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One of the most common forms of cancer among women is breast cancer, which kills nearly 40,000 American women each year. Although one in eight women will contract breast cancer at some time in their lives, many cases can be completely cured or controlled if treated in the early stages.
The first sign of breast cancer is usually a lump in the breast, sometimes accompanied by other changes in the appearance of the breast such as:
If a lump is diagnosed as cancer at this early stage, it can be removed
and the area treated so the cancer doesn't spread. If left untreated,
the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
Many women are afraid of breast cancer because they fear losing a breast. This is a natural worry, but it can lead to dangerous delays in seeking treatment. It may help to keep in mind the following facts about breast cancer:
The risk factors for breast cancer are as follows:
If you are age 20 to 39:
If you are age 40 or older:
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, discuss mammography screening guidelines and scheduling with your health care provider.
Cancer Care Nurse Navigator
Watch the latest live chat on breast health with noted breast cancer specialist, Dr. Charu Taneja and breast cancer survivor and WCVB-TV 5 award-winning reporter, Kelley Tuthill.