Cancer is the deadliest of all diseases, millions of people around the globe suffer and die from it. One of the most common cancers of women is breast cancer. Here, we will discuss everything regarding breast cancer in this article.
What is Breast Cancer?
Cancer can be defined as the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of tissues in a specific area, which increases rapidly and affects nearby areas quickly. When the cell division occurs too fast in the beast, we call it breast cancer.
There can be many reasons behind the availability of cancer cells in the breast. the cells multiply within the milk duct, affecting the milk-producing lobules. Once the cells become cancerous, the disease spreads to nearby healthy tissues.
Initially, the cancer causes no problem and shows no sign, But as time passes by, a lump is felt in the breast. The growth and division of the cells create tumors inside the breast, which are felt as a lump. If not treated, the tumor grows, showing some external signs on the skin. In advanced stages, the cancer spreads to the nearby organs.
Breast cancer is not a life-taking cancer. It can be treated with simple surgeries in the early stages. Even at the late stages, the cancer can be corrected by removing the cancer cells and proper treatments. But, when the cancer is spread through the lymph node, it becomes fatal.
What are the types of breast cancer?
There are many types and subtypes of breast cancer. Here are the details on them:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma:
The most common type of breast cancer is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Here, the origin of the cancer is milk ducts.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ:
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is the early stage of breast cancer. the cancer cells are found in the epithelial lining of the breast duct.
Lobular breast cancer:
Lobular Breast Cancer occurs within the breast glands and spreads to the nearby tissues.
Triple-negative breast cancer:
This type of breast cancer is the most rapid and fast-growing cancer. The cells don’t contain any hormone receptors, as a result, they don’t respond to any hormone therapy.
Inflammatory breast cancer:
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of cancer. This is also fast-growing and shows redness and rashes in the breast skin.
Based on the treatment response to hormones, breast cancer has been divided into more subtypes. The types are named on the hormone receptors they have. Like:
- ER-positive (Includesestrogen receptors)
- PR-positive (Includes progesterone receptors)
- HR-positive (Includes both estrogen and progesterone receptors)
- HR-negative (Don’t have any estrogen or progesterone receptors)
What are the reasons behind the cancer?
Before knowing about the signs and symptoms, we as the remedy, why breast cancer occurs. here are some reasons why you may get breast cancer:
increased age is one of the major factors behind the cancer. From different research, it is found that people over 55 years of age are more prone to breast cancer. This occurs due to the body’s ability to respond well to cancer
Breast cancer is female-predominant. The female and male ratio of the disease is 100:1. Which means, the disease is seen 100 times more in females.
If anyone in your family, related by blood has ever been affected with breast cancer, you have a chance to get it. Cancer has a high tendency to transfer from generation to generation through genes.
The cancer also occurs due to genetic mutation of the cells. These mutations are often inherited.
Smoking is another cause of the cancer. Cigarettes consist of different components, which contain potential carcinogens. These can be responsible for growing cancer in your breast.
Increased weight increases the chances of many diseases including cancer. Excessive fat increases growth hormone in our body, which is a potential cause of cancer.
People who have prior radiation therapy have a high chances of getting breast cancer. The therapy can be taken for the treatment of other body organs.
What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer starts showing symptoms in the early stages. But many women don’t give enough concerns due to lack of knowledge. As it is a life-threatening disease, everyone should know about the signs and symptoms of the disease. Here are the symptoms of the breast cancer:
Lump In breast and Underarm:
The early sign of breast cancer is feeling a solid mass in the breast or underarm. At first, the lump will be small, but as time passes, it will grow bigger.
Changes in Breast size and shape:
You will notice sudden changes in the breast size and shape if you have breast cancer. the contour of your breast will also change.
Changes in the skin of the breast:
The skin will show redness and there will be rashes in the breast. The texture of the breast also changes.
Changes in nipple:
The nipple starts inverting inwards. It starts discharging pus or bloody discharges other than milk. The nipple looks darker, inflamed, and scaly.
Weight loss is a common syndrome of any cancer. People with breast cancer face sudden weight loss.
Different Stages of the Cancer:
In stage 1 breast cancer, the tumor is small and confined to the breast. usually, it is less than 2 mm. No involvements are found in the lymph nodes.
In stage 2 cancer, the tumor starts to grow bigger. The nearby lymph nodes are involved in this stage.
In Stage 3 Cancer, the cancer is spread to some auxiliary lymph nodes and multiple lymph nodes within the breast. the cancer also becomes larger.
Stage 4 Cancer:
the cancer is spread to the other organs of the body. The metastasis occurs through the lymph nodes and cancer cells through other organs like the lungs, the liver, kidneys, and many more. The cancer becomes fata; when is stars ti spread.
What is Stage 0 Breast Cancer?
Stage 0 breast cancer is the very initial stage of breast cancer. here, the cancer cells are noninvasive and slow-growing. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a common example of stage 0 breast cancer.
In this stage, the cancer cells are found in the ducts and lobules of the breast. if the cancer is diagnosed in stage 0, the chance of recovery is 99%. Regular checkups and self-examination are necessary for this. There are very low chances of recurrence in people who recover from stage 0 cancer.
What are the tests done to confirm the cancer?
When you find any changes to your breast, you should visit a doctor soon. the doctor will do all the clinical examinations, and if he suspects it a breast cancer, he may suggest some tests to run. Here are the certain tests done to confirm breast cancer:
Mammography is an important screening tool to diagnose breast cancer. it is a necessary tool to find cancer at an early stage. Any abnormalities within the breast like lumps or masses can be detected.
Breast Ultrasound is done after mammography, to confirm if the suspected areas are fluid-filled or any lump. here, ultrasonic images are created to have detailed information.
Bopsy is a confirmatory diagnosis of cancer. Some tissues from the suspected area are extracted and sent for histopathological examinations. There are three types of biopsies:
- Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)
- Core Needle Biopsy
- Surgical Biopsy
FNAC is the best test for the confirmation of breast cancer.
What are the treatment options available for breast cancer?
If the cancer cells are small and diagnosed at an early stage, chemotherapy is given to kill the cancer cells and prevent the spread. This therapy is also given in case of large malignant tumors, to stop the growth of the tumor and make the surgery easier. After surgery, chemotherapy is given to confirm the destruction of any remaining cancer cells in the breast.
Different types of surgeries are done to remove the tumor and affected tissues of the breast. These are complicated surgeries, which require expert surgeons in the field. All the cancer cells have to be removed to prevent the recurrence of the cancer.
Radiation therapies are done after the surgeries. High-powered radiation is used to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation is used to do so. Sometimes, radioactive materials are placed inside the body and done the work internally.
Some breast cancer cells are sensitive to hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Hormone receptor therapy is given to decrease the growth and rate of spread of the cancer cells.
Different immunotherapies are suggested by the doctors after a breast cancer surgery. the body’s immune system becomes weak when a person is diagnosed with cancer. Immunotherapies are essential to prevent the recurrence of the cancer.
What are the Surgeries done in case of Breast Cancer?
Different types of surgeries are done based on the extent of the breast cancer. here are them:
In this surgery, the lump and mass of the tissues are removed. A small margin of healthy breast tissue is also removed. In the initial stage of breast cancer, this surgery is done.
Surgical removal of the entire breast is called Mastectomy. If the cancer has spread throughout the breast, the whole breast is removed surgically. Sometimes, the remaining breast with healthy tissues has to be removed entirely, if it has a high chance of future cancer.
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy:
This is done to confirm if the cancer has reached the Sentinel Lymph Node. If cancer cells are found there, the lymph node is removed to prevent the further spread of the cancer.
Axillary Lymph Node Dissection:
Multiple lymph nodes have to be detected if the cancer has spread through them. At first, the doctors test which lymph nodes are affected, and then they remove all of them.
What are the preventive measures?
You should take some preventive measures to keep yourself free from the risks of breast cancer. here are some of them:
1. Regular SCreening:
Do regular screening of your breast, this is very important to diagnose the cancer at an early stage.
Examine your breast, and see if any changes have occurred to your breast regularly. if you find anything abnormal, consult your doctor.
3. Maintain a healthy weight to avoid many diseases including cancer.
4. Stay physically active.
5. Quit habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.
6. Eat a healthy diet.
7. Limit hormone replacement therapies.
8. Regularly, breastfeed your child.
Breast Cancer is a fatal and life-taking disease. But with proper preventive measures and awareness, you can completely stay risk-free. Even if you are diagnosed with the disease, you can be cured with proper treatment.