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So our last weeks discussion on OneLiver (ICE FM, 96.1 UJ) was on breast cancer. Here’s the summary of it.

Breast cancer is simply the abnormal excessive autonomous and uncoordinated growth of tissues of the breast.

Why is it so important?
This is the most common cancer amongst women in Nigeria and indeed the world. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.

What causes it?
Risk factors include female sex, obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, early age of onset of menstruation (menarche), late age of giving birth or not giving birth at all, older age, lack of breastfeeding, genetic disorder/mutation, family history, previous history of breast cancer, hormone replacement therapy during menopause, exposure to ionizing radiation.

How will you know?
A lump in the breast, dimpling of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk, newly inverted nipple, change in breast shape. A mammogram and tissue biopsy helps in establishing a definitive diagnosis.
*Note*: Having any of these symptoms does not automatically mean you have breast cancer as it may be due to something else. Seek medical care first.

Treatment
This largely depends on the stage of the breast cancer. Treatment options could be chemotherapy, radiotherapy, various forms of surgery. An *oncologist* alongside other specialists will be responsible for the management of patients with breast cancer.

Prevention
Regular exercise, avoid alcohol consumption, breastfeeding advised for lactating women. The breast tissues may be removed surgically for women with BRCA1​ 1 & BRCA2 gene mutation.

Screening
Regular self breast examination* to pick up lumps early and also detect breast changes. A clinical breast examination could be done by a clinician. Mammographic screening using x-rays could also pick up breast lumps. There are other genetic screening to pick up hereditary risk factors.

Fact
Men can also develop breast cancer. The rate however is higher in women than men.

Ref: Image from albieaware.com