4 Little-Known Truths About Breast Cancer That Often Go Unnoticed

There are several aspects of breast cancer that many people are either unaware of or skeptical about.

4 Unknown Facts About Breast Cancer That A Lot Of People Don’t Know
4 Unknown Facts About Breast Cancer That A Lot Of People Don’t Know

Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women. Annually, approximately one million cases are diagnosed by medical professionals, indicating a concerning trend. While breast cancer predominantly affects women, occurrences in men are rare. Although it is a potentially fatal disease, timely detection and appropriate treatment can greatly improve outcomes. In the past, treatment options were limited and often financially burdensome, but recent advancements have significantly changed this landscape. Despite these advancements, there are still lesser-known facts about breast cancer that may surprise you.

1. Genetics play a significant role in only a small fraction of breast cancer cases

Contrary to common assumption, only a small percentage, approximately 5-10%, of breast cancer cases are attributed to genetic factors. Most instances of breast cancer do not demonstrate a familial pattern, and there are various other factors at play. The inheritance of mutated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes represents a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, which can be passed down through either the maternal or paternal lineage. If a close blood relative such as a mother, sibling, aunt, or child has been diagnosed with breast cancer, an individual’s risk increases by roughly two-fold. Furthermore, having more than two close relatives with breast cancer can elevate one’s risk by threefold.

Genetics play a significant role in only a small fraction of breast cancer cases

2. Prevention is possible for breast cancer

It’s crucial to be familiar with the appearance and feel of your breasts. Regular self-examination involves observing them in the mirror and systematically palpating them. Any alterations in size or shape, dimpled skin resembling an orange peel, redness, nipple discharge, or lumps in the breast, armpits, or around the collarbone should prompt a consultation with your doctor. While painful breast lumps are typically non-cancerous, it’s essential to have them evaluated for potential malignancy. Watch this video for an overview of breast cancer symptoms.

3. The majority of breast lumps are non-cancerous

Many women hesitate to visit a doctor upon discovering a breast lump due to fear. They dread the possibility of cancer, the prospect of painful chemotherapy, surgery, and the aftermath of treatment. However, it’s important to remember that the majority of breast lumps are benign. Some may be cysts, fibroadenomas, fibrosis, or other non-cancerous conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial not to hesitate in seeking medical attention. Getting cancer ruled out can provide peace of mind and ensure appropriate management of any health concerns.

The majority of breast lumps are non-cancerous

4. The majority of breast cancers are treatable

If diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s no need to panic. Most individuals overcome breast cancer, depending on its type and stage. Survival rates, like the global 5-year survival rate of 89.4%, are improving due to advancing treatment options. In India, where late-stage detection is common among women, the survival rate is around 66.1%. For localized disease in early stages, the survival rate can be as high as 98.6%. Mastectomy isn’t always necessary; lumpectomy is an option for early-stage breast cancer. Some women opt for preventive mastectomy, as exemplified by Angelina Jolie, particularly those with a strong family history. Chemotherapy isn’t universally required, and modern chemotherapy drugs have fewer and milder side effects. These insights are provided by Dr. Shelly Singh, Senior Consultant Gynecologist at Momspresso, a user-generated content sharing platform for women.