Breast Cancer Symptoms
- Formation of new dense mass or tissue growth appearing as lump in or near the breast or in underarms.
- Parts of breast may appear swollen or thick
- Breast skin may show dimpling or irritation
- Breast skin texture my turn flaky and appear red – even in the nipple area
- Inverting of nipple
- Pain in the nipple and areola area.
- Discharge of fluid from the nipple
- The breast may change in the shape and the size
- Experiencing pain in any part of the breast.
Main risk factors for developing breast cancer:
Women are usually at higher risk of developing breast cancer and more so if she is increasing in age. Women with family history of cancer in the breasts have higher chances of developing breast cancer. Women who are older when having their first baby, women who are not breastfeeding and women with early start of menstruation before 12 years of age fall into high risk category. Also women who complete their menopause after the age of 55. Life style patterns like drinking more than one alcohol drink every day, not doing regular exercises and being overweight are some of the parameters which expose women to higher risks of developing cancer. Medical reasons like having a personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases, exposure to radiation therapy to the breast/chest, use of hormone replacement therapy for a long time and taking of birth control pills are some of the risk factors for developing breast cancer.
What is risk of women of getting Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer with high mortality rate due to delayed diagnosis and consequent poor prognosis. One woman out of every eight women develops cancer in the course of lifetime.
Genetic predisposition to Breast Cancer
Some women are genetically predisposed to breast cancer, this can be attributed to the presence of an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Genes are the bodies that govern and dictate human features and characteristics. They contain hereditary information which is passed down from one generation to other. It is like a blue print for passing down characteristics. Cancerous growth mutate abnormally and multiply aggressively, in normal genes the proteins which lead to uncontrolled division are contained by these genes. But if the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes are inherited from parent then an individual is at high risk of developing cancer in the breast.
Cancers due to genetic reason are usually occurring in young women and most commonly in both the breasts. Also women with gene mutations are more at a risk of developing ovarian cancers.
Prevention a possibility in Breast Cancer
Breast cancer cannot be prevented but one can take steps to reduce the risk and improve prognosis by detection at an early, treatable stage. By controlling the risks associated with increasing the cancer susceptibility, risk can be lowered. Regular and proper exercising, good diet, limited alcohol consumption can all contribute in lowering the risks of developing breast cancer. Women who opt to breastfeed their babies for a time period of several months also may reduce breast cancer risk. Women if do not use PHT – which is post menopausal hormone therapy are also preventing themselves from rising risk of cancer.
Early detection of breast cancer
Early detection can reduce cancer associated mortality and thus help save lives. For an early diagnosis imaging technique of Mammography is still the most reliable, accurate and effective means.