Health One Family Medicine

Pinktober: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women all around the world. In the United States, 1 out of every 8 women develops breast cancer during her lifetime. The rates of catching the disease are high, and so are the mortality rates. In 2018 alone, 627,000 women around the world lost their lives to breast cancer, and that is just the reported number.

Every year in October, countries all around the world celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, called “Pinktober.” There are many campaigns held by women’s health charities and community organizations that shed light on the prevailing issue. The goal of Pinktober is to create awareness, educate women about the disease, and raise money to help treat those that are affected by it.

We will talk about the warning signs of breast cancer and the types that most commonly exist. We aim to create awareness about this widespread disease so more women can benefit and get themselves treated.

7 Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, different people experience varied symptoms. These symptoms usually overlap with other conditions such as weight gain, menopause or pregnancy, which makes it challenging to identify cancer. The 7 things you should look out and frequently check for are:

  1. Lumps forming in breasts or armpits
  2. Irritation on breast skin
  3. Nipple discharge (excluding breast milk) like blood
  4. Pain in any part of the breast (including the nipple area)
  5. Redness around the nipple
  6. Flaky skin around the breast
  7. A swollen breast

If you feel you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, please visit a doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation.

The 5 Types of Breast Cancer

1. IDC

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) occurs when abnormal cancer cells that have developed in the milk ducts spread to the breast tissue. IDC is the most common type of breast cancer in women. Around 75% of all diagnoses of breast cancer fall in this category. It is also the most common type of breast cancer in men.


Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive cancer where cancer cells are found in the milk ducts but have not yet spread to the breast tissue. It is an early stage of breast cancer and can be treated easily by preventing it from spreading.

3. IBC

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is Stage 3 cancer that happens when cancer cells penetrate the lymph vessels and skin around the breast. A tumor or a lump forms. The symptoms begin to appear when the cancer cells block the lymph vessels. Patients may feel irritation or rashes, and the breast will usually become red and swollen. 


Around 15% of all breast cancers are Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). It is not as easy to treat as other types of breast cancer. Triple-negative means that cancer cells do not have estrogen and progesterone receptors and have a very low level of the HER2 protein. TNBC mostly affects women younger than 40.

5. MBC

Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) refers to Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver, lungs, bones and brain. Cancer cells grow from the breast and spread nearby, causing tumors at new locations. MBC can cause severe swelling and pain in various parts of the body, depending on where it has spread. 

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Depending on the type of cancer and its aggression, a doctor may recommend several different treatments to patients. The most common treatment options are:

  • Surgery (to remove tumors or the entire breast)
  • Radiotherapy (to kill cancer cells using radiation)
  • Chemotherapy (using anti-cancer medicine to kill cancer cells)
  • Hormone treatment (to lower estrogen and progesterone hormones)

Taking Part in Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer awareness aims to spread knowledge about the symptoms of the disease and inform women about the signs they should look out for. Play your part this Pinktober by educating your family, friends and the community around you about the seriousness of the disease.

Health Once Family Medicine takes pride in being a part of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you feel like you or someone you know is experiencing any symptoms of breast cancer, please reach out to us immediately and make an appointment by calling (469)262-5762. You can also visit our website to find out more about what we do.