October, the breast cancer awareness month, also known as the ‘pink month.’ People celebrate breast cancer awareness month across the globe to make them aware of the importance of detection and treatment of breast cancer at an early stage, its occurrence, and how deadly it can be if treated within time.
Breast cancer is widespread these days. This cancer is the primary cause of death in women. However, you will be surprised to know that even men can have breast cancer. Yes, it is true! But this is in sporadic cases; only one percent of men undergo breast cancer.
The earlier detection and treatment of breast cancer can help the woman live up to 5 years or longer than the ones who do not start the treatment within the time.
That is why people celebrate the month of October as breast cancer awareness month so that they get motivated and go for a screening to check whether they have cancer or not. People use pink ribbons as the emblem for awareness of breast cancer. They put it on posters, on top of clothes, bags, etc. That is why October is also known as the ‘pink month.’
Here, in this blog post, we will tell you about the symptoms of breast cancer, how one can catch breast cancer, and much more.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer, a condition in which cancer cells grow abnormally and out of control in the breasts. Breast cancer can occur in one as well as both breasts.
Breast cancer can be fatal as it does not restrict to the breasts but also spreads to other body parts.
Breast cancer can occur in different parts of the breasts. Some are more prevalent, while others are not.
- Ductal cancer – This is the place where breast cancer starts mostly. Ducts are the source that carries the milk to the nipples.
- Phyllodes tumor – Can occur in the stroma or the fat and connecting tissues. These tissues surround the ducts and provide them shape. It is a not very common type of cancer.
- Lobular cancer – Lobular cancer forms in the lobules, the glands responsible for making breast milk.
- Nipples are the opening in the breast from where the baby sucks the milk. The areola is the darker part that surrounds the nipples. A rare type of cancer called Paget disease can develop in this region.
- Angiosarcoma- It is, again, not a very commonly occurring cancer. But it can start in the lining of lymph vessels or blood vessels in the breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer-
Breast cancer symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people do not have any symptoms at all. But still knowing your breast nicely and knowing about these symptoms is highly essential.
Below are the symptoms of breast cancer-
- If your breasts are swelling, it can be a sign of breast cancer.
- If you have some discharge from your nipples, that is not milk but some other liquid.
- If the breast skin turns reddish, peeling around the areola, flaky, or dry.
- Nipples going inwards is also a symptom of breast cancer.
- If the lymph nodes have swelled up, you must check for breast cancer, and this can occur even before the primary tumor formation happens.
- Change in size of the breasts.
- Lumps pop up on the breasts or in the armpit.
Causes of breast cancer
Experts could not find the exact cause of breast cancer, but some risk factors are responsible for the development of breast cancer; they are-
- Gender – Women are more prone to breast cancer. Only in the rarest case do men get breast cancer.
- Genetics- Family history plays a crucial role in the development of breast cancer. If your mother, grandmother, sister, cousins, or maternal or paternal aunt have had breast cancer, it leaves you at up to 10% risk of developing breast cancer.
- Age- The chances of developing breast cancer is much more after the age of 55 years of age.
- Hormonal pills and hormone replacement therapy- People who undergo hormone replacement therapy for more than a year have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Also, consuming hormonal pills increases estrogen levels, eventually increasing the chances of having breast cancer.
- Obesity- Being overweight alter assists in growing breast cancer cells.
- Alcohol and smoking- The more you consume, the more prone you will become to developing breast cancer. And tobacco is a significant cause of causing a lot of cancers, including breast cancer.
- Radiation- Women, especially those below the age of 30, who had radiation therapy in their neck, chest, or breasts have significant chances of being affected by breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Stages-
- Stage 0: In this stage, the cancer cells were detected early and did not spread to healthy tissues.
- Stage 1: The tumor is less than 20 mm during this stage. It may spread (only a little bit) in the nearby area or does not spread at all.
- Stage 2: In this stage, the tumor grows more than 20 mm but does not exceed 50 mm. During this stage, the tumor does spread to lymph nodes but not to the other parts of the body.
- Stage 3: The tumor can spread to multiple lymph nodes during this stage, but the tumor size is not more than 50 mm.
- Stage 4 :is hazardous as cancer spreads to various body parts like bones, liver, or lungs.
Detection of breast cancer-
- Mammogram- It is like an X-ray of the breasts; if they see anything like lumps on the screen, they go for a detailed diagnostic mammogram.
- MRI- Magnetic resonance imaging is a technique that uses magnets linked to the computer system. MRI can give an in-depth picture of the breasts.
- Biopsy- In this method, a tissue of cancer suspected area is tested under a microscope for further testing.
- Ultrasound- A breast ultrasound can use sound waves and make sonograms of the areas inside the breasts.
Breast Cancer Treatment
- Surgery- If the patient is at an early stage, like stage 1, doctors may use surgery to remove the tumors from the body.
- Immunotherapy- It is a relatively new method to treat cancer. It is even beneficial at later stages. In this method, the doctors give medicines to boost the person’s immunity to fight cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy is a method to kill carcinogenic cells, which they might give directly in the veins or through pills.
- Hormonal therapy- This therapy effectively blocks the way of hormones essential for the growth of cancer cells.
- Radiation method- Your doctor might use the radiation method in which they use high-energy rays to kill cancer cells.
So , this Breast Cancer Awareness Month do not hesitate, just go and get a breast screening done to be sure of your health.