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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs when the cells in the breast tissue begin to divide and mutate rapidly. These abnormal cells can further develop a tumor and it can become cancerous when the cells spread to other parts of the breast or the body itself.

Causes of Breast Cancer

  • Genetic Makeup – Certain gene mutations increase the risk of breast cancer development
    Well-known gene mutations that can increase the risk are BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Obesity – Being overweight can increase the risk of developing the cancer
  • Early beginning of periods – Beginning your periods before the age of 12 can increase the risk of breast cancer
  • Late Menopause – women who have menopause at an older age are more likely to develop breast cancer
  • Not being pregnant – Women who have never been pregnant are at a higher risk of breast cancer than the ones who have had one or more pregnancies
  • Hormone therapy medications – Some women take hormone therapy medications to treat the symptoms of menopause. These medications’ intake can increase your chances of developing breast cancer

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

  • Lump in the breast
  • Nipple retraction
  • Skin irritation
  • Lump in the underarm areas
  • Blood discharge from the nipples
  • Redness of breast
  • Itching, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or skin on the breasts

Prevention of Breast Cancer

  • Avoid birth control pills, especially after the age of 35
  • Avoid post-menopausal hormones
  • Timely screening and mammography
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a diet high in nutrition
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

  • Breast Exam – The doctor does a physical examination and looks for lumps or any other abnormalities
  • Mammogram – It is an X-Ray of the breasts
  • Breast Ultrasound – It uses sound waves to produce images of structures deep within the body. It determines the state of lump, whether they are solid masses or fluid-filled cysts
  • Biopsy – The doctor extracts a core of tissue from the suspicious area and examines it thoroughly. This is the most definitive way to make the diagnosis of breast cancer

Treatment of Breast Cancer

  • Surgery – Most patients who have breast cancer undergo surgery to remove the tumor. The patient might go through breast-conserving surgery which aims at the removal of normal tissue and not the breast itself or mastectomy which aims at the complete breast removal that has cancer
  • Chemotherapy – It is the use of drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells by killing them or by stopping them from dividing further. It can be done either intravenously or orally. The drugs then enter the bloodstream and reach out to the cancer cells throughout the body
  • Hormone Therapy – This therapy aims at the removal of hormones, blocking their actions and stopping the cancer cells from growing further. Some hormones can cause certain cancer to grow so it is necessary to reduce the production of these hormones and block them from feeding the cancer
  • Targeted Therapy – This therapy uses specific drugs that are designed specifically to target breast cancer tumor cells. They cause less harm to normal cells than other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy – This therapy uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer itself. Specifically designed substances are used to boost and restore the body’s natural defenses against the tumor cells. It is a type of biological therapy
  • Radiation Therapy – This therapy uses high-energy beams like X-Rays or other radiations to kill the cancer cells or restrict their multiplication