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While there has been widespread awareness on breast cancer over the past few years, there remain some facts that go unnoticed. Let’s look at the lesser-known details about breast cancer, in order to be better prepared to manage the condition and its symptoms.

1.    It can be more than a lump

Not just a lump, but breast pain is also one of the most common symptoms of breast cancer. Pain can be accompanied by:

  • Swelling of part or all the breast
  • Skin irritation
  • Nipple retraction
  • Red, scaly, or thick nipple or mammary gland
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk

2.    Men can also develop breast cancer

It is a common belief that only women can develop breast cancer. However, men too can develop breast cancer. As per global statistics, 1 in every 833 men can develop breast cancer in his lifetime(as opposed to 1 in every 8 women being diagnosed).

3.    Symptoms can manifest outside the breast

Breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes.It can cause swelling or a lump around the collarbone or under the arm before the original tumor in the breast is even big enough to be felt. Regular Screening will help your physician detect any swollen lymph nodes, even if they are not aching.

4.    Family history isn’t the only risk factor

Chest radiation therapy prior to the age of30, or radiation exposure of any kind (whether at the workplace or unknowingly)can also cause breast cancer.

5.     One can get breast cancer even without risk factors

Breast cancer can affect people even if they have no risk factors or a family history of the disease.

6.    Screening recommendations differ according toyour risk

Experts suggest that high-risk women getannual MRIs and mammograms starting at the age of 30. While low risk women can start screenings at the age of 40. Women with no apparent risk factors should have annual mammograms starting at age 45.

7.    Regular mammograms really work.

Mammograms can help find breast cancer in its early stages when it’s easier to treat. Decades of research show that early screening results in early diagnosis and better treatment results. This makes intensive treatment less likely and increases the likelihood of faster recovery.

8.    Breast cancer is more common than you realise

Breast cancer comprises around a third of all female cancers and remains the number one cause of cancer-related mortality in the UAE. In the UAE population, the average age of breast cancer cases around 48 years. Almost 22% of the breast cancer cases are between the ages of30 and 40 years.

9.    Monthly self-exams matter

Physical examinations may not help diagnose breast cancer; however, they are an important part of your breast cancer screening regimen. Even if your mammogram is normal, if you feel a breast lump you should still let your doctor know. Not all breast cancers are seen on mammograms.


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