Every year, the month of October stands out for being the period in which we call attention to the prevention of breast cancer, one of the most common diseases among women in Brazil and in the world.
Breast cancer is a disease characterized by the disordered multiplication of cells, thus forming a tumor. Despite referring to women, breast cancer can also affect men, however, they correspond to only 1% of cases.
Pink October: how did it come about?
The movement started in the United States, in the mid-90s, when annually in October, isolated actions were taken in several states to prevent the disease. Later, October would end up becoming the national breast cancer prevention month in the United States.
The color pink was used as a result of the first Healing Race, held in New York in 1990 when pink ties were distributed to participants. As the campaign grew, other actions, such as races and even fashion shows, emerged, and so began the custom of lighting buildings, bridges, and monuments in pink.
The campaign became known worldwide, and several countries began to join, until on October 2, 2002, Brazil took its first initiative about the cause, lighting up the Mausoleum of the Constitutionalist Soldier monument (better known as the Obelisk), located in Ibirapuera on the city of São Paulo.
Breast cancer: causes, symptoms, and prevention
Breast cancer can have several causes, however, its main risk factor is age. Statistics reveal that for every five cases, four occur after the age of 50. Other factors that increase the risk of the disease evolving are:
- Family history of cancer (breast and ovarian);
- First pregnancy after 30 years of age;
- Frequent exposure to ionizing radiation;
- Sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and overweight after menopause;
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- Use of hormonal contraceptives (estrogen-progesterone).
About symptoms, breast cancer can still be seen in the early stages, which facilitates its treatment. The main manifestation of the disease occurs through a lump in the breast, usually painless. This lump may be very small and also be present in the armpits and neck. There are also cases in which there may be a spontaneous discharge of abnormal fluid through the nipples and changes in them.
Many people do not know, but up to 30% of breast cancer cases can be prevented with the adoption of healthy eating, physical exercise, and even breastfeeding. Avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the use of synthetic hormones also help in prevention.
Prevention with self-examination
It was proven by the National Cancer Institute (Inca), that most cases of breast cancer are detected by the woman herself, through the palpation of the breasts. This survey represents 66.2% of the cases, and for that reason, performing self-examination is so important. Through it, you can feel:
- Presence of lump;
- Skin retraction not associated with inflammation;
- Change in the shape, texture, or size of the breast;
- Inversion of the nipple or discharge of secretion.
Performing the self-examination is very simple, check out the tips:
- In front of the mirror, observe the beak and the surface of the breasts, in addition to the contour of the breasts;
- Make circular movements, downwards and upwards, from side to side. Observe if there is any secretion coming from the nipples;
- Standing, raise your arm and observe if the movement changes the contour and the surface of the breasts;
- Lying down, put an arm under your head, and examine the breasts with the opposite hand.
Self-examination allows the woman to feel lumps from 1 cm in length with touch. Remember that the sooner it is discovered, the easier it will be to fight it. If detected, the woman should see a doctor as soon as possible, as only he will be able to diagnose the disease. The annual clinical examination can be performed by a gynecologist or mastologist.