Breast Cancer – Losing Is No More An Option!
The mere mention of the word 'cancer' can strike fear in the minds of people. However, medical science has advanced considerably and nowadays, due to the early detection of cancer, it can be successfully controlled and treated. Among women, breast cancer is the most active form of cancer worldwide.
Breast Cancer Definition
The formation of cancerous cells in the breast tissue is called breast cancer. Although breast cancer can develop in both men as well as women, it is much more common in women. Modern cancer research foundations and funding have helped in spreading awareness about the disease. The good news is that the chances of survival have increased drastically. This is mainly due to early detection, advanced treatment facilities, and a clearer understanding of cancer.
Breast Cancer Causes and Symptoms
Major factors that can cause a trigger for breast cancer include:
- Age factor
- Family history of the disease
- Genetic factors that may increase the risk
- Exposure to radiation
- A personal history that hints at breast-related illnesses
- A personal past or history of breast cancer
- Menstruating before the age of twelve
- Having your first-born child after the age of 30
- Never experienced pregnancy
- Post-menopausal hormone therapy
- Alcohol consumption
Red alert symptoms of breast cancer include:
- An abnormal breast lump formation or a strange thickening of the surrounding breast tissue
- Sudden change in the appearance (size and shape) of a breast
- Dimpling of the skin of the breast
- A new development in the breast such as inverted nipple
- Scaling or peeling of the skin area that surrounds the aureola
- Pitting of the breast skin (appearing like an orange skin texture)
Breast Cancer Stages and Symptoms
Breast cancer stages are numbered from stage 0 to 4 as defined by the National Cancer Institute.
- Stage 0 – This is considered as a first warning sign with abnormal cells found in the breast area. However, at this stage, these cells have not spread and turned cancerous as yet.
- Stage 1 – It is an early stage and the tumor size may be very small around 2 centimeters. But, there can be the presence of tiny clusters of cancerous cells in the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2 – In this stage, cancer starts to extend and spread. There may be multiple lymph nodes. The tumor starts to grow and gets bigger than 2 centimeters.
- Stage 3 – It is an advanced breast cancer stage. In this stage, cancer has spread all over the chest and there are many lymph nodes. Cancer also affects the breast skin causing the skin to break into ulcers.
- Stage 4 – It is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It is also termed as metastatic breast cancer. Sadly at this stage, cancer has spread to all other areas of the body and is almost incurable. It has invaded most of the vital body organs such as the brain and the lungs.
Types of Breast Cancer
- Ductal Carcinoma
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Inflammatory breast cancerous
- Metastatic breast cancer
Breast Cancer Causes and Prevention
The prevention of any type of cancer starts with adopting healthy habits and making positive lifestyle changes. According to research, women can decrease their chances of developing breast cancer by limiting alcohol intake, avoiding smoking, staying fit, being active, breast-feeding their babies, limiting their dosages of hormonal therapy, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation and environmental pollutants.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
There are many kinds of diagnostic test for breast cancer. The doctor may check your breasts and lymph nodes to detect any abnormal features or lumps. The cancer specialist can also ask you to get a mammogram done that is similar to an X-ray used to screen women for breast cancer.
There are other tests such as breast ultrasound that uses sound waves to replicate images of structures inside your body. It can also help to detect the formation of a new breast lump and its type. An oncologist can conduct a biopsy testing by using a needle device to extract a tissue from an area that has some abnormality. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging machine can also help detect breast cancer by using a magnet and advanced radio waves to draw pictures of the breast interior areas.
Treatment for Breast Cancer
The oncologist may suggest breast cancer treatment based on its stage, grade, size and type of breast cancer. The treatment is also determined on whether the cancerous cells are sensitive to hormonal changes. Similarly, the remedial procedure depends on the patients' overall health and medical preferences. Most of the patients have to undergo surgery to remove the lumps that is followed by chemotherapy, radiation or hormone treatment.
What are the early signs of breast cancer?
Invasive breast cancer may include some noticeable signs like lump formation in the breast, swelling of a part of the breast or the entire breast, skin irritation in the breast area, nipple pain, retraction of the nipple, breast skin starts to become red and scaly, and nipple discharge.
How does breast cancer start?
Breast cancer starts to develop when a few breast cells show abnormal growth. These cells metastasize to the lymph nodes and various parts of the body. Cancer begins mostly within the duct cells that produce milk.
How long does it take breast cancer to develop?
Every cancer division is said to take about one to two months. Thus, when you feel a swelling or a cancerous lump in the breast, the disease has resided in your body from the past two to four years.
What is breast cancer pain like?
The pain can alternate between being extremely painful and hard to touch or being painless and soft. Some patients are known to have soft movable lumps in the beginning stage.
Who is most likely to get breast cancer?
Doctors feel that as you grow older, greater is the chance of developing cancerous cells in the breast area. According to a statistical report, almost 75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are above the age of 50 years and only 1% of women are under the age of 30 years.
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