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Breast Cancer

by | Nov 4, 2021 | Health

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To spread awareness, this post will tackle the basics of breast cancer to help everyone understand this health condition.


What Is Breast Cancer?

Cancer happens when mutations occur in your genes that regulate cell growth. These mutations let your cells multiply and divide uncontrollably, which is what we call cancer. For breast cancer, it has developed in your breast cells. The uncontrolled cancer growths can travel to your lymph nodes, which is usually how cancer spreads to other parts of your body. 



The early stages of breast cancer may not cause you to develop symptoms. Many times a tumor is too small to feel but can still be found on a mammogram. If you find a tumor in your breasts, don’t panic because not all tumors are cancer. You still need to be examined just to be sure.  

Here is a list of common symptoms of breast cancer.   

  1. Breast pain
  2. Inverted nipple
  3. Pitted or red skin over your breast
  4. Bloody discharge from your nipple
  5. Nipple discharge that is not breast milk
  6. Swelling in a part or entirety of your breast
  7. Breast lump or tissue thickening that feels different from other surrounding tissue

Manifesting these symptoms does not prove you have breast cancer. Sometimes a breast lump is just a benign cyst, but you need a proper examination to know for sure.



Several factors may increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Having any of the following factors does not automatically mean you will get breast cancer. There are risks that cannot be avoided, while other factors like hormonal treatments can be avoided.

  1. Hormone Therapies: Using hormone therapies such as birth control or postmenopausal estrogen and progesterone can increase your chances of getting breast cancer.
  2. Giving birth when older, having your first child after 35 increases your risk of breast cancer. 
  3. Genes: A family history of breast cancer can increase your chances of getting breast cancer.
  4. Age: Your risk of getting breast cancer increases when you reach over 55 years of age.
  5. Drinking alcohol can increase your chances of developing breast cancer.
  6. Dense breast tissue increases your risk of developing breast cancer while making your mammograms hard to read.
  7. Late Menopause, which is having your menopause after 55 can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
  8. Never being pregnant can increase your chances of developing breast cancer.

It would be wise to get your breasts examined at least once a year to catch anything early. Consult your doctor for additional information to prevent being caught off guard.


Your doctor will do a thorough exam of your breasts to check if your tumor is benign or cancerous. Here are some diagnostic tests to help understand the cause of your symptoms.

A Mammogram is an imaging test that is used to check the tumor or suspicious spot on your breasts.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to take a picture of the tissues deep inside your breasts. The test can help your doctors distinguish between a tumor and a benign cyst. 


The stage of your breast cancer or how far it has spread will determine the kind of treatment you need.

Surgery there are many types of surgery that may leave your breast intact or remove your breast completely, depending on the state of your cancer.

Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of radiation to target and kill cancer cells. The radiation treatment can be administered internally or externally.

Chemotherapy is a treatment regimen that uses drugs to destroy your cancer cells but comes with many unwanted side effects.

Hormone Therapy can be used to block the production of hormones or block its receptors to hopefully stop the growth of cancer. It is only used if your cancer is hormone-sensitive.

Medications can be used to slow the growth of cancer, making it easier to treat.

Consult with your doctor to find out what treatment suits your type of cancer. Time is of the essence, and any second you waste is a blow against you, so please do not delay your treatment.


Dr. Cook can recommend various lifestyle changes that may help prevent you from getting breast cancer. She can advise you on proper dieting, managing stress, and what activities to avoid to keep you healthy. 

Here are some examples of how Dr. Carolyn can help you against breast cancer:

As you know, being overweight can increase the chances of developing breast cancer. Dr. Cook is knowledgeable about nutrition and can assist you with creating diet plans to help you maintain a healthy weight while ensuring you get the proper nutrients. 

The consultation with Dr. Cook can also help her recommend the proper exercises that will keep you healthy while taking into consideration your state of health.

Her acupuncture treatments can relieve stress and reduce your physical pain to help you get proper rest and keep your body strong.

Chinese herbs can be used to ease your menopausal symptoms to help you avoid needing hormone replacement therapy. You must know that hormone replacement therapy may also increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Using the herbs can also relieve you of stress to help reduce your odds of developing breast cancer.

Fertility treatments are also offered by Dr. Cook to help you start a family. In times like these, more and more people are having difficulty conceiving and even carrying a pregnancy to term. Couples normally run to hormonal fertility treatments as a first response, but you should be wary. The hormonal treatments may bring unknown side effects to both you and the child. Through the use of herbs, natural treatments, and lifestyle changes, Dr. Cook can help you conceive and carry to term a healthy pregnancy. 

Contact Dr. Cook today and get tips on how to avoid getting breast cancer!

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