Breast Cancer Awareness
Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam. If there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, see a doctor promptly.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Norway. Based on normal life expectancy, one of ten women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.
Causes and risk factors – The precise causes of breast cancer are unclear, but there are known risk factors;
- Age – women over 50 years
- Gender – female
- Reproductive history, such as menstruation before 12 years, first pregnancy after 30 years, never having given birth, or menopause before 50 years
- Family history
- Gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Hormone replacement
- Alcohol consumption
- Obesity/insufficient exercise
- Race/ethnicity – Caucasian persons are more at risk
Breast cancer symptoms present in a variety of ways, and some people have no signs or symptoms. Breast cancer may be diagnosed after a routine mammography. Signs or symptoms of breast cancer include changes in the breast, such as:
- Lump in the breast or armpit
- Irritation or dimpling of skin
- Nipple indention or pain
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)
- Change in size or shape
Breast cancer screening programme
Regular mammography is the most important method for detecting breast cancer in early stage. The Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening program invites all women between 50 and 69 years of age to mammography every two years.
When to see a doctor
- If you find a lump or other change in your breast, even if a recent mammogram was normal, make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation.
- If you have a family history with an increased incidence of breast cancer or other types of cancer, it may be advisable to recommend taking a blood test to see if there are mutations in BRCA or other genes.
About nine out of ten lumps detected in the breast are benign. But with the slightest uncertainty, reference will be made to triple diagnosis, which in Norway is performed at breast cancer clinics.
See video below on how you can do a self-examination of your breast (in Norwegian only)
Photo: Steffen Aaland, Norwegian Cancer Society