Why Women Over 50 Should Worry About Breast Cancer

Breat Cancer Awareness

Women over 50 are at Higher Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

According to BreastCancer.org 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in the course of their lifetime. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2013 alone, there will be 232,340 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer forms in the tissues of breasts, usually the breast ducts and lobules. It develops as a malignant tumor that can grow and invade surrounding tissue. Did you know that this disease is not only specific to women; that men too, can get breast cancer?

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

Many women, over 50, assume they do not have to worry about breast cancer as their child-bearing years are behind them. This is a wrong assumption. You, as an over 50s woman, is more at risk of developing breast cancer than at any other age. This factor is more important than thinking you can get breast cancer because it runs in the family, although this too is a risk factor.

Another risk factor for breast cancer is menopause. Menopause contributes significantly to this risk. This is a time when your ovaries stop producing eggs for fertilization. During this time, you also produce reduced amounts of estrogen and progesterone. The fluctuating hormone levels result in all the symptoms you experience during menopause, which include hot flashes and night sweats etc. Although most symptoms of menopause reduce and disappear with time, certain symptoms remain constant. This may prompt you to seek medical attention and consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Although HRT may alleviate your symptoms and help you to live a normal life, it also increases the risk of breast cancer. The longer you use HRT, the higher your risk of breast cancer.

Other risk factors for women over the age of 50 include having breast cancer in one breast, having a history of colon, ovarian or uterine cancer, late menopause, early menstruation, and infertility or never having children.

Importance of Breast Cancer Detection and Screening

98% of the time, breast cancer can be treated successfully if detected early. This means, as you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, you should follow proper procedure and go for annual mammograms without fail. Many elderly women skip their annual mammogram due to its cost, inadequate health care insurance and various theories as to the ineffectiveness of mammograms. However, whatever the cause, you should never consider skipping your annual mammograms as this factor can mean the difference between life and death. Once again, it should be stressed that early detection of breast cancer can save your life.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

There are no symptoms during the early stages of breast cancer. However, there are symptoms that you may be able to detect upon the growth of a tumor. These include a painless lump in the breast or under the arm, which may also be accompanied with a prickly sensation, swelling in the armpit, bloody discharge from the nipple, changes in the size and contour of the breast, flattening or indentation on the breast, and pain or tenderness in the breast.

Breast cancer is a major health risk for women over the age of 50. If you are over 50, and are worried about your risk of breast cancer, speak with your doctor and make an appointment for a mammogram today.

This article is courtesy of Active Adult Living.com® a website with over 6600 active lifestyle communities listed with comprehensive details, for seniors looking to relocate during their 55+ life for an active and healthy life.

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