In most cases, breast cancers originate in the inner lining cells of the ducts that carry milk to the nipple, which is known as “ductal cancers.” Sometimes the disease begins in the glands that generate breast milk, which is called “lobular cancer.”
There are still several misconceptions among people about breast cancer. One such notion is that breast cancer is hereditary. It is not true as only 10% of cases of breast cancer are genetic, and 50% of patients with breast cancer have an identifiable cause. For the rest, the cause is unknown.
What are the Causes of Breast Cancer?
It is hard to identify the exact causes of breast cancer. Even doctors often get confused about the reason for women developing breast cancer. The only concrete fact about breast cancer is that it occurs because of damage to a cell’s DNA.
A few other reasons for developing breast cancer are early menarche, Nulliparity (women who have never given birth), late menopause, lack of breastfeeding, or giving birth of the first child after 35 years. More often than not, there are multiple factors involved than a single risk factor.
Also Read: The benefits and importance of Breastfeeding
What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
One of the common symptoms of breast cancer is having a lump in a breast. A hard and painless lump with irregular edges can be cancer, though breast cancers can also be soft, tender, or round. Sometimes they can even be painful. Other symptoms are:
Breast cancer spreads from a single cancer cell by multiplying and growing bigger. Once the tumour grows in size, it can directly affect the skin around the breast, nipple, or the chest wall. It can also spread along the lymphatics into axillary nodes or through the blood into other organs such as the liver, lungs, bones, and brain at the advanced stages.
What is the Self-breast Examination?
Women above 20 years should practice self-breast examinations every month one week after completing their menstrual cycle. This examination will help women understand the condition of their breasts well and enable them to identify changes in the breast, such as lumps or skin changes.
Steps to Self-Examine Breast
- Stand in front of a mirror and check both the breasts for anything unusual, such as a lump, scaling of the skin, dimpling, or dripping.
- Again, standing before the mirror, observe after putting both hands behind your head and press the hands forward.
- In the next step, press your hands firmly on the hips, bow marginally toward the mirror, and pull your shoulders and elbows forward.
- Lift your left hand, and use 3-4 fingers of your right hand to feel your left breast with firm pressure. At the outer edge, press the flat part of your fingers in a circular motion around the breast. Pay particular attention in the area between the breast and the armpit, and check for any lump or mass below the skin. Repeat the same steps for the right breast.
- Softly squeeze each nipple to see if there is a discharge.
- Now repeat steps 4 and 5 by lying flat on your back. Raise the right arm over your head and a pillow or placing a folded towel under your left shoulder. This position helps to flatten the breast and will be easy to examine. Make the same circular motion of your fingers, as described in the previous step. Repeat the steps for the right breast.
According to the guidelines of the American Cancer Society, breast-examination is required for the following age groups with the specified frequency:
The Treatment of Breast Cancer
The treatment of breast cancer depends on its types, current stage, and any special conditions. Besides, the procedure will also be based on other factors, including the patient’s overall health and personal lifestyle.
There are drugs used to treat breast cancer, which is part of systemic therapies because they can access the cancer cells nearly anywhere in the human body. The drugs are usually applied by mouth or added directly into the bloodstream. Based on the type of breast cancer, various types of drug treatment might be used, including multimodality therapy combined with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, considering the stage of cancer.
What is Mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast to detect any abnormality in breasts, especially cancer at an early stage, even before it can be felt with fingers.
This is generally a screening procedure for women above 40 years every year or during the assessment of breast lump in women above 35 years.
What is Breast Conservation Surgery?
In the past decades, for breast cancer patients, removing the entire breast during surgery was the standard treatment. Currently, due to advancement in medicine, only the tumour is removed, which makes it possible to preserve the breast for patients with early stages of cancer.
If you wish to undergo a thorough medical check-up to prevent breast cancer, we would be glad to assist you. For general information and enquiries call 0431 4022555 for a doctor’s appointment or emergency. You can also write to firstname.lastname@example.org.