Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. In Puerto Rico it is the type of cancer that is most diagnosed among women.  A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer in its early stages, before it is large enough to be felt or cause symptoms. The signs of breast cancer vary from person to person.  There are even people who do not have any signs or symptoms. Know some signals that the body could send.

  • A new lump in the breast or armpit (under the arm).
  • Increase in thickness or swelling of a part of the breast.
  • Irritation or sinking in the skin of the breast.
  • Redness or peeling in the nipple or breast area. 
  • Sinking of the nipple or pain in that area.
  • Discharge from the nipple, other than milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any part of the breast.

The American Cancer Society offers the following recommendations to help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

  • Eat a healthy diet, consuming fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Carry out physical activities regularly.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Do not smoke or consume tobacco products.

Examine yourself in time, early detection saves lives. Talk to your doctor to find out what you can do to reduce risk and which test is right for you.

By: Tania Mangual-Monzón, MS, BHE

References: American Cancer Society | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention