Breast cancer is the most familiar invasive cancer in women. While breast cancer can develop in both men and women, it is far more common in women than men.
The need for screening and the awareness of the symptoms is crucial for reducing breast cancer risk. Progress in treatment and screening for breast cancer have enhanced survival rates dramatically.
In this blog, we shall focus on breast cancer, its symptoms, risk factors, and possible prevention techniques.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer refers to a condition in which cells begin to grow uncontrollably in the breasts.
These cells grow and divide out of control, and form a mass tissue called a tumour.
If these cells are normal cells, then the tumour is called benign (non-cancerous). However, if the cells are abnormal and don’t function normally, then the tumour is referred to as malignant (cancerous).
These cancer cells usually form a tumour that can be viewed on an X-ray or felt as a lump.
Cancers are mostly named after the body part in which they build up. Hence, the name breast cancer. It can even invade and build around the tissue surrounding the breast. It can further travel to various parts of the body and make new tumours. This process is known as metastasis.
The initial symptoms of breast cancer appear as an area of thickened tissue in the breast.
While most breast lumps are non-cancerous, one must visit a specialist for an examination if they notice a thickened tissue in the breast.
Other symptoms are mentioned below:
1. Aching in the breast or armpits that does not change
2. Redness of the breast skin
3. A depressed or reversed nipple
4. The breast’s shape and size changes
5. Shedding, flaking, or scrambling of the skin on the breast or nipple
6. Rashes developed around or on one of the nipples
7. Liquid discharge containing blood from a nipple
There are a few risk factors that make breast cancer more likely to develop. Please keep in mind the risk factors mentioned here.
1. Genetics: People who have definite mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a greater possibility of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both. People inherit these genes from their parents.
2. History of breast lumps: Women who have previous cases of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer can likely suffer from breast cancer again in comparison to those who have no history of the ailment.
3. Obesity: Women who develop obesity after menopause can develop breast cancer, probably due to augmented estrogen levels. Consuming more sugar may also add up to the risk.
4. Dense breast tissue: Women with denser breasts possibly need to undertake a diagnosis of breast cancer.
It also becomes difficult to see tumours during mammograms.
1. Age: As age increases, so does the risk of breast cancer. This starts to grow from the age of 20 and reach its maximum limit at the age of 70 years.
2. Excessive alcohol consumption: High alcohol intake plays a greater role in breast cancer build-up.
Research has shown that women who consume moderate to heavy levels of alcohol have a greater risk than light drinkers.
1. Radiation exposure: Women treated with radiation to the chest area or from having a multitude of fluoroscopy X-rays can lead towards the development of breast cancer.
While there are no hard-hitting ways to prevent breast cancer, one can reduce its risk immensely by following certain lifestyle changes.
1. Avoid being overweight and work towards a healthy body mass index (BMI 18.5 – 24.9)
2. Limit alcohol intake
3. Follow a balanced and healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables sufficiently
4. Performing consistent exercise
In addition, women may also follow some other preventive measures as well
1. Discuss breast cancer screening with your doctor: Talk to your doctor as when to start the breast cancer screening tests, like clinical breast exams and mammograms.
2. Undergo breast self-exam: You can become better aware of your breasts health by sometimes examining your breasts during a breast self-exam. If there is any development in the form of lumps, visit your doctor quickly.
3. Avoid/limit Postmenopausal hormone therapy: This therapy can likely augment your chances of developing breast cancer. Discuss with your doctor the advantages and perils of hormone therapy.
Undergoing this therapy often can cause women to experience trouble signs during menopause.
To prevent it, use the lowermost dose of hormone therapy for the least amount of time.
If you experience any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, consult a breast health specialist. These doctors focus especially on caring for people with breast cancer and other breast conditions.
This safeguards that you avail of individual and personalised care that takes into account all of your needs.
Women with breast cancer can seek specialised care here at Neotia Getwel Healthcare Centre. Our specialists provide dedicated expert, personalized solutions using the latest treatments and medications.
Book your appointment here.