. It is the abnormal growth of malignant cells lining the breast lobules or ducts. Although incidents have been rising steadily over the past few years, early detection remains the foundation of breast cancer control. Research shows that a lot of women believe that breast cancer never happens to them. Breast screening not only saves lives but also reduces the likelihood of a woman needing invasive treatment, such as a mastectomy or chemotherapy.

Some people have no symptoms, and the cancer is found during a screening.  Some common breast cancer symptoms are new lumps or thickening in the breast, nipple changes or discharge, changes in the shape and size of the breast, breast skin changes, discomfort, or pain of the breast or the axilla.

There are multiple risk factors of breast cancer such as aging, family predisposition, nulliparity, inheritance of some gene mutations, exposure to female hormones, overweight, not enough physical activity, alcohol consumption, starting period before the age of 12y old and preexisting benign breast disorders.

A breast cancer diagnosis can be made with physical examination, mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, CT, and MRI scans. Breast cancer treatment depends on the staging but generally includes radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, targeted cancer cells therapy, palliative care, and side effects management.

Screening is being recommended in women between 50 to 74 years old. Women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, aged between 40 and 49 or over 75 years are also recommended to have breast cancer screening.

Early breast cancer detection can save your life! Be brave and breast cancer aware!

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