Understanding the symptoms and risk factors for developing breast cancer
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women and causes the second-most deaths from cancer in women. This being said, there is good news—more and more women are surviving breast cancer thanks to screening and early detection. Our Austin obgyns believe that the more women learn about breast cancer, the more we can all work together to prevent cancer and detect it in its early, most curable forms.
Risk factors for breast cancer
As women age, the risk of breast cancer rises, with most cases occurring in women over age 50; however, there are other known risk factors that can affect your chances of getting breast cancer. It’s important to discuss these risk factors with our Austin obgyns when providing your medical history.
Factors that can increase your breast cancer risk include:
- Age—the most significant factor
- Family history—having a mother or sister who has had breast cancer
- Personal history—having had breast cancer yourself
- Timing of menstruation—if you started your period before age 12
- Age at the time of menopause—if you reach menopause at age 55 or older
- Reproductive history—if you have never had a baby, or if you have children after age 30
- Inherited genetic mutations—if you are one of the 5 to 10% of women who has inherited the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation
If you have a relative who has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, you may want to discuss BRAC testing or Colaris testing with our Austin obgyns to learn more about your risk of developing breast cancer.
Watch for symptoms
Our Austin obgyns encourage patients to practice breast awareness, which simply means becoming aware of how your breasts normally look and feel so that you will notice any changes. You just need to feel and look at your breasts a few times a year. This, in addition to your clinical breast exams and screening mammography will help us detect problems early. Breast cancer symptoms to be aware of include:
- Feeling a lump and/or thickening tissue in or around your breast or under your arm
- Changes in the appearance, including shape, size or skin texture, of your breast. Also, skin changes like dimpling, scaliness, puckering, as well as itching, redness or pain
- Nipple changes, such as an inverted nipple or fluid discharge
Our Austin obgyns encourage breast awareness, clinical examinations and screening mammography in our fight against breast cancer
Part of maintaining good breast health is practicing breast awareness, coming in for your annual clinical breast exam if you are age 40 or over (every two to three years if you are age 20 to 39), and receiving an annual screening mammogram if you are age 40 or over, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Our Austin obgyns want to help women in the fight against breast cancer, so contact us today.