Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. Breast cancer is when there is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the breasts. The Pink Ribbon is the most well known symbol of Breast cancer
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- New lump formed in the breast or underarm.
- Swelling or thickening of the breast(s)
- Dimpling (orange peel skin) of the skin of the breast(s)
- Irritation of the skin of the breast(s)
- Unusual nipple discharge
- Inverted nipples
- Painful sensation on or around the nipple(s)
- Peeling, crusting, scaling, redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast(s)
- Change in shape, size or appearance of the breast(s)
- Pain in any area of the breast(s) or underarm
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS OF BREAST CANCER
There are several causes & risk factors for development of Breast Cancer, some of them are:
- Lifestyle factors, such as stress, less or no exercise, poor diet.
- Environmental factors such as pollution, dust, exposure to radiation.
- Genetic factors, if you have a family history of breast cancer, your chances of developing cancer also increase.
- Increasing age: The older you get, similarly the more chances there are to develop cancer.
- A personal history of breast conditions, or being previously diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Obesity increases your chances of developing cancer.
- Beginning your periods before the age of 12 increases your chances of developing cancer.
- Late menopause onset.
- Exposure to radiation.
- Hormone therapy after a sex change operation or hormonal birth control.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Autoimmune diseases.
- A simple method of checking benign or cancerous tumors is by conducting a breast examination, checking for lumps of abnormalities.
- Mammogram: It is also called a screening. Mammograms are basically an X-ray of your breasts, therefore abnormalities such as lumps, whether benign or cancerous can be detected.
- Breast ultrasound: An ultrasound may be used to determine of the lumps seen or felt are dense solid masses or are fluid filled cysts.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is the only definitive way of confirming cancer. A tissue sample or a lump can be extracted & analyzed for cancerous growth.
- Breast imaging (MRI): By an MRI scan, images are produced where cancerous tumors can be detected.
STAGES OF BREAST CANCER
- 1) Stage 0
- 2) Stage 1
- 3) Stage 2
- 4) Stage 3
- 5) Stage 4
- Lumpectomy: Directed in the case of a small tumor, the surgeon will remove the lump, along with a little of the surrounding healthy tissue.
- Mastectomy: A mastectomy consists of removing the entire breast tissue.
- Sentinel node biopsy: To determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the surgeon will remove some of them, to analyze for cancer cells.
- Axillary lymph node dissection: If cancer is found in sentinel node biopsy, additional lymph nodes are removed.
- Double mastectomy: If cancer is present in only one breast, the patient may choose to remove both breasts, if the patient has an increased risk of cancer or has a family history of breast cancer.
- Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy by using anti-cancer drugs.
- The hormone estrogen is responsible for the growth of cancer cells, therefore targeted drugs that are similar in the structure of estrogen are administered, in order to prevent the binding of estrogen to its receptors. Eg: Tamoxifen.
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF BREAST CANCER
- Lifestyle changes
- Stopping consumption of alcohol & smoking
- Increasing consumption of citrus fruits
- More exercise means lesser chances of cancer.
- Consumption of foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Pre-emptive surgery, involves removal of both the breasts, before cancer or any lumps appear, in people with higher risk of breast cancer.
- Keeping a check on hormonal contraceptive pills.