Breast cancer is the 5th most common type of cancer in the world and is the first most common for women. Breast cancer can be a fatal disease, and once you get it, it can be a very demanding and strenuous battle to overcome.

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Cancer is no stranger to the citizens of the UAE as according to the Ministry of Health, an average of 500 people become victims of cancer yearly within the UAE. With that being said, it’s important to be aware of what breast cancer is, what causes it, how to prevent it, and what to do if you suspect it. 

What is Breast Cancer?

Causes of Breast Cancer

Like all the other types of cancer, it develops when certain cells begin to grow abnormally. In turn, these cells divide rapidly and form large lumps in the body.

Breast cancer occurs when these cells form lumps in the breast and rapidly spread throughout the breast and into the cells or tissues of other parts of the body. Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can certainly get it too. 

Warning signs of Breast Cancer

Men or women who may have breast cancer may notice any of the below symptoms. And if you do experience any of them, it is important to get it checked up at first notice as intervention from a doctor can make a huge difference in the development of cancer spreading in the body. The symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump or thick spot on the breast that feels different from their surrounding tissue
  • Change in the size, shape, and appearance of a breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Flaky, red, hot to touch the skin in the breast area
  • Peeling, crusting or flaking skin on the breast or the surrounding area
  • Dimpling to changes to the colour or texture of the skin
  • Unexplainable pain in the breast or the surrounding area

Causes of Breast Cancer

Causes of Breast Cancer
  • Lifestyle factors – Many experts believe that lifestyle factors have a significant effect on the development of breast cancer. Small things in your daily life such as overexposure to the sun, overeating fatty or junk foods, not exercising enough, not having enough rest as well as environmental factors such as inhaling polluted air may all contribute to the development of cancer.
  • Genetic makeup – Doctors estimate that 5-10% of all people with breast cancer have inherited it in their genes that have been passed down from family generations. Doctors have also discovered that multiple different types of inherited genes can increase the chances of breast cancer. Those who have a family history of breast cancer that runs deeply throughout generations are more likely to develop it themselves. Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are the most likely types of cancer that can be passed down genetically.
  • Being female – Though this may seem like quite an obvious point, this only makes a list because women are more likely to develop breast cancer compared to men. 
  • Ageing – Breast cancer is more likely to develop as you get older. As a woman gets older, her breasts become less dense as glandular tissue decreases and fatty tissue increases. Breast cancer is also easier to detect when breasts are less dense.
  • Previous breast health complications – If you have suffered from a previous breast health condition and have had treatment on them before, there is an increased chance that you may develop breast cancer in the future.
  • Radiation exposure – Women who have been exposed to radiation through treatments around the chest area have an increased chance of developing breast cancer in the future, particularly if you have had radiation exposure since your younger ages.
  • Never being pregnant – Studies have shown that women who have never been pregnant in their lifetime have an increased risk of developing breast cancer in their older ages compared to women who have had one or more children in their lifetime.
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy – Women who take hormone therapy medications can increase their risk of breast cancer. Any medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat menopause can increase the risk of breast cancer. The risk can also decrease if the person is to stop using the medication.

When to See a Doctor

Causes of Breast Cancer

Preventing cancer and treating it to avoid detrimental effects from developing, getting regular check-ups from the doctor is extremely important. If you notice or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with a doctor immediately.

If you have a family history of breast cancer or want to be safe, its recommended to get your general check-up even if you feel healthy. Getting a check-up with the doctor is the only way to diagnose the problem before it gets worse. 

Preventing Breast Cancer

In terms of help, the only thing more effective than treatment is prevention. Making lifestyle adjustments and taking extra precautions is so important when maintaining good health and staying away from diseases and illnesses.

Preventing cancer is not as straightforward as it sounds. By making habits of eating healthily, maintain good body weight, and avoiding exposure to the sun and radiation, you are p[reventing the risk of any cancer.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.