Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Puerto Rican women.
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The cells in a malignant tumor can grow or invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women. Some factors that may predispose a person to develop this type of cancer are: age, race and ethnicity, smoking, alcohol consumption, being overweight or obese, family history of breast cancer, environmental exposure or others. Detecting breast cancer as early as possible gives you a better chance of successful treatment.
Breast Self Exam:
Women should perform a self breast exam each month and any changes or abnormalities should be discussed with a doctor or physician.
A mammogram is recommended every 24 months or as recommended by your doctor. This test uses
special x-ray images to detect abnormal growths or changes in the breast tissue. Initially, in most cases, breast
cancer does not present any symptoms. That is why it is so important to get tested as recommended by your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about:
- About your last mammogram and its results.
- If you have any symptoms or changes in your breasts.
- If you have a personal or familiar history of breast cancer.
- How and how often you should perform your self exam.
Remember, that early detection of cancer increases the chances for successful treatment. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle.