Everything to Know about Breast Cancer: Causes & Treatment
Today, more and more women are becoming conscious of their health and actively screening for diseases. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. One in every nine women is diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. And there are many things you probably don’t know about breast cancer that can help you protect yourself against it.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally and start to spread to other areas of the body. Cancerous cells can spread throughout the body because blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. This article will help you understand all you need to know about this disease and its risk factors so that you can take precautionary steps as early as possible.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally and spread to other areas of the body. It can affect either women or men, and treatment can depend on the cancer stage. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and occurs when some of the breast cells begin to grow and multiply abnormally. These abnormal cells can form lumps or change the appearance of the breast. Breast cancer can also occur in men, but it is extremely rare.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a painless lump, thickening of the breast, change in the size of the breast, change in the texture of the breast, change in the nipple, dimpling of the breast, redness of the skin, discharge from the nipple, and swelling of the armpit.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, thickening of the breast, change in the size of the breast, change in the texture of the breast, change in the nipple, redness of the skin, and discharge from the nipple.
These are the warning signs that you should pay attention to. However, these symptoms do not always mean that breast cancer has already developed. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
The Stages of Breast Cancer
There are several ways to describe the stages of breast cancer. One method is to describe the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or not — Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III. Another method is to describe the extent of the cells — Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III.
The main difference between these two methods is that the stage of the tumor describes where the cancer is, while the extent of the cells describes how many cells are present. Staging can help predict the recurrence of breast cancer and guide treatment decisions. These methods of staging breast cancer are commonly used in clinical practice and include the following:
- Stage I Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer is on the edge of the breast and has no spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage II Breast Cancer: There is a spread to the edge of the breast and to the lymph nodes.
- Stage III Breast Cancer is spread to other body parts such as the bone, liver, or lungs.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
- Age: Women over 50 have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Family History: Women who are first-degree relatives of those who have had breast cancer are more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Genetic Factors: Breast cancer is more common in women who have the BRCA1 gene mutation or the BRCA2 gene mutation.
- Excessive use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Women who have used HRT a lot are more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Obesity: Obese women have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Diet: A diet low in nutrients can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Excessive Alcohol Use: Women who consume excessive alcohol have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
After a thorough breast examination, the doctor may request one or more tests to confirm a breast cancer diagnosis. These tests may include imaging tests, biopsies, and blood tests. Imaging tests are used to examine the breast and may be used to find tumors in the breast. A biopsy removes tissue from the breast using a needle or surgery.
Biopsies are used to identify the type and extent of cancer in the breast. Blood tests monitor the level of certain breast cancer proteins in the blood. They may also be used to help determine which treatment is best for you.
Treatment for Breast Cancer
The treatment for breast cancer depends on the stage at which it is diagnosed. The treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or a combination of these. A lumpectomy or mastectomy may be done to remove the tumor.
Chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy may be used to kill the remaining cancer cells. The goal of treatment is to remove cancer while preserving as much healthy breast tissue as possible. Research shows that a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help improve outcomes when dealing with cancer.
Breast cancer can be treated successfully, but it is important to take precautionary steps as early as possible to know the risk factors. If you notice any changes in your breast, visit your doctor. With early detection, you can increase your chances of surviving breast cancer.