Is armpit cancer a real thing? Sort of. More accurately, it would be known as axillary lymph node cancer. The term " axilla" refers to the underarm area of the body as shown below:
This area is home to a set of lymph nodes that drain out the chest and breast region. Think of the swollen "glands" you often get in your neck when you're sick. Those are often swollen lymph nodes that have enlarged as a result of your body fighting off the illness. The lymph nodes in the rest of your body do the same things.
We often think of anything cancer related as being tumors and while that is ultimately true, just because you found a lump in your armpit, it does not automatically mean you have "armpit cancer".
Some other potential reasons for a lump in the armpit may be:
- bacterial or viral infections
- lipomas (harmless fat tissue growths)
- a fibroadenoma (noncancerous fibrous tissue growth)
- allergic reactions
- adverse reactions to vaccinations
- fungal infections
Each one of these has it's own concerns attached to it and should be evaluated by a physician.
Lumps in the armpit can occur to both men and women of all ages. Generally speaking, lumps near the armpit are more concerning in women than in men due to the increased risk of breast cancer in women. Because women have about 100x more breast tissue than men, their risk of developing breast cancer is 100x greater. That is not to say that men cannot develop breast cancer, they can but rather that lumps in the armpits of men are more commonly due to other non-cancerous issues.
In diagnosing lumps of the armpit, it is absolutely critical that a physician makes a thorough physical examination of the lump and then decides the course of action required. This can involve further testing to rule out infections, allergic reactions and cancer. Testing can involve blood tests, x-ray's, mammogram, biopsy and allergy testing.
You may be asking what you can do to prevent lumps in the armpit and in particular, axillary lymph node/breast cancer in the first place.
Although the evidence is not definitive, there have been some studies linking some of the chemicals in our personal care products to breast cancer. Two of these ingredients are parabens and aluminum.
Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in food and personal care products. They are absorbed through the skin. The concern over parabens is that they have weak, estrogen like properties and although they are much less potent than real estrogen, a very small study showed that parabens were found in 18 out of 20 breast cancer tumors collected.
Aluminum, the most prevalent mineral in the Earth's crust is used in commercial antiperspirants to block sweat pores of the body. Aluminum is a neurotoxin and has been linked to Alzheimer's disease in humans. It has also been shown to effect changes in estrogen receptors in the breast and thus the link to breast cancer.
Again, the evidence on these two ingredients is still far from being definitive but, for those that are of the health conscious variety - and because you're reading this, you probably are, there are ways to avoid exposure to these potential risks. An easy way to reduce risk is to become more vigilant over the ingredients of the products you use. Examining labels and choosing products that don't contain chemicals is by far the easiest place to start.
Natural deodorants that have all natural ingredients in them. Natural deodorant can be just as effective as commercial deodorant only with the benefit of peace of mind over the product your subjecting yourself to on a daily basis. Products such as Green Theory Probiotic Deodorant use probiotics to keep you smelling fresh all day while also including bentonite clay to actually detoxify the body. It's a small step in reducing the risk of breast cancer, lumps in the armpit and a variety of other health concerns.