Statistics shows that the most common form of cancer among women all over the world is breast cancer. Curable at an early stage, awareness of this particular disease has intensified. What is breast cancer? How does it develop? What are its causes?
Breast cancer in a nutshell
Whenever doctors are asked about what is breast cancer, they expound by illustrating that it begins in cells.
In normal conditions, these cells grow and divide into new cells replacing the old and damaged ones.
However, there are instances wherein this process goes wrong. As a result, new cells are formed without the body needing them. Also, old cells do not die as they should.
So what is breast cancer? To simplify, it is the building up of cancerous cells which often form into lumps or grow into tumors in the breast which may be benign or malignant. If malignant, cancer cells may spread and enter the blood and lymph. These cells may spread and grow to form new tumors in what is called as metastasis.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Symptoms may come in different kinds such as a change in the size or shape of the breast. For some, there is dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast. A bloody fluid discharge from the nipple is also one of these symptoms. Breast cancer may be best associated with the presence of a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area. Since symptoms may differ, breast cancer to certain women may not apply to another.
Breast cancer among women varies according to its stage, cause and treatment. Whenever presence of lumps and tumors within the breast area has been detected, doctors usually recommend for a patient to undergo an ultrasound or mammogram. In most cases, a biopsy is required to confirm the presence of cancer.
Treatments for breast cancer
A patient is afforded with a lot of treatment options. This includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation among others. However, it is advisable that a patient must first be informed of the different side effects each treatment will experience.
Surviving breast cancer
Although the survival rate for breast cancer has increased because of recent technology, our knowledge of what is breast cancer and the different risk factors will provide us with a better understanding of this disease.
Age, health history, reproductive and menstrual history, lifestyle, lack of physical activity and even race are considered as risk factors. However, this does not mean that having any of the said risks, one is likely to develop breast cancer.
Interestingly, breast cancer may also affect some men. Research showed that about 1% of cancer deaths among men are attributed to male breast cancer. However, further studies are being explored to determine its causes.
Over the years, doctors and concerned individuals organize ways to increase breast cancer awareness. The influx of technology resulting to early detection of the disease has increased the survival rates of breast cancer victims as well. At the moment, although there is no definite cure for the disease, doctors are developing more effective treatment programs.