What is breast cancer? Like all other parts of the body, the breast has tissues. In breast cancer, malignant cells form in the tissues, which mostly begin in milk-producing ducts. When these cells(malignant cells) begin to grow in an unlimited number, Breast cancer is caused.
Among all types of cancers, breast cancer is the leading cause of death in females. Every 10th woman is at risk to develop breast cancer. It is becoming a very common disease nowadays.
Although breast cancer is more common in females, 1.3 % of males out of 1 lac (i-e 131 people among males out of 100,000) can have breast cancer too 20 out of 100,000 ladies (females) can die due to breast cancer
What can be done for Breast cancer:
We can increase the survival rate of this disease by better understanding and knowledge of this disease i-e number of deaths associated with this disease can be decreased largely through;
When ladies are aware of this disease, and if you can detect it early, the death rate due to breast cancer can be decreased. Adequate facilities are needed as well to treat this disease. There is a good chance that with early diagnosis and adequate treatment, breast cancer can be cured completely.
What are the signs and symptoms of Breast cancer:
How ladies can get idea that they are or suspected of Breast cancer?
- Breast cancer usually appears/shown as a Lump or a thickening
- Usually, breast size, shape, appearance changes.
- The skin on that lump appears “reddish” and orange peel-like appearance (picking) called “orange peel appearance”.
- Nipple inversion
- Some pain experience ( patient may feel pain)
Why it is important to consult a Doctor?
It is necessary to consult a doctor, as soon as you feel or sees any change in breast i-e its skin, size, or appearance.
What is the Diagnosis of breast cancer?
How breast cancer will be diagnosed after consulting a Doctor?
The doctor will take a detailed history from you. After that Physical examination of both, the breasts along with armpits will be done.
- A special kind of X-ray called a Mammogram will be done. Mammogram has the ability to pick any kind of lump etc.
- Breast Ultrasound is another technique used to detect breast cancer. Breast ultrasound gives very good results. Differentiation of lump, mass, or cyst can be detected.
- The third way to diagnose breast cancer is through Biopsy in which a pathologist takes out a smaller piece of the lump by True-Cut, which is tested later on.
- The fourth way to detect breast cancer is by using the MRI technique. MRI gives very good information regarding the detection of breast cancer.
Why females are affected by breast cancer disease?
A breast cancer risk factor is anything that makes it more likely that you will get breast cancer. Some risk factors make a lady vulnerable to get this disease. These risk factors are;
The biggest risk is “being a female” itself as the percentage of women affected with breast cancer is around 136% out of 100,000. This percentage is very less in men
The risk for breast cancer increases with increasing age i-e as your age increases, this risk factor also increases.
The more you are gaining weight, the more hormonal changes appear in your body. Obesity is a very big reason for having breast cancer.
Puberty (is the time in a child’s life when he/she becomes sexually mature) at a younger age is a big contributing factor, which increases the chances of developing breast cancer. More early a girl got her periods, the more risk for breast cancer is there.
As the menopause gets late, there is more chance to get affected with breast cancer i-e a woman who experiences menopause after the age of 55 years has an increased risk of breast cancer.
The risk of developing breast cancer decreases if a woman commences menopause at the age of 40-45 years of age.
The theory behind developing breast cancer due to late menopause and early puberty is the long exposure of a woman with Estrogen, which increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
Family history is a very important factor too. If your mother, sister, daughter has a breast cancer history then you are at high risk to get breast cancer at any stage of life.
There are some genes related to breast cancer, which gets inherited i-e BRCA 1, BRCA 2. The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is the mutation in these two genes.
In normal conditions these genes help in making proteins, that repair damaged DNA.
There are some pre-cancerous conditions as well which act as a contributing factor to develop breast cancer. These conditions are carcinoma in situ, LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ), Atypical hyperplasia of the breast. They can become cancerous at any stage of life.
If a woman is suffering from breast cancer in one breast, there is a high chance that she will get cancer in his/her the second breast too. So ladies have to be very careful.
In your childhood, if you got radiation exposure due to any reason, then you are at a high to get breast cancer.
Prevention of breast cancer:
According to WHO (world health organization), 30-50% of cancers are preventable. So breast cancer has a high prevention rate.
The biggest prevention for Average risk lady (patient) is “Breast Cancer Screening”.
How important is self examination:
You should examine your breast yourself on a preliminary basis. You will be able to see any change in the size of the breast, any change in nipples, etc. If you feel any change, you better consult a doctor on an urgent basis.
A doctor will teach you the right method of self-examination. You can also see visually the true way of self examination technique for breast cancer on the internet or on youtube.
If you go to a doctor, he/she will do an examination of your breast his/herself and also with the help of a mammogram and breast ultrasound, with the help of which a doctor can diagnose breast cancer.
Make exercise as part of your routine. Do exercise at least 30 minutes a day. It will prevent you from many diseases, including breast cancer.
Take healthy good diet:
Take a healthy diet which includes fruits and vegetables. nuts, olive oil, white meat (fish) instead of red meat.
If you are on HRT therapy, use medicine in very less dose as possible.
Stay away from alcohol strictly.
Those who have a family history or any precancerous condition should be in touch with the doctor. Use chemoprevention i-e chemotherapy or estrogen-blocking medication. This will help in decreasing the ratio of high-risk patients.
Breast awareness may not prevent breast cancer, but it may help to better understand the normal changes and identify any unusual signs and symptoms timely and catch the disease when it is more treatable.
Patients are experiencing better outcomes by early detection of disease. The OCTOBER month is specially designated to aware people of breast cancer disease.