|What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the "most common cancer among women: one woman in every fourteen develops breast cancer and one in every twenty dies from it" [Encyclopedia of Medicine, "Breast cancer." Pgs. 206-207].
Women who are at risk for breast cancer include: older women, women with a personal or family history of breast cancer, women with biopsy-confirmed atypical hyperplasia, early menarche, or late menopause, women who have recently used oral contraceptives or postmenopausal estrogens, and women who have never had children or who had their first live birth at a late age. International variability in breast cancer incidence rates appears to correlate with variations in diet, especially fat intake, although a causal role for dietary factors has not been firmly established. Additional factors that may be associated with increased breast cancer risk and that are currently under study include pesticide and other chemical exposures, alcohol consumption, weight gain, induced abortion, and physical inactivity.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include: a lump, thickening, swelling, distortion, or tenderness in the breast; skin irritation or dimpling; and nipple pain, scaliness, or retraction. Breast pain is very commonly due to benign conditions and is not usually the first symptom of breast cancer.