By Michael Russell
Many women consider their breasts to be their defining feature and cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases of the world. As the name signifies, cancer of the breast, or breast cancer, is a type of cancer. It is predominantly a female disease and it is one of the most common forms of cancer. In the United States alone, approximately 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, though the figure is somewhat lower in countries like Canada and Australia. It is also a major cause of cancer deaths in women. The majority of patients are women who have crossed the menopause stage. Birth control pills also increase the chances of its occurrence as do treatments like HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). Being overweight and the excessive consumption of alcohol also contribute significantly to it. The occurrence of breast cancer in family members can increase the chances as there is a gene which can be inherited.
What is Breast Cancer? Simply put, cancer of the tissues in breast is called breast cancer. It usually surfaces in the form of a lump or tumor in and around the breast. Every lump found in the breasts is not necessarily an indicator of breast cancer; sometimes it may not be associated with breast cancer at all. It is normal for lumps to be formed, especially during the growing up stage. They can also be formed as a result of hormonal changes and they are usually temporary.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
It is not possible to detect this disease in the starting stages. The symptoms start appearing slowly and slowly as the disease progresses. They could be anything like:
. A lump or swelling in the breast or adjoining area like the underarm.
. Increase or decrease in the shape or size of the breasts.
. Dimpling or change in the color of the skin
. Discharge from the nipples.
Factors that increase the risk of Breast Cancer
. Hormone therapy.
. Age factor.
. Dairy products.
How To Detect Breast Cancer
Early detection of breast cancer is vital to cure the disease. The sooner it is detected, the better. The chances of curing it are more if detected in the early stages. It is very difficult to cure it in the advanced stages. There are many ways to find out if you are suffering from breast cancer. A few of them are:
. Medical examination of breasts and armpits by a doctor, at least once in a year.
. Mammogram, especially if you are above 40 years of age.
. Ultrasound, can be done separately or combined with other tests.
. BSE (Breast Self-Examination).
Types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer occurs broadly in two places, lobules or the milk ducts. They are:
. Invasive lobular carcinoma – Cancer originated in the lobules, but has now spread.
. Invasive ductal carcinoma – Cancer, which originated in the milk ducts but has spread.
. Lobular carcinoma in situ – Cancer in the lobules.
. Ductal carcinoma in situ – Cancer in the milk ducts.
Treatments available for Breast Cancer
There are various options available for its treatment. Some of them are:
. Radiation Therapy.
. Hormone Treatment.
Prevention of Breast Cancer
The most important aspect of this dangerous and fatal disease is prevention. The various treatment options are costly and damaging to the body. The old saying prevention is better than cure is aptly applicable to this disease. Prevention of breast cancer is more important than its cure. Routine medical examinations and immediate medical advice in case of suspected symptoms can greatly reduce the chances of breast cancer spreading.
Your Independent guide to Breast Cancer
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