Breast cancer occurs when changes (mutation) takes place in the genes during cell growth. The mutation leads to uncontrollable cell growth. Breast cancer is the growth of uncontrolled cell multiplication in the breast and is the second most common cancer. Even though it is more common in female, it can occur in both male and female. Typically, the tumor forms in either lobules or ducts of the breasts. Lobules are the milk-producing glands and ducts are the pathways for milk. Cancer may also occur in fatty tissues or fibrous connective tissues within the breast.
There are various types of breast cancer categorized, mainly as ‘invasive” and “non-invasive” or in-situ. Invasive cancer spreads from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast while non-invasive cancer does not spread from the original tissue.
These two categories are used to describe the following types of breast cancer:
Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS) – It is a non-invasive condition. The cancer cells in DCIS is restricted to the ducts in the breast and does not invade the surrounding tissues.
Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ (LCIS) – A type of cancer that originates in the milk-producing glands of the breast. Like DCIS, this cancer does not invade the surrounding area.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) – IIDC is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in the breast’s milk ducts and invades the surrounding tissues of the breast. Once cancer spreads to the tissues outside the milk duct, it begins to spread the nearby tissues or organs of the body.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) – This cancer first develops in the lobule of the breast and then invades the surrounding area.
Early stages of breast cancer may not show any signs or symptoms. In many cases, a tumor may be too small to be recognized. The first sign to feel a tumor is usually a new lump formation in the breast area. However, all lumps are not cancerous. Further processes such as FNAC or biopsy are usually performed for confirmation of the lump.
Different types of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
Factors which are associated with the risk of breast cancers include:
Gender – Women are more likely to develop breast cancer as compared to males.
Aging – The risk of breast cancer increases with age.
Personal history- If an individual’s family member is diagnosed with cancer at a young age, the risk of breast cancer increases. However, majority of people having breast cancer have no family history.
Menopause at an older age – If a woman’s menopause began at an older age, the chances that she could develop breast cancer is higher.
Never been pregnant – Women who never experienced pregnancy are at higher risk of breast cancer than the women who have had one or more pregnancies.
Drinking alcohol – Alcohol is injurious to health. Consuming alcohol more than the recommended quantity can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Hormone therapy – Women who use to take postmenopausal estrogens and progesterone medications to decrease the signs of menopause are at high risk of breast cancer.
Many women with breast cancer have no symptoms, which is why regular screening and health check-ups for breast cancer is important.
A doctor will examine both breasts and lymph nodes in the armpits to find any lump formation.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast, commonly used in screening for breast cancer. It is routinely advised to detect breast cancer in women who do not find any symptoms of cancer. The scan has minimal radiation. Mammogram bilateral breast scans are available in many diagnostic centers.
Note: If below the age of 40, please consult your physician before getting a mammography scan.
Ultrasound (USG) uses sound waves to produce images of the body parts deep within the body. Breast ultrasound may be used to find whether the lump in the breast is a solid mass or a cyst filled with fluid.
An MRI machine uses magnet and radio waves to produce pictures of the interior parts of the breast. It scans tissues that help the medical advisors to differentiate between normal and abnormal tissues.
A biopsy is considered the most definitive screening for the confirmation of breast cancer. A breast biopsy is a specialized test that removes cells/tissues from a suspicious area and then examined under a microscope and further tested to check the presence of breast cancer. It is one of the main diagnostic tests that can determine whether the suspicious area is cancerous or not.
Finding lump in the breast means an individual has breast cancer.
Not every lump formation in the breast region leads to be cancerous. For example, a breast lump can also be caused by a benign cyst. Yet, if there is a lump in the breast, it is recommended to visit a doctor for a breast examination.
Only women get breast cancer, men do not get affected.
It can primarily occur in both. However, it is more common in females. Many people do not realize that men do have breast tissues that can develop cancer.
Applying deodorants cause cancer.
Deodorants do not cause cancer. However, chemicals present in deodorants can enter the skin and affect the breast cells that could lead to cancer.
A mammogram can spread breast cancer.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation INC, the mammogram is considered as the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression during mammogram does not spread cancer.
A woman without any family history of breast cancer is not at risk.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation INC, most women having breast cancer have no connection with family history. Only 10% of individuals with breast cancer have a family history of such diseases.
Young female do not get breast cancer.
The truth is female of all age groups are at risk of developing breast cancer.
Note: Always consult your physician before further treatment.
Diagnostic and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).
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