Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops out of breast cells. The inception of breast cancer has been found to occur in the inner lining of the milk ducts in the breasts, or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Such lethal tumour can also spread to other parts of the affected person’s body. In this article, we have come with some of the lethal information about this painful disease. All of you must go through it carefully.
Breast Cancer Information and Facts
All across the world, breast cancer has been found to be the most invasive cancer in females. Numbers show that out of all female cancers, breast cancer accounts for 16% out of them. 18.2% of all the cancer-related deaths in the world are from breast cancer. Breast cancer in males is a rare phenomenon and is mostly reported in men aged over 65 years.
What causes Breast Cancer?
In females, every breast consists of fat, connective tissues and many lobules. The milk goes through tiny ducts, also known as tubes, and is delivered through the nipple. The breast also consists of millions of microscopic cells. Like every other cell in our body, these cells multiply time and again to replace new ones with old dead cells. In a cancerous situation, this multiplication is compounded many times, with the production of too many cells, much more than there should be. It is hard to say why one woman develops breast cancer while another woman does not. However, there are certain causes that lead to this cancer:
- Successive Ageing: Age is a significant factor in the case of breast cancer. The cancer is more commonly found in women with age more than 50 years.
- Genetics: Woman having a close relative in the family who has or had breast or ovarian cancer is at a high risk of developing cancer themselves.
- History of Breast Cancer: Women who have had breast cancer in the past are at a risk of developing it again.
- Dense Breast Tissue: Women with a denser breast tissue stand a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Estrogens Exposure: Women with an unusual timing of periods are likely to have a high risk of developing breast cancer as they are exposed to estrogens levels for a longer period.
- Obesity: The high level of estrogens in obese women makes them vulnerable to cancer.
- Radiation Exposure: Women who undergo X-rays or CT-scans are susceptible to a risk of developing breast cancer owing to exposure to radiation.
- Cosmetic Implants: Do breast implants cause breast cancer? It is not clear yet, but women who get the breast implants done and further develop breast cancer have a high risk of dying a premature death as compared to other women.
Causes of Breast Cancer in Males
A number of risk factors can aid the development of cancerous cells in the male breast. In most of the cases, it has been found that the cell membranes of breast cells have estrogens receptors that allow estrogens molecules to bind themselves to cancer cells. Cell growth and multiplication are stimulated as a result of this binding. Mutated genes and family history can also lead to breast cancer in men. If you were wondering can boys get breast cancer, then here is your answer, that yes men too might be exposed to breast cancer. However till date, only a few cases of breast cancers have been reported in men aged below 60 years.
Breast Cancer Types
Breast cancer can take the shape of two types depending on its genesis. Cancer that originates in the lobules is known as lobular carcinoma while the one that originates in the ducts is known as ductal carcinoma. Ductal carcinoma, cancer of the milk ducts has been found to be the most common type of breast cancer. Lobular breast cancer is much less common.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
When it comes to breast cancer symptoms, only the patient himself can detect and bring these symptoms to another’s notice. Usually, the first symptoms of breast cancer can be identified with an area of thickened tissue in the breast, more like a lump. Other than this, pain in the armpits or the breast that is not related to menstrual pain, reddening of the breast and skin texture like an orange skin, rashes on the nipple, swelling of the armpits, discharge from nipples; even blood, changes in the appearance of the nipple, changes in the size and shape of the breast or flaking or peeling of skin from the nipple or the breast, can be symptoms of breast cancer and should be brought to a doctor’s notice immediately.
These are the early signs of breast cancer like breast cancer lumps, and if detected early, can save one’s life. Men breast cancer symptoms display similar behaviour. Most commonly a lump in the breast is observed in the case of cancer from breast cancer. The other symptoms that may point towards the issue are nipple retraction, ulceration, and discharge from nipples. In the case where cancer has accelerated, additional symptoms might be breast pain, bone pain, swelling of the lymph nodes and impotency. Breast cancer early detection can save a person from a fatal death.
How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
Breast cancer is often detected only after the appearance of one or more symptoms of cancer. However, in some cases of early breast cancer, the symptoms might not manifest themselves and detection may be impossible. This is why it is recommended to get regular screening tests done to detect cancer at an early stage. Diagnosis can be done through a breast exam by a physician, X-ray (mammogram), 2D combined with 3D mammograms, breast ultrasound, biopsy and breast MRI.
Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
Treatment for breast cancer in women will involve treatment from a team of specialists including an oncologist, radiologist, specialist cancer surgeon, pathologist, radiographer and reconstructive surgeon. They will analyse the various parameters of the patient’s health and present condition before deciding on a course of treatment. Breast cancer treatment options mainly include the following:
- Surgery: Surgery can be carried out in the following ways:
- Lumpectomy: The breast-sparing surgery, it aims at removal of the tumour and a mall region of tissues around it.
- Mastectomy: Surgical removal of the breast. It can be simple mastectomy or radical mastectomy.
- Sentinel Node Biopsy: Surgical removal of one lymph node.
- Radiation Therapy: It involves controlled doses of radiation to target the tumour and destroy the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Using medicines to kill off the cancer cells using cytotoxic drugs. It is mostly recommended in cases where chances of recurrence are more. Chemotherapy side effects breast cancer cases include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss and high susceptibility to infections.
In the case of males, surgery is usually the first treatment option. In cases where there are estrogens receptors on the walls of cancerous cells, and estrogens hormone therapy may be used by the doctor. Chemotherapy also remains an option after surgery.
In cases of triple-negative breast cancer, where your pathology report tests negative for estrogens receptors, progesterone receptors, and HER2, triple negative breast cancer treatment involves a combination of therapies such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Metastatic breast cancer or the Stage 4 cancer means that cancer has spread to other body parts. The spreading of cancer begins with cancer cells invading the nearby healthy cells and their penetration into the lymph system. From this point, they migrate through circulation and cancer cells get lodged into capillaries. This leads to the development of new tumour cells. It can be detected through various symptoms and the treatment proceeds the same way as listed above.
Precautions to take while Suffering from Breast Cancer
While a patient is suffering from breast cancer, they can take small precautions to ensure that their treatment continues in the right way without any obstacles. A patient should be given a nutritious diet along with some exercise. Any possible side effects of the treatment should be taken care of. A patient should frankly discuss symptoms and issues with their physician.
Breast cancer research and treatment has led to the advancement and development of newer and improved methods of breast cancer treatment. If you were wondering can breast cancer be cured then you should know that it is possible with medications and medical procedures.
A new breast cancer blood test is in breast cancer news, which gives precise results by up to 80%, and can detect breast cancer five years before it occurs. This blood test is a significant development over the conventional mammography tests.
Breast Cancer Fundraising
There are many organisations that run fundraising events to support breast cancer patients. There are many support events, fund raising events, Volunteer opportunities that are a part of these events. These events provide support to many patients. There are many ways in which people can become a part of these events.
There are some lifestyle changes that can be adopted by people to avoid being diagnosed with breast cancer such as reducing alcohol consumption, indulging in physical exercise, improving diet, maintaining body weight, breastfeeding and getting regular breast cancer screening done to detect early symptoms. The journey is tough but not impossible.