What Is Breast cancer?
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast begin to grow rapidly. These cells usually come together to form a tumor which is felt as a lump or can be seen using x-ray. Cancer of the breast occurs mostly in women but sometimes men can come down with it too. Cancer can develop on any part of the body as long as there are cells in that area and it can also spread to other areas.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in both the UK and America, one in every eight women in both the UK and America develop breast cancer.
This disease affects mostly women but its very possible that men are likely to come down with this type of disease.
Breast cancer comes with a symptom such as a lump although lump is not the only symptom. Some other symptoms include;
- Lump in the breast or armpit
- Breast pain or sore nipple
- Bloody discharge from the nipple
- Change in nipple and breast size.
Breast cancer is best treated at early diagnose, that’s why is really important for women to check their breast regularly and report any usually changes to their doctor.
Research has shown that breast cancer is caused by a combination of lots of different factors, although the basic causes of breast cancer still remain unknown, there is a lot of risk factor that could come in play to prompt this disease. Some of this risk factor can be modified while others cannot be controlled. It is important that we discuss those risk factors.
Breast cancer Causes
Although the main cause of breast cancer remains unclear, the major risk factors are very clear. Doctors know that cancer of the breast begins with the abnormally rapid growth of breast cells, these cells grow very rapidly by dividing itself and then multiplying forming a lump or mass.
Cancer of the breast begins mostly with cells in the invasive ductal carcinoma(the milk-producing duct), It may also begin in the glandular tissue called the lobules.
Most women who are considered to have high-risk end up not having cancer of the breast while those with low-risk factor sometimes come down with cancer of the breast.
The link between hormones and cancer of the breast is very clear. A woman whos being exposed to hormone estrogen is likely to have cancer of the breast. Estrogen helps the cells to divide which aids rapid growth and can lead to cancer.
The link between diet and cancer of the breast is debatable, obesity is a great risk factor, so is the high intake of alcohol. Research has shown that women with a high-fat diet are more likely to get cancer while those with less fat diet have 20-30% chances of protection from cancer of the breast.
Risk factors for breast cancer
your chances of coming down with breast cancer increases as you get older.
women who begin their menstrual cycle before the age of 12 have increased the risk
women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer
African-American women have fewer chances of coming down with breast cancer while white women have high chances of coming down with it.
exposure of chest to radiation or the use of diethylstilbestrol increases your risk.
alcohol is another great risk factor, intense intake of alcohol increases your chances of breast cancer
what are the 4 types of breast cancer?
Adenoid cystic carcinoma:
They are cancers with both cystic and glandular features. Their spreading rate tends to be less aggressive and the posses good prognosis
Ductal carcinoma in situ:
Ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common type of noninvasive cancer they usually have a very high cure rate because they do not spread
Invasive lobular carcinoma:
This begins at the gland the produces breast milk, 10% of invasive cancers in the breast are invasive lobular carcinoma
Invasive ductal carcinoma:
About 80% of invasive cancer of the breast is ductal carcinoma.
This type of cancer is the most common form of cancer of the breast, it begins in the duct of the breast and grows into its surrounding tissues.
Inflammatory cancer of the breast:
In this type of cancer, the breast looks reddish and feels warm.
These occur as a result of the blockage of lymph vessels by cancer cells.
Triple negative cancer of the breast:
These type of cancer tends to affect mostly younger women and African-American women, they are the subtype of invasive cancer with the cell that lacks progesterone and estrogen receptors and has no specific protein on their surface.
Lobular carcinoma in situ:
This is not particularly a type of cancer but an abnormal area of cell growth which can lead to invasive cancer of the breast later on in life.
Pagets disease of the nipple:
This type of cancer begins in the duct of the breast and spreads through the nipple and then to the areas surrounding it. It usually identifies itself with redness and crusting around the area of the nipple.
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This is an infiltrating cancer of the breast that deals with well-defined boundaries between non-cancerous cells and cancerous cells.
Diagnostic testing for breast cancer
Although cancer of the breast can be diagnosed using the above signs and symptoms, the use of screening ha mad it possible for cancer to be detected long before the symptoms begin to manifest. To that effect, the American cancer society has recommended the following screening for cancer of the breast.
The choice screening for women between the ages of 40-44 should be annually, and women between the ages of 45 and above should have a mammogram screening every year until the clock 54 of age.
Women at the age of 54 and above should have biennial screening and also as long as their overall health is concerned, mammography screening should be conducted at least once or twice a year.
Mammograms are one of the best tools for cancer of the breast screening but it has its own limitations and sometimes misses some cancer. it’s best to discuss the screening result and symptoms with healthcare personnel.
The ACS does not recommend clinic screening for women at any age, women with high-risk factors should get am MRI and mammogram at least once every year. Women with moderate risk should take to their doctors about adding MRI to their mammogram.
How can you prevent Breast cancer?
It’s no news that the American cancer society(ACS) is now advising women to get screened less often using mammography screening.
Aside from using diagnostic tools like mammograms to detect cancer of the breast, there are other ways to also help prevent cancer of the breast.
The basic risk factors like age, sex, race or family history cannot be controlled, but there several ways in which you can prevent cancer of the breast. They include;
Loose body fat
Losing body fat may be an effective way to protect yourself from breast cancer, fat itself is a great risk factor which tends to accumulate after menopause. In a research carried out in JAMA oncology, results show that aerobic exercise helps to reduce fat in postmenopausal women.
In order to lose weight, lessen your intake of caloric or you can as will burn them. This can be achieved by pacing your self on a diet or by regular exercising. Watching your diet incorporated with regular exercises give you the great result as well as reduces the sex hormone associated with cancer of the breast.
Less alcohol intake
Heavy intake of alcohol is another great risk factor to breast cancer, in other words, the more you drink the greater your chances of having cancer of the breast.
Imbibers face a 28% risk, so you need to cut back on your intake a little bit if you want to prevent breast cancer.
Research has shown curbing alcohol for women who have survived one bout of breast cancer reduces its risk of recurrence.
Tobacco has multiple connections to various types of cancers and breast cancer is no different. Research carried out in 2015 by the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that women who smoke face greater risk of breast cancer. The risk is greater for women who start smoking before their first pregnancy.
Eat more plant and less meat
Fruits and veggies have proven to be the basic essentials for healthy living, it is wise to eat more of veggies and fruits.
Flavonoids( a pigment found in plants) have anti-cancer properties and people who consume them have reduced risk 0f breast cancer.
The basic foods which contain the subtype of flavonoid called flavonols and flavones include;
Onions, black tea, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, coffee, broccoli, celery, lettuce, eggplant etc.
Note: in the above list I mentioned black tea, but not green tea. They both come from the same plant but have different processing. According to research, green flavonoids helps to protect against breaks cancer.
Why not eat meat:
Studies have linked processed meat to cancer, processed meat such as hot dogs, bologna, ham, bacon etc causes colorectal cancer and red meat which includes beef, lamb and goat have been classified as probably carcinogenic.
Get lots of exercises.
Engaging in physical activities has great health benefits and also reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Research has shown that women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer that engages in a regular exercise program have improved both in both mental and physical health.
There are simple exercises which you can engage in and they include;
Swimming, cycling, tennis, brisk walking, dancing etc.
Exercise 30 minutes for at least four days a week, the target should be around three hundred minutes per week.
Lab investication for breast cancer
There has been a lot of treatments for breast cancer which mostly depends on the type and stage of cancer. The basic treatment modalities used in the treatment of breast cancer include;
Surgery has proven itself an effective way for the treatment of breast cancer. There are basically two surgical therapies for treating cancer of the breast they include;
Mastectomy and breast-conserving surgery.
In this surgical process involves removing all the breast tissues. Perfoming a skin-sparing mastectomy is neccessary if the need for immediate reconstruction arises. Removing the breast tissue completely but preserving the overlying skin.
In this surgical process, the axillary lymph nodes are removed as well as the chest wall muscles.in most cases, a modified radical mastectomy is more effective.
Modified radical mastectomy
In this surgical process, the breast tissues are removed alongside the axillary lymph nodes. Sometimes a choice is given between a lumpectomy and mastectomy depending on the stage of cancer. Lumpectomy allows sparing of the breast and radiation therapy is required afterward.
Removal of the breast may be an option especially in patients whose risk of breast cancer is very high. Although this process reduces risk, there is a small chance for cancer to remain.
In this surgical process involves removal of part of the breast, this process is a partial mastectomy. The location of the tumor determines the extent of the surgery.
Cancer cells are destroyed with high energy rays, this process is referred to as radiation therapy. There are two ways in which this process can b carried out
External beam radiation
This process involves focusing a beam of radiation on the affected area.
This involves the treatment of cancers with medications usually injected into the bloodstream to the cancer cells.
This involves the delivery of radiation through radioactive seeds, they insert the seeds in the breast next to cancer instead of using radiation beams.
Once you start noticing that symptom please ensure to fix a doctor appointment and know how to start treating it.
It is better to be safe than sorry.