ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BREAST CANCER
“One among eight women is at the risk of having breast cancer at some point in her life. ”
This sentence has been wandering around everywhere in the world. The word ‘breast cancer’ has become a scary nightmare for women all around. All the time, they keep worrying if they are also at the risk of getting diagnosed with this disease.
Are you worried too?
Stay with me for a while more. I’ll discuss all the essential things related to breast cancer that you must know.
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
The most simple definition of breast cancer is,
“The abnormal and uncontrollable growth of breast cells. ”
after skin cancer, Breast cancer is the second most common cancer. Also, after lung cancer, it is the disease responsible for most of the cancer deaths.
Breast cancer can begin anywhere in the breast, but mostly the tumor starts to appear from milk-producing glands and ducts.
TYPES OF BREAST CANCER
Some most common types of breast cancer are;
1. Ductal carcinoma
The disease begins in the milk ducts. It is an in situ type. That means it does not spread. If you don’t get the immediate treatment, it may lead to invasion.
2. Lobular carcinoma
The disease includes abnormal growth in milk-producing lobules. It is not actual cancer. Women with this condition are at more risk of developing real cancer. It is also an in situ type.
3. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma
It is the most common type of cancer. The disease begins in milk ducts but later on invades the fatty tissues of the breast. It tends to spread.
4. Invasive lobular carcinoma
It is the case in which cancer from lobules expands and affects the surrounding parts. It has further many subtypes, based on how the tumor looks.
5. Metastatic breast cancer
This condition develops when the disease spreads from the breast and attacks the healthy cells of other organs.
WHO IS AT MORE RISK OF GETTING BREAST CANCER?
You are more likely at the risk of having breast cancer if,
You are a woman, and your age is 40 or above
Someone from your family had this disease in the past.
You had cancer in the past, but you recover from it.
You are a white woman (The ratio is less in Asian and African women)
Stats show that women from Belgium had the highest rate of a breast cancer diagnosis.
SIGN AND SYMPTOMS
If you observe the following symptoms, just go and hurry to the doctor.
Change in breast shape or size.
A thick area or lump in breast or armpit (especially when it continue to appear during menses)
Changes in the anatomy of your nipple.
Change in skin color or texture of the breast.
However, you must not forget that,
Most of the lumps are benign.
Cancerous lumps are not painful.
There is no appearance of any sign, in most of the cases.
CAUSES OF BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer can come out of nowhere. You may not feel any sign or symptom before diagnosis.
Breast cancer is the result of DNA mutation. These mutated cells grow abnormally and lead to the formation of a tumor.
The following are some common risk factors for breast cancer.
Age and gender
A breast cancer diagnosis is infrequent in men. It occurs 100 times more in women. The women that are 50 or above are at more risk. Younger women can also get it, but it is less common before 40 years.
If someone from your family had this disease, then you must be more careful. The inheritance of genetic mutations (especially in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes) double your risk.
Women with barren wombs or those who get pregnant at a very late age have increased risk. As a preventive measure, they must practice breastfeeding.
Weight gain, especially in older women (after menopause), increases the estrogen level. This high estrogen level puts them on more higher risk.
Breast density and menstrual history
Women with dense breasts (having more glandular and fibrous tissues) have a higher chance. Also, women who start menstruating at an early age (before 11) are at more risk. The reason is their more exposure to progesterone and estrogen. These are the hormones produced during the menstrual cycle.
Exercising regularly and reducing alcohol consumption can lower the risk.
Birth control pills
Contraceptives increase your risk of getting breast cancer.
Following practices can decrease your risk of getting breast cancer.
Frequent check-ups can help in early diagnosis. After the age of 40, start getting mammogram screening every year.
Hormone replacement therapy for women facing menopause increases the risk of getting breast cancer.
Prohibit the use of contraceptives.
With the suggestion of doctor use drugs which block the effect of estrogen.
Maintain your weight.
Don’t use alcohol.
SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
1. Mammograms are harmful
This statement is a massive misconception that getting mammograms will increase your risk of getting cancer. Although during a mammogram, your body gets exposed to some of the radiation, it is the best way of testing. There is no harm in it.
2. Only women with a family history are at risk.
Don’t fool yourself by believing this. Women with a family history are indeed at more risk. But more than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
3. All lumps are cancerous
Felt a hard mass during breast examination? No need to panic!
Most of the lumps are non-cancerous. However, I will suggest discussing the changes with your doctor.
4. Breast pain is a sign of breast cancer
This myth is not valid. Breast pain is a common thing that almost every woman experience in some part of life. The reason is some hormonal changes. So don’t worry about this.
5. Drinking coffee increase the risk
There is no validity in this statement. Caffeine has nothing to do with the development of cancerous cells. Research shows, caffeine tends to lower the risk.