Breast Cancer Facts
Most of the cases of breast cancer occur in women over the age of 50, but breast cancer can occur in younger women as well. If you notice any lump or change to the normal breast then you should see a doctor promptly, as breast cancer is conquerable, if detected early.
Ductal carcinoma is one of the common types of cancer. About 7 out of every 10 women with breast cancer have this form of cancer.
Lobular carcinoma is the second most common type of cancer. This begins in the lobule of the breast. About 1 out of every 10 women with breast cancer has this form of cancer.
The doctor checks both your breasts as well as the lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any abnormalities or a lump.
Mammogram simply means an X-ray of the breast. They are commonly used to identify breast cancer.
Ultrasound is using the help of sound waves to produce images of structures deep within the body. It can help distinguish between a fluid-filled cyst and a solid mass. An ultrasound is performed to examine a new lump.
If the doctor feels that further tests are needed, you may need a biopsy, from which experts distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells.
Analysis of the biopsy sample is also carried out to determine the type of cells involved in the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer and whether the cancerous cells have hormone receptors or other receptors which can influence the treatment options.
Apart from getting screened, please ensure regular breast self-examination and do look for signs such as:
- A lump in the breast or thickening which feels different from the other tissue
- Discharge of blood from the nipple
- Change in the size, appearance or shape of the breast
- Changes to the skin on the breast
- Inverted nipple
- Peeling, flaking or scaling of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
- If you find a lump or other changes in your breast even if a recent mammogram was normal, do make an appointment with the doctor
The options for treating breast cancer are decided based on the type of cancer, stage, size, grade and whether the cells are sensitive to hormones.
Women with breast cancer have many treatment options. Treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
Surgical Options For Breast Cancer
- Breast conversation surgery, also known as breast-sparing surgery, is where the surgeon removes the tumor along with a small margin of healthy tissue with axillary nodes
- Mastectomy is done to remove the entire breast tissue and axillary nodes
- Removing both breasts – some women may choose to have both their breasts removed, if they have an increased risk of cancer spreading to the other breast
Some women undergo a breast reconstruction surgery at the same time.
The risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Increasing age
- Radiation exposure
- Early onset of menstruation
- Late onset of menopause
- Undergoing postmenopausal hormone therapy
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Ways To Prevent Breast Cancer
Maintaining a healthy weight is necessity, as being overweight or obese leads to many health complications and exposes one to the possibility of developing cancer. Breast cancer is most prevalent in obese women, post menopause
Being Physically Active
It is a golden rule to invest thirty minutes on exercise each day, for good health and for an active lifestyle. Exercising regularly greatly reduces the risk of cancer and other lifestyle induced medical conditions
Eating Veggies and Fruits And Saying No To Alcohol
Consuming a lot of fresh veggies and fruits is important. Also, cutting down on alcohol intake completely, or to the bare minimum, reduces the risk of breast cancer to a large degree
Avoid Birth Control Pills After 35
The intake of birth control pills, especially after the age of 35, increases the risk of acquiring breast cancer. Additionally, the possibility is even more in women who smoke
Go For Screening Regularly
It is advised to get yourself regularly screened with mammograms according to your age and the risk rate of developing breast cancer. It is also necessary for you to be aware of how your breasts feel or look to report any changes to the doctor