Breast cancer is the most common type of tumor found in the urban population and second most common next to cervical cancer among rural women. It occurs when the cells in the breast mutate and cluster together. It usually starts in the lobules (milk-producing gland) or in the tube-shaped duct of the breast which carries milk from lobules to the nipple.
Types of Breast Cancer
There are many different types of breast swellings most of them are non-cancerous.
The most common types of breast tumor (malignant swelling/lump) are:
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Recurrent breast cancer
The exact cause of breast cancer is not fully understood; mostly it occurs when there is a genetic mutation in the DNA of the breast cells. Some mutations occur over time while others may be because of lifestyle factor or some environmental exposures.
The following are the key breast cancer risk factors, you cannot control every variable that influences your risk, but some of them are preventable:
- Age: the risk increases with getting old
- Family history: the risk increases if any of your family members have a history of breast cancer
- Personal history: if you have a previous diagnosis of breast cancer
- Menstruation: the risk increases in women who started their menstrual cycle at a younger age and who attains menopause late.
- Nulliparity, late age at first childbirth are risk factors
- Breast Tissue: the risk increases in women with dense breast tissues
- Radiation: the risk increases in women who had childhood chest radiation
- Alcohol consumption: Alcoholic women are more likely to develop breast cancer than non-alcoholic.
- Hormone replacement therapy: there is an increased risk in women who take hormone therapy with a combination of estrogen and progesterone
The symptoms of breast cancer vary from person to person and it may sometimes occur without any symptoms. If you found any of the below symptoms, consult a breast cancer specialist or surgeon. Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A lump or thickening in the breast or under the arm
- Change in the size and shape of the breast
- Breast, nipple or armpit pain
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk
- Redness of the breast skin or nipple
- Dimpling or pitting of breast skin
The following are the tests and procedures used to diagnose breast cancer:
- Breast exam : Checking breast for any lumps or abnormalities
- Mammogram : It is an X-ray for the breast used to screen for breast cancer
- Breast Ultrasound
- Breast MRI
- FNAC : Small sample of cells removed for testing with a small needle
- Biopsy : Removing a piece of breast tissue for further testing.
Breast Cancer Treatment
The doctor determines the treatment for breast cancer based on the type, its stage and grade. The most common options for breast cancer treatment include,
Authored By : Dr. Shiva Kumar Uppala