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Monday, October 1, 2018



Cancer in itself is a word which we all are afraid of. It can occur anywhere in the body, but a large number of women suffer from Breast Cancer. In United States, one out of every eight women has breast cancer. Though normally breast cancer is very common in women, but in rare cases, some men can also have Breast cancer.  


First of all, let us understand what is Breast cancer and how does it develop.  Breast cancer develops in breast cells. It typically forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Not only this, but breast cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within a breast.

Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors in the breast grow and start to affect other tissues in the body. Doctors normally advice to keep on checking your breasts regularly to find any abnormal new lump in the breast that was not there before. However, not all lumps are cancer. Whether a lump or tumor is cancerous or not, this can be decided effectively by a mammogram. Sometimes, in early stage of breast cancer, tumors are too small to be felt but if there is one, its abnormality can still be seen on a mammogram.


There are different types of breast cancer. They are broken into two main categories, which are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer. They are: ‘invasive’, and ‘noninvasive’. Invasive cancer spreads from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast and this is referred to as stage 0. Whereas noninvasive cancer does not spread from the original tissue, rather it spreads to surrounding tissues. These are categorized as stages 1, 2, 3, or 4.


Since there are various types of breast cancer, symptoms of each type may vary from the other. But there are some common symptoms and warning signs of breast cancer that can be kept in mind while identifying it. Some common symptoms of breast cancer includes-

  • ·         Lumps in the breast and in the underarms
  • ·         Scaling of the skin of the breast and of the nipple
  • ·         Redness in the skin of the breast and of the nipple
  • ·         A sudden, unexplained change in the shape or size of the breast
  • ·         Discharges from the nipple
  • ·         Inverted nipple
  • ·         Breast pain or sore nipple
  • ·         swelling in all or part of the breast 

Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you are suffering from breast cancer. Some symptoms may occur due to some other reasons. But it is always preferable to see you doctor at the earliest so as to make sure about the reason behind any specific symptom.


There are various risk factors which play an important role in someone’s life regarding her chance of having breast cancer. Some risk factors are unavoidable such as aging or having a family history of breast cancer. Some may be avoided to decrease your chance of getting breast cancer such as your habit of drinking and/or smoking.

Some common risk factors that increase your chance of getting breast cancers are as following:

·             Age- With the passing time, as you get older, risk of having breast cancer increases.

·         Family history- The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have close relative (sister, mother, daughter) with the disease. This also doubles a woman's risk.

·         Personal history- Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast increases the risk of cancer in the other breast or the chance of an additional cancer in the original breast.

·         Drinking alcohol in excessive amount increases the risk of getting breast cancer.

·         Having dense breast tissue makes mammograms hard to read, thus making it difficult to diagnose the disease.

·         Early Menstruation and Late Menopause- Women who started their menstrual cycle at a younger age, say before 12, or have their menopause at a later age, as after 55, may have a slightly increased risk.

·         Having their first baby at an older age also increases the risk of breast cancer.

·         Having no baby at all- if a woman never gets pregnant, this also increases the risk of getting breast cancer.

·         Using combined hormone therapy after menopause to reduce their signs of menopause symptoms leads them to a higher risk of having breast cancer.

·         Genetic risk factors- The most common causes are mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (breast cancer and ovarian cancer genes). Women who are inheriting a mutated gene from a parent are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t.