Breast Cancer Facts

Noninvasive Cancer Treatment Center in Phoenix, AZ

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting one in eight women at some point in life – but no matter what your diagnosis, there’s always hope. At Palo Verde Cancer Specialists, we’re proud to offer comprehensive cancer treatments including cutting-edge, noninvasive options like CyberKnife, and we treat all forms of breast cancer. Our cancer doctors work closely with our patients and take a personalized, compassionate approach to treatment, and we are committed to the health and long-term success of our patients above all.

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer refers to any cancerous tumor that forms in the tissues of the breasts, and while it’s most common in women, breast cancer can affect people of any gender. More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the US, making it the most common type of cancer for women outside of skin cancer. Genetic factors can predispose people to breast cancer, but the majority of people diagnosed have no family history. There are also a number of risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer, including:

  • Being overweight or obese after menopause
  • Physical inactivity
  • Drinking alcohol

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is easiest to treat when it’s found early, which is why it’s critical to understand the symptoms of breast cancer. Usually, the best way to detect breast cancer early on is through self-examination. Any woman over the age of 20 should do a monthly self-exam to become familiar with her breasts and continue these self-exams throughout life.

The best time for self-examination is after your menstrual cycle, when breasts are less likely to be swollen. If you no longer have a menstrual cycle, choose a day that’s easy to remember each month. Though there is no right or wrong way to do a self-exam, it should cover the collarbone, under the armpits and nipples. Feel for any lumps, bumps, or irregularities in the tissue of the breast. If you notice anything new or anything changing or growing over time, it’s time to see the doctor.

In addition to physical lumps within the breast, breast cancer can also cause some changes to the size and shape of the breasts, especially if only on one side. The skin of the nipple or breast area may become reddish, flaky or pitted, like the texture of an orange peel. The nipple may also turn slightly inward, become inverted, or release a bloody discharge. There may also be tenderness or pain in any area of the breast or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

The best way to detect and diagnose breast cancer is through monthly self-examinations. In addition to self-exams, women between the ages of 20 and 39 years should have a breast exam performed by a doctor every three years. Women over the age of 40 need an annual physician exam.

Routine mammograms are also an important part of early detection and should be done annually for women over the age of 40. Those women who are at high risk, between the ages of 20 and 39, should ask their doctors if they should be getting mammograms sooner.

If a potential tumor is found, your cancer doctor may use a number of different tests to determine if it’s breast cancer. These tests can range from imaging scans to biopsies depending on the specifics of the situation.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Scottsdale Cancer Center

Breast cancer is a serious and often scary condition, but with the right treatment team, there’s always hope. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, don’t wait: request a consultation with us online today. We’ll help you understand your condition, choose the best treatment option for your situation, and start on the road to recovery. We can’t wait to hear from you.