Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need to Know



October is breast cancer awareness month. Over 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 42,000 women die from it. Breast cancer is often found in women older than 50 years old, but it can affect women younger than 45 years old. Breast cancer can be cured if it is diagnosed early, so it is essential to have regular screenings and stay informed about your breast health.

What Are the Main Causes of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when some breast cells grow abnormally. These can be cells located in the milk-producing ducts, glandular tissue, or other tissue areas within the breast. These cells divide quickly, forming a mass or lump in the breast.

Here are some factors that may increase your risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Age - Risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
  • Dense Breast Tissue – It makes mammograms hard to read, which can make it harder to detect the condition.
  • Early menstruation – If you had your first period before 12 years old, you are at an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Family History – If you have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, you are at an increased risk for the condition.
  • Inherited Genes – Inherited mutations in specific genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, puts you at high risk for breast cancer.
  • Previous history of breast diseases – If you have previously had certain non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia, you’re at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Late Menopause – If you do not begin menopause until age 55 or older, your breast cancer risk increases.
  • Obesity – Post-menopausal women who are obese are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Radiation Exposure – If you received radiation treatment on your chest as a child or adult, you might develop breast cancer.
  • Never Being Pregnant or Late Pregnancy – Risk for developing the condition increases if you have not been pregnant, not carried a full-term pregnancy, or had your first delivery after 30 years.
  • Alcohol – Frequent consumption of alcohol increases your risk.
  • Hormone Therapy – Certain forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) medications to treat menopause symptoms increase the threat of breast cancer.

Self-Check Method for Early Detection

Examining your breasts regularly will help you notice any abnormal changes. A self-breast exam includes:

self check for breast cancer

  • Check Your Breasts

    Examine your breasts in the mirror while standing straight and check their color, size, and shape. Inform your doctor if you experience any abnormal changes in your breasts, including redness, lumps, hardened tissue, puckering, or an inverted nipple.

  • Check Your Nipples

    If one or both nipples discharge milky, watery, or yellow fluid or blood, it can indicate breast cancer.

  • Touch and Feel Your Breasts

    Feel your breasts while lying down on your back. Breast tissue spreads out when lying down, making it easier to feel. Use a circular motion to feel your entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Place your fingers directly on your breasts and feel under the nipple for any changes. Gently press your nipple inward and make sure it moves smoothly. Also, check the upper and outer area of your breasts, near to the armpit.

When You Should Consult with Your Doctor

consulting to the doctor

Finding lumps or changes in the breast is not a sign of cancer, as these are normal changes that occur during the menstrual cycles. Also, your breasts change as you age. However, schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice:

  • A knot or hard lump near your underarm
  • Prominent fullness in breasts
  • Ridges on breast’s skin
  • Swelling or pain in the breast
  • Itching, sores, scales, or rashes

Your doctor will examine these changes and recommend the right treatment.

Breast Cancer Treatment at COHA

At Chesapeake Oncology Hematology Associates (COHA), we have specialists, like Dr. Gayatri Nimmagadda, Dr. Melissa Vyfhuis, Dr. Yudishtra Markan, and Dr. Russel De Luca, to treat breast cancer. Our breast cancer treatment options include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Immunotherapy

Contact us today or schedule an appointment with us if you are looking for a breast cancer treatment with excellent outcomes. We are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive cancer care to all our patients.



COHA is a leading group of oncologists that offer oncology services within Anne Arundel County, Howard County, and Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. We remain committed to bringing the best oncology and hematology services to the residents of this area. Our knowledge, skills, and experience will guide you toward the best treatment options for your health and lifestyle. We offer today’s most effective therapies, expertly and compassionately delivered in our infusion and medical centers.

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