Breast cancer, as most of us know, is one of the most common types of cancer that affects women worldwide. It is known as the abnormal growth of cancerous cells within the breast tissue.
Research shows that breast cancer is age related and those women who are 40 years old and above have higher risks of getting this type of cancer. However, this can also affect younger women. Besides age, other factors that can increase the risk of having breast cancer are genetics, hormone levels, gender and race, as well as unhealthy lifestyle and diet.
Breast cancer can be classified into different schemes; stage, histopathology, grade, receptor status and DNA microarrays. These classifications manipulate its prognosis and treatments.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
If you suspect that you have cancer, it is recommended that you perform manual breast examination. This is done by facing a mirror naked, visually examining your breast and touching it using a circular motion. If you feel a noticeable lump within your breast area or under your armpit you should go and consult a specialist.
Other signs and symptoms that you should watch out for are:
• Skin dimpling
• Drastic change on the shape and size of your breast
• Regular nipple discharge
• Nipple inversion
• Pain and swelling
• Redness and abnormal temperature in the breast
Once you’ve notice any of these signs you should immediately consult your doctor. You will then be advice to undergo further screening and testing, such as biopsy, mammography, ultrasonography and FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology).
Treatment and Medication
Usually, breast cancer is treated by removing the cancerous cells and after that patients are required to go under radiation or chemotherapy, or both. However treatments are given depending on the doctor’s diagnosis and findings.
• Stage 1 is treated with lumpectomy and radiation. The aggressive HER2 type on the other hand is treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab).
• Stages 2 and 3 are generally treated with mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
• Stage 4 or metastatic cancer is non curable and treatments like chemotherapy, surgery and radiation can only extend the patients life for up to 6 months.
Support from Society
There are lots of groups around the world that supports cancer patients and their relatives to cope up with the situation. These support groups also helps in propagating breast cancer awareness. Such groups are The Breast Cancer Movement, Breast Cancer Action, The Pink Movement, Out of the Shadow of Pink, Men for a Cause and a lot more.
Every woman is advice to avoid unhealthy lifestyle and vices, as well as the other cancer risks factor. Nonetheless, the best prevention for any kind of cancer is early detection. That is why women in their 20’s are advice to do a monthly self breast examination to check any unusual lumps and other cancer signs in their breast. Women in their 30’s are advice to have their breast examined by their doctor every year or two. While women in their 40’s and above are required to have a Mammogram yearly.