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7 Breast Cancer Signs Diabetics Should Never Ignore

A diabetes diagnosis will significantly raise your risk of other conditions, including breast cancer. Studies show there are high co-relations between Type 2 diabetes and cancer – pancreatic, liver, endometrium, kidney and thyroid as well as certain types of leukemia.

Hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia and inflammation may directly may directly increase cancer risk. The shared risk factors between cancer and diabetes are – aging, obesity, diet and physical activity.

Improving breast cancer outcomes requires to consider all aspects of women’s health. The link between diabetes and breast cancer risk helps to design better strategies to reduce risk and potentially develop new therapies.

Spotting the symptoms and then getting a swift diagnosis and treatment is crucial in fighting back against the disease. Here’s what you need to be looking out for.

1. A change in breast size or shape. This may be difficult to spot if changes happen gradually over time. It’s perfectly normal for your breasts to change throughout your life, especially during your menstrual cycle and just before, during and after the menopause when oestrogen levels decrease, with an effect on the size, shape and softness of your breasts. Early detection of breast cancer can save lives: says the Chief Executive at charity Breast Cancer Care. So it’s vital that women know they should keep checking their breasts, even if they’re attending regular mammograms. There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts it’s about looking and feeling regularly, so any unusual changes can be spotted quickly. To help you spot changes swiftly, try building a breast check into your regular routine. Doing it while you’re washing in the shower or bath is a great opportunity. Look at your breasts and feel them, as well as checking your chest area and underneath your arms.

2. A lump or area of thickened tissue. This is usually the first noticeable symptom of breast cancer, although it’s worth remembering that most lumps (around 90%) are not cancerous. They’re usually harmless cysts (a build-up of fluid) or due to other conditions, such as fibroadenoma. It’s important to get them checked because breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, affecting 55,000 people a year just in the UK alone. One person is diagnosed every 10 minutes and one in eight women will develop it at some point in our lives. The good news is that breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years.

3. A lump or swelling in your armpit. As well as lumps in the breast, another key sign is lumps or pain in the armpits, where your lymph nodes are located. So include your armpits when checking your breasts and don’t forget your chest area, up to your collarbone. Any changes and rashes should be brought to your doctor’s attention.

4. A change to your nipple. Report any change in nipple position or shape, or if your nipple appears sunken. If you visit your GP with any of these symptoms you will probably be referred to a breast clinic or hospital for further tests, which may include X-rays, ultrasounds or biopsies (where breast cells are removed via a fine needle and sent for testing).You may be asked to fill in a health questionnaire about any family history of breast problems, whether you’ve had breast surgery (such as implants), or any medication such as the contraceptive pill or HRT, which may affect your risk.You could get the results of any tests later the same day or up to a week later. Most results turn out not to be cancer, but it’s a good idea to take someone  with you for support in case you need it.

5. A rash. This may appear as redness or a skin rash on your breasts or on your chest area. See your GP, as it could indicate inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer. Breast cancer rates have increased by a fifth since the 1990s, although they’re slowing down. Around a quarter may be preventable and almost half occur in women over the age of 65 years. Survival rates are increasing too, thanks to earlier diagnosis and better treatments; almost 90% live at least five years after being diagnosed, while many live for 20 years or more.

6. A nipple discharge. Lots of women have a discharge from the nipples, which isn’t a sign of anything serious. It may just be normal for you or could be due to other causes, such as an infection, a blocked milk duct, breast-feeding, pregnancy, or a side effect of certain medication, such as the contraceptive pill. It’s worth talking to your GP about it, especially if:

* it’s only happening on one side
* it’s blood-stained or smells
* it happens regularly rather than a one-off
* it’s accompanied by any of these other symptoms
* you’re over 50 years old

7. A change in breast skin texture. Look out for a puckering or dimpling of your skin (which makes it look like orange peel, for example) and discuss any changes with your GP. Breast pain isn’t usually a symptom of cancer but it can be, so again it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. Most women know that a breast lump may be a sign of cancer, but many don’t recognise those other symptoms. However, research by Breast Cancer Care reveals that a third of people are diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a symptom other than a lump.

Reducing the risk

Environment and lifestyle factors can trigger gene mutations (changes) that lead to cancer, but some may be avoidable, explain doctors. Almost one in 10 cases are linked to excessive body weight, possibly because it affects hormone levels or is linked to dietary fat. One in 16 are linked to alcohol. Inactivity is another factor; smoking may increase some women’s risk. To help lower your risk of breast cancer, try to maintain a healthy weight by sticking to a balanced, nutritious diet, including regular exercise at least half an hour, five times a week. Don’t smoke and keep your alcohol consumption below 14 units per week, with at least two alcohol-free days.

Most breast cancers aren’t spotted by symptoms but are picked up on a mammogram when they are too small to see or feel. Your risk of breast cancer increases with age and is most common in woman over 50 —  this group accounts for around 80 percent of cases. This is why the NHS in the UK routinely offers breast screening (X-ray images of your breasts) to all women aged 50-70, every three years. If you are over 70, you’re still entitled to screening but you’ll have to request it through your GP or local screening unit, as you won’t be automatically invited to attend. (The NHS is currently extending its screening programme to men aged 47-73 in some areas as part of a trial.)

The earlier a cancer is found, the higher the chance of survival and the lower the risk of invasive treatment, such as breast removal (mastectomy) or chemotherapy, but screening can also pick up cancers at such an early stage that they might never have developed further and women then undergo unnecessary extra tests and treatment.

Doctors explain that screening saves one life for every 200 UK women screened (around 1,300 lives each year), but for each life saved, another three women are diagnosed with cancers that would never have become life-threatening. Repeated mammography also slightly increases the risk of getting breast cancer, so it’s a personal decision.

E300 – 7 Breast Cancer Signs Diabetics Should Never Ignore – www.diabetic.today

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