Breast Cancer During Menopause: The Complete Guide

Breast Cancer During Menopause: The Complete Guide

Breast cancer is a condition where the cells in the breast grow abnormally. It occurs when the cells mutate and divide uncontrollably. The abnormal growth creates a lump of tissue called a tumor. These abnormal cells can invade surrounding tissues and form multiple tumors in the body.

Breast cancer is common in women but rarely develops in men. Male breast cancer cases make up less than 1% of the total yearly cases in the U. S. Consequently, transgender women are at a higher risk of breast cancer than transgender men.

Certain factors put individuals at a higher risk of developing this condition. Age is the predominant factor affecting the chances of developing cancer. The majority of women diagnosed  are above the age of 40.

Risk of Breast Cancer During Menopause

For most women, natural menopause begins at around age 50. At this age, the exposure to estrogen is high. Besides, the drugs taken to manage menopause symptoms are a risk factor. These drugs may increase or decrease the chances of developing breast cancer.

Women who develop cancer at early ages enter menopause prematurely. This is due to the treatment procedures. Chemotherapy or hormonal therapy depletes estrogen levels triggering menopause symptoms.

Hormone Replacement Therapy as a Treatment

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to reduce the side effects of menopause. The therapy works by changing the hormonal levels in the body. These changes increase the risk of breast cancers.

However, the risk exposure due to using HRT varies from person to person. People who start using HRT earlier have a greater risk than those who begin later. Typically, prolonged use of HRT increases the risk.

The type of HRT used also affects the risk of exposure. HRTs that combine estrogen and progesterone put users at a greater risk. Vaginal estrogens, on the other hand, have lesser risks associated with breast cancer.

Other risk factors include:

  • History of cancer in the lineage
  • Weight gain
  • Premature menopause
  • Late menopause

Prevention

Preventing breast cancer involves reducing the risk factors. Adopting healthy living habits can help you lower the risks. These habits include:

  • Minimize alcohol intake: Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body.
  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding has a protective effect. The risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3%every year a woman breastfeeds.
  • Limit HRT: HTR increases the risks of breast cancer. Talking to your doctor can help you manage HTR consumption.
  • Stay physically active: Being physically active helps you maintain a healthy weight. Healthy adults have a lower risk of exposure to breast cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy diet: A healthy diet plays a crucial role in preventing breast cancer.

Detection and Diagnosis

Breast cancer is detected through screening. Most experts recommend routine screening for women from the age of 40. The screening is done with a mammogram. Mammography forms a basis for detecting abnormalities in breast cells.

People at higher risk can get yearly MRIs alongside mammograms. MRI produces detailed images of the breast interior that can clearly show tumors. An MRI scanner can also evaluate the effectiveness of previous treatments.

Yearly breast exams can also help detect breast cancer. These exams can help you notice any abnormal growth. Luckily, breast exams can be done by one’s self. However, the techniques should be reviewed by a healthcare provider.

Detecting breast cancer at its early stages increases the chances of successful treatment. The survival rate decreases the longer it takes to detect breast cancer. In the early stages, the cancerous cells have not moved to surrounding tissues.

Symptoms

Although symptoms differ from person to person, there are common signs. These signs include:

  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Skin dimpling
  • Lump in the breast or armpit
  • Changes in the shape and size of the breast
  • Changes in skin color
  • Itchy breast

The Bottom Line

Breast cancer can cause a lot of scare among your friends and loved ones. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available. Fill out the form below to contact our team.

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