Breast Cancer – Symptoms, Causes, Stages & Treatments and more.
This article will be discussing about Breast Cancer in Women, Causes of Breast cancer, Symptoms to know you are about having Cancer of the Breast, Prevalence in Breast Cancer, the stages of Breast cancer and also ways in which you may protect yourself from having Cancer of the Breast (Treatment of Breast Cancer).
This article will be very informative, so we urge our dear esteemed readers to get their notepads ready because this article/guide will enlighten them on the Preventive measures to take, also self examinations which they can carry out on their Breast.
To get started, lets know what we mean by the term “Breast Cancer”or “Cancer of the Breast”
What is Breast Cancer?
As Defined by Wikipedia, Cancer of the Breast is that cancer which develops from breast tissue. It is also said to be a malignant tumor (a collection of cancer cells) arising from the cells of the breast. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men, though it is limited.
Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women following Lung Cancer. Signs which may include a lump developing in the breast, a change in shape of the breast, dimpling of the skin, bloody fluid coming from the nipple, a newly inverted nipple change, or a red or scaly patches of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease(s), there may be pains in the bone,lymph nodes being swollen, shortness of breath, or yellowing of the skin.
American Cancer society and the National Cancer Institute estimated:
- Breast Cancer in women between the ages of 35 and above are of more risk than lower ages.
- One in every eight women in the United States develops or are prone to having Cancer of the Breast.
- Over 250,000 new cases of invasive Cancer in the Breast are being diagnosed each year in women and over 2,400 in men;
- approximately 40,610 women and 460 men die each year;
- there are over 3.1 million est. Breast Cancer survivors in the United States.
Causes of Breast Cancer?
There are many risk factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer. Although we know some of these risk factors, we don’t know the cause of breast cancer or how these factors cause the development of a cancer cell.
We know that normal breast cells become cancerous because of mutations occurring in the DNA, and although some of these which may also be inherited. These mutations which are uncontrollable are referred to as Oncogenes and leads to cancer.
Some Risk Factors which are inconclusive like deodorants but which are defined are more clearly causes of Cancer in the Breast are:
- Age/Gender: The chances of breast cancer increase as one gets older between the ages of 40 and above.
- Family history(Inherited): The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have close relatives with the disease. Mom, Sister, Grand mom (some cases) doubles a woman’s risk.
- Gene Mutation: In the United States, BRCA1 or BRCA2 Gene Mutation are more common in Jewish women of Eastern European descent. Having these defective genes doesn’t mean you will get breast cancer, but the risk is higher: A woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer with a BRCA1 gene mutation, for example, may be more like 55% to 65% compared to the average 12%.
- Personal history: Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast increases the risk of cancer developing in the other breast.
- Women which have been diagnosed with certain benign (non-cancerous) breast conditions have an increased risk of breast cancer. These include atypical hyperplasia, a condition in which there is abnormal proliferation of breast cells but no cancer has developed yet.
- Menstruation: Women who started their menstrual cycle at a younger age (before 12) or went through menopause later (after 55) have a slightly increased risk too.
- Tissues in the Breast: Women having dense breast tissue (as documented by mammogram) have a higher risk of having cancer in the breast.
- Race: White women have a higher risk of developing this cancer, but African-American women tend to have more aggressive tumors when they do develop breast cancer.
- Exposure to previous chest radiation or use of diethylstilbestrol increases the risk of breast cancer.
Breast cancers are assigned a stage based on biopsy results plus other findings from blood tests and imaging scans. Staging can help you and your medical team make decisions about appropriate treatment and understand your chances of survival.
These stages which reflect the size of the tumor, whether it is invasive, whether it has reached the lymph nodes (glands that are part of the body’s immune system), and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
During Stage 4, the cancer in the breast has traveled to distant sites in the body, often the bones, liver, brain, or lungs. This is called metastatic cancer in the breast. Although this stage is considered incurable, new treatments allow patients to live more longer with their disease.
Stage 3 Breast cancer is an advanced cancer. It’s in the lymph nodes but has not spread to other organs in the breast. This stage is divided into three categories, 3A, 3B and 3C, based on the size of the tumor and how many they are and which lymph nodes are involved.
At Stage 2, the cancer in the breast is growing but is only in the breast or nearby lymph nodes, it has not spread to other organs. This stage is divided into two categories, 2A and 2B, based on how large the tumor is and whether or not it has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 1 which is an invasive cancer, meaning it is invading healthy breast tissue, but it has not spread outside the breast. This stage has also two categories, 1A and 1B, based on whether there is any evidence of small clusters of breast cancer cells in nearby lymph nodes.
This is the earliest stage in the Breast Cancer, it is called Pre Cancer It involves abnormal cells that have not spread into breast tissue from the ducts or lobules where they began. Stage 0 breast cancer also has not spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Stage 0 is non-invasive, like ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
What are the Treatments of Cancer in the Breast?
Treatment regimens differ widely based on the type of cancer, its stage, its sensitivity to hormones, the patient’s age and health, and other factors. Treatments for men and women are similar.
Surgeries/Radiation Therapy: These are mainstays of breast cancer treatment. These are also known as “local therapies” because they target the tumor without affecting the rest of the body.
With a breast-conserving surgery known as lumpectomy, only the portion of the breast containing cancer is removed. Other Surgical Measures known as mastectomy involves removing the entire breast and possibly some of the surrounding tissue. Lymph nodes will be removed as part of breast cancer surgery or a separate operation.