Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women. Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. It affects one in eight women at some point in their lives. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2017 it estimated that more than 316,000 women in the US were diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 died from this disease.
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any symptoms at all. These symptoms can also happen with other conditions that are not cancer.
Some of signs for breast cancer are;
- New lump in the breast or underarm.
- Swelling any part of the breast.
- Irritation on the breast skin.
- Redness on the skin in the nipple area of the breast.
- Pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple starts discharging blood including milk.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
The main risk factors for breast cancer are as follows;
- Getting older- The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed after the age of 50.
- Genetic mutations- Inherited changes to certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
- Family history- A woman’s risk for breast cancer increases if she has a mother, sister, or daughter, or any family member who has breast cancer.
- Women with drugs-The women who are taking the drugs are at higher risk for breast cancer.
- Reproductive history-Early menstrual periods before the age of 12 raise the risk of getting breast cancer.
- Having dense breasts- Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
- Treatment using radiation therapy- Women who have radiation therapy to the chest or breasts before the age of 30 have a higher risk of getting breast cancer in life.
Factors to reduce risk of breast cancer
Many factors can decrease your breast cancer risk. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history. But you can help lower your risk of breast cancer by taking care of your health in the following ways;
- Keeping a healthy weight.
- By exercising regularly.
- Don’t drink alcohol, or limit the alcoholic drinks.
- By breastfeeding your children, if possible.
- If you are taking or you have been told to take hormone replacement therapy external icon, discuss with your doctor about the risks and find out it is right for you.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer or changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes then talk to your doctor to lower your risk of breast cancer.
Treatment for breast cancer
Breast cancer can be treated in several ways depending on the type of breast cancer and how far it has spread. Some of the methods are as follows;
- Surgery- An operation where doctors cut out the cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy-Using of special medicines to kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins or sometimes also both.
- Hormonal therapy- It blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy-It works with your body’s immune system to help it to fight against cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy-Using high-energy rays similar to X-rays to kill the cancer cells.