Abnormal development of cells leads to the growth of tumor, when tumor is malignant in nature they are termed as cancer. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women today. Around the world breast cancer statistics shows that after lung cancer breast cancer is the second most death-causing factor in people who develops cancer. The risk factor of developing breast cancer increases with the age, it does not only relate to women, figures show that out of every 100 women there is one male who is diagnosed of breast cancer.
Breast cancer does not mean a specific category of disease rather it is the different types of cancer generally found in breast is collectively termed as breast cancer. Though the most common understanding suggests that, abnormal growth of cells in the breast causes breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Early breast cancer has no symptoms. It is usually not painful.
Most breast cancer is discovered before symptoms are present, either by finding an abnormality on mammography or feeling a breast lump. A lump in the armpit or above the collarbone that does not go away may be a sign of cancer. Other possible symptoms are breast discharge, nipple inversion, or changes in the skin overlying the breast.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous. All breast lumps, however, need to be evaluated by a doctor.
Breast discharge is a common problem and is rarely a symptom of cancer. Discharge is most concerning if it is from only one breast or if it is bloody. In any case, all breast discharge should be evaluated.
Nipple inversion is a common variant of normal nipples, but nipple inversion that is a new development can be of concern.
Changes in the skin of the breast include redness, changes in texture, and puckering. These changes are usually caused by skin diseases but occasionally can be associated with breast cancer.
Causes of Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women and the second most common cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. While the majority of new breast cancers are diagnosed as a result of an abnormality seen on a mammogram, a lump, or change in consistency of the breast tissue can also be a warning sign of the disease. Heightened awareness of breast cancer risk in the past decades has led to an increase in the number of women undergoing mammography for screening, leading to detection of cancers in earlier stages and a resultant improvement in survival rates. Still, breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women between 45-55 years of age. Although breast cancer in women is a common form of cancer, male breast cancer does occur and accounts for about 1% of all cancer deaths in men.
Research has yielded much information about the causes of breast cancers, and it is now believed that genetic and/or hormonal factors are the primary risk factors for breast cancer. Staging systems have been developed to allow doctors to characterize the extent to which a particular cancer has spread and to make decisions concerning treatment options. Breast cancer treatment depends upon many factors, including the type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. Treatment options for breast cancer may involve surgery (removal of the cancer alone or, in some cases, mastectomy), radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
With advances in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, the death rate for breast cancer has declined. In fact, about 90% of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer will survive for at least five years. Research is ongoing to develop even more effective screening and treatment programs.
Women with breast cancer have many treatment options. The treatment that’s best for one woman may not be best for another.
The options are surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. You may receive more than one type of treatment. The treatment options are described below.
Surgery and radiation therapy are types of local therapy. They remove or destroy cancer in the breast.
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Hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy are types of systemic therapy. The drug enters the bloodstream and destroys or controls cancer throughout the body.
The treatment that’s right for you depends mainly on the stage of the cancer, the results of the hormone receptor tests, the result of the HER2/neu test, and your general health.
You may want to talk with your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial, a research study of new treatment methods. Clinical trials are an important option for women at any stage of breast cancer.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices, the expected results, and the possible side effects. Because cancer therapy often damages healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Before treatment starts, ask your health care team about possible side effects, how to prevent or reduce these effects, and how treatment may change your normal activities.
You may want to know how you will look during and after treatment. You and your health care team can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your medical and personal needs.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat breast cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. You also may be referred to a plastic surgeon or reconstructive surgeon. Your health care team may also include an oncology nurse and a registered dietitian.