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About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the breast cells. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women. Although the disease is seen far more frequently in females, breast cancer may strike both men and women. Breast cancer develops when cells in your breast multiply and divide uncontrollably, resulting in a lump of tissue known as a tumour.
Some symptoms may include feeling a lump in your breast, observing abnormalities in the skin of your breasts, and noticing a change in the size of your breast. Mammograms help in early detection.
Breast cancer affects about 1 in every 8 women at some point in their lives. If it’s caught early enough, there’s a decent possibility of recovery. The main risk factors are age and weight, although there are many more associated risk factors (see image above).
Causes of Breast Cancer
As a healthy adult, you should look to restrict alcohol consumption to less than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than 3 on any given day. However, if you’re not particularly healthy already feeling the effects of overconsumption throughout the years, it’s advised that you try quitting alcohol altogether.
The immune system of a healthy person targets any aberrant DNA or growths. This does not happen when a person has cancer. Breast cancer risk factors that can be controlled include:
● Alcohol consumption. People who drink two or three drinks each day, for example, have a 20% increased risk of breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all.
● Bodyweight. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
● Breast implants. Silicone breast implants and the scar tissue that results make routine mammograms more difficult to interpret. The implants have also been linked to a rare disease known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
● Not breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is recommended since it lowers the risk.
● Prescriptions based on hormones used. This includes using types of birth control tablets and undergoing hormone replacement therapy for more than five years throughout menopause.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Different women have different symptoms of breast cancer. And some do not show any signs or symptoms at all. Some warning signs of breast cancer include:
● A foreign lump in the breast or underarm is a sign that something is wrong (armpit).
● Swelling or thickening of a portion of the breast.
● Dimpling or irritation of the breast skin.
● In the nipple region of the breast, there is redness or flaky skin.
● Nipple pulling in or soreness in the nipple region.
● Other than breast milk, nipple discharge might include blood.
● Any alteration in the breast’s size or contour.
● Breast pain at any location.
Bear in mind that these symptoms might be caused by something other than cancer.
Your breast cancer risk can be influenced by a variety of variables over the course of a lifetime. You can’t alter certain things, including becoming older or having a family history of breast cancer, but you can help reduce your risk by taking care of your health in the following manner:
● Maintain a healthy weight.
● Exercise on a regular basis.
● Don’t consume alcohol or restrict your intake of alcoholic beverages.
● Ask your doctor about the hazards of hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills) if you are using them or have been prescribed them.
● If at all feasible, breastfeed your children.
● Talk to your doctor about additional methods to reduce your risk if you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited abnormalities in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
● Maintaining good health throughout your life lowers your risk of having cancer and increases your chances of surviving it if it does strike.
Breast cancer is diagnosed using the following tests and procedures:
● Examine your breasts. Your doctor will feel for lumps or other abnormalities in both of your breasts and the lymph nodes in your armpit.
● Mammogram. A mammogram is a type of X-ray that is used to examine the breast.
● Ultrasound of the breasts. A new breast lump can be diagnosed by ultrasound to see if it’s a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
● Taking a biopsy of a sample of breast cells (biopsy). Breast cancer can only be diagnosed definitively by a biopsy. Biopsy samples are submitted to a facility for testing, and specialists evaluate if the cells are malignant. A biopsy sample is also examined to establish the type of cells involved in breast cancer, the tumour’s aggressiveness (grade), and whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors or other receptors that might affect your treatment options.
● Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast (MRI). An MRI machine creates images of the inside of your breast using a magnet and radio waves. You will be given a dye injection before your breast MRI.
A GP may recommend you to a specialized breast cancer clinic for additional testing after examining your breasts. This might entail mammography (breast imaging) or obtaining a tiny sample of breast tissue to examine under a microscope (a biopsy). Remember to notify your doctor if your health changes. This will aid them in determining if you require any extra screening tests or treatment.
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