Besides Lung cancer, one of the most dreaded diseases to affect a woman (though men too could be its victims) is Breast Cancer. This probably is because, in extreme cases, it would not only mean death but if you are saved it could even be at the cost of your sexuality which could be the result of the loss of one or both of your breasts.
What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the result of an uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast area. In normal circumstances, your body follows a routine of producing new cells by dividing and discarding the old cells in order to maintain the number of cells and keep you healthy. But, for those affected with cancer though the body is able to multiply the cells it is not able to remove the old and dead cells. And this abnormal growth of cells could lead to the formation of a lump/tumor in the area that is affected. This uncontrolled and abnormal growth could take place in an individual for a variety of reasons like the mutation of certain genes or certain abnormal changes that takes place in the body.
Can Breast Cancer Cause Death
It is a wrong notion that breast cancer leads to death. Yes, it does but only if it is not treated on time or if the cancerous cells are allowed to grow in its uncontrolled manner. In the initial stages the tumor is quite benign i.e. it is not dangerous. In fact they are not even considered as cancerous. These tumors grow quite slowly and they even appear to be normal and restrict its growth to the area it began in i.e. it does not spread – as such they are easier to treat. Some tumors turn out to be malignant i.e. those tumors which are a potential threat to your life and are cancerous. Such tumors grow quite aggressively and have the potential to spread further into the body. When the cancer spreads beyond the place where the tumor actually began it is known as ‘metastatic breast cancer’. If you don’t treat it in its early stages, only the it may lead to death otherwise there are many victims who have survived breast cancer.
Causes of Breast Cancer
As stated earlier though men too can develop breast cancer, it is quite a rare case. This disease is mostly common among women – so your gender is one of the common causes of breast cancer. Secondly – your age; the older you get the more you are at the risk of developing cancer. Besides, if have had an early start to your first period or a late menopause –you need to be careful as the chances of such women developing cancer is high. It is noted that your genes too could be held responsible for this disease. Individuals suffering from the mutation of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand an 80% risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast cancer is hereditary so, if you have any of your relatives suffering from it, you too could be a likely to become a victim. Moreover, those who have already been affected by cancer on one breast do stand a high risk of developing cancer in the other one as well. Obese individuals too are more likely to suffer from breast cancer. If a person has been exposed to radiations in the chest region earlier in their lives for whatever reason they too could be victims of breast cancer.
Delaying child birth i.e. after 30 years of age, not breast feeding your child and consuming contraceptive pills also increase your chances of developing breast cancer. Lack of exercise, consumption of alcohol etc too are believed to be factors that aid the development of breast cancer.
How to Detect Breast Cancer
The presence of a lump, a change in the shape of the breast and nipple especially if it is inverted and appears red, the skin of the breast feels thicker and dry than normal or an abnormal discharge emitting from the nipple like some fluid or even blood are some of the signs of breast cancer. A regular self examination of breast is one of the most important ways by which you can detect breast cancer. Look out for these signs and if you doubt any of them, consult your doctor. After the age of 40 it is recommended that a regular mammogram should be an essential part of your life. A clinical breast examination too can help in detecting breast cancer as early as possible and the earlier breast cancer is detected the more treatable and survivable it is. A biopsy, MRI, ultrasound etc too may be advised by your doctor in order to detect breast cancer.
Types of Breast Cancer
The most common type of breast cancer which is detected in about 80% of the cases of women suffering from breast cancer is Ductal Carcinoma. This cancer begins in the ‘ducts’ that carry milk from the milk producing glands to the nipple. It is further divided into Ductal Carcinoma In Situ i.e. the cancer is localized within the ducts or it may be invasive where the cancer has spread into other areas of the body.
The second most common type of cancer is Lobular carcinoma wherein the cancer begins in the lobes that produces milk. It is believed to affect almost 10% of the women suffering from breast cancer. This again is divided into Lobular Carcinoma In Situ where the spread of the disease is limited to the lobes itself. In fact the ‘In Situ’ stage is often described as a precancerous stage and, if detected, the survivability of individual suffering from this type of cancer is the highest. Invasive lobular carcinoma is the second type of lobular carcinoma where the cancer moves beyond the lobules affecting the nearby structures and organs.
Some other rare types of breast cancers are ‘Inflammatory breast cancer’ which is a very aggressive form of breast cancer that grows and invades other parts of the body quiet rapidly. Such breast cancer does not display the most common symptom of cancer i.e. a lump rather then skin in that area becomes very thick and appears red, flaky, sore and swollen. ‘Paget’s disease of the nipple’ is another form of breast cancer wherein the skin often appears dry and itchy.
Detection and treatment on time can save your life.