Everything About Breast Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms, Signs, Stages, Treatment That You Should Know!
Cancer refers to the uncontrollable and anomalous cell division, that leads to the formation of a mass of tissues and tumors. These unnatural growths hinder normal body functions and eventually cause damage to multiple organs. Cancer has a high mortality rate, if not treated in time. However, the initial stages of cancer are not often easy to detect.
Anomalistic and malignant growth in the breast tissues refers to Breast Cancer. Cancer cells can spread to surrounding areas and affect other organs of the body through the process known as metastasis that eventually turns fatal.
Breast cancer affects two out of ten women and older women are at a higher risk of it. Although primarily it affects women after menopause or due to estrogen disorders, it can also affect men. Breast cancer in men, however, is rare, although not unheard of.
Breast cancer develops internally in the lining of milk lobules, slowly forming lumps and spreading to the surrounding areas.
- Masses of tissues that feel like lumps and cysts when touched is one of the first signs of danger
- Change in the normal shape of the breast
- Inverted nipple
- Abnormal nipple discharge or bleeding from the nipples
- Breast skin developing a yellowish hue
- Unnatural dimpling of the breast skin surface
- Swelling or lumps under the armpit
- Indentation and development of patches and marks on the on the breast surface
- Pain in the breasts, usually situated behind the nipples as the cancer is commonly found in the milk ducts. Breast pain is also known as Mastalgia. Breast pain can occur due to a number of reasons which include hormonal changes during menstruation or menopause. However, sharp aches, tingling electric sensations that persist, should be reported to the healthcare expert as soon as possible.
- Scaly nipples accompanied by itchiness and irritation
- In cases of inflammatory breast cancers, the symptoms include excess itchiness and irritation of the skin that cannot be relieved by the use of ointments or lotions.
- Change in breast color is also a warning sign of cancer. Sore and tender breasts are experienced before menstruation but reddening or heating up of the breast surface accompanied by swelling must be immediately
DIAGNOSIS FOR BREAST CANCER
- Self-examination techniques – This includes using the correct method of putting pressure on certain points on the breasts with fingertips to identify any kind of abnormal growth, pain or distortion of the skin.
- Mammograms- Mammograms conducted at regular intervals can help to diagnose breast cancer symptoms. It also helps to identify the first signs of breast cancer.
Ultrasound to identify the growth and presence of any lumps and masses
- Biopsy- It refers to the process of collecting tissue samples from the body and examining under the microscope in the laboratory to identify the presence of cancer cells.
- MRI scanning for breasts for any irregularities
There are a number of treatment options available for breast cancer depend. However, most options depend largely on the stage of cancer which includes the size and spread of the cancer mass.
It also depends upon the age and the physical condition of the patient.
Breast cancer does have a fairly good survival rate and can be cured completely if detected early, preferably by stage 2 of cancer. Stage 4 is considered the most difficult stage to treat.
a) Mastectomy: Removal of the whole breast or both through surgery, is known is Mastectomy. The removal of only the affected masses of tissues is called lumpectomy.
Breast cancer treatment cost in India can start from nearly 6 lakhs and go up to 20 lakhs depending on the medication, cycles of radiation and surgery.
b) Radiation: High energy light radiations are used to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing back
c) Hormone Therapy: Special kinds of drugs are administered to the patients to prevent the ovaries from supplying hormones such as estrogen that can trigger the rapid spread of breast cancer.
d) Targeted Therapy: Targeted radiation therapy is meant only to treat malignant cancer cells and not affecting other healthy cells. This can be used in the initial stages of cancer.
e) Chemotherapy: Powerful high dosage drugs are used for the alleviation of pain, and arresting the growth of cancer cells. The drugs are administered orally or intravenously and come with a lot of side effects such as excessive nausea, complete hair loss, and exhaustion. Chemotherapy weakens the patients greatly and they will need much time to regain strength completely. However, chemotherapy is also a very effective method of treatment.
RISK OF THE DISEASE
Factors that increase the risk of breast cancer are:
- Exposure to pollution
- Unhealthy lifestyle and diet
- Lack of exercise
- Not breastfeeding after childbirth
- Hormonal changes especially after menopause
- Late pregnancy
- Exposure to radiation
- Genetics- History of cancer in the family
- Early menses or early menopause
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
PREVENTION OF BREAST CANCER
- Avoid smoking & cut down on alcohol – Smoking and tobacco are the chief causes of all kinds of cancer. Even passive smoking can lead to severe stages of cancer without realizing. Therefore it is important to discourage people from smoking as well as staying away from smokers.
Heavy drinking or alcohol poisoning leads to organ damage and can lead to abnormal tissue growths that can turn malignant if not treated.
- Protect yourself UV rays, carcinogenic substances, and chemicals- Exposure to the ultra-violet radiations from the sun, noxious chemicals, and vehicular emissions, you increase your chances of developing cancer.
- Diet- Stay away from processed food, artificially flavored food, and packaged items. It is important to cut down on excessive junk and fast food. Your diet must constitute fresh vegetables and fruits. Include vitamins, antioxidants that strengthen immunity and eliminate free radicals.
- Exercise daily and follow a healthy lifestyle- Sleep for at least 8 hours daily, eat in moderation, include light exercises every day in your routine and drink plenty of fluids. Cut down on alcohol and frequent use of birth control pills. It is also advised to start family planning at a suitable age in order to avoid major health complications in the future for both mother and child.
- Get regular diagnosis- Get your regular health check-ups. If you are aware of the risk factors that increase your chances of developing cancer, please do not miss your regular screening and medical examinations.
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