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What to Know About Breast Cancer



Causes of breast cancer involve both, environmental as well as genetic factors. One of the most important factors involved is gender. Women are at 100 times more risk than men to contract breast cancer. Though it can develop at any age, the probability of developing it increases with age. Genetic factors are a major cause for developing breast cancer. Having a family history of breast cancer augments the odds of developing it. The risk is more if that family member developed it in both the breasts. Hormones largely influence the development of this condition. Lifestyle and diet also can contribute towards the cause.

Symptoms

It is difficult to detect breast cancer in its early stages because more often than not, the early symptoms are painless. Most cases are discovered by the appearance of lumps. The lumps may develop in the collar bone or the armpit or on the breasts. Most lumps that are formed are usually not cancerous. Breast discharge could be another symptom for cancer. But most probably it is not. Nipple inversion is one of the important symptoms. Other common symptoms involve redness on the breast skin or some change in the breast skin texture.

Treatment

The treatment for breast cancer should be started as soon as possible once any of its symptoms appear because treating it gets more and more difficult as it spreads. However harmless or small the symptom may seem, one should get it checked immediately.

Surgery is one of the main types of treatments. The type of surgery depends on the location and size of the tumour, the type of tumour and the patient's health.

The staging and prognosis of the disease depends on the stage to which the cancer has grown and whether the cancer is invasive or non invasive. There are mainly four stages in increasing order of its growth, development and severity.

Prevention

Though one cannot do much to prevent the onset of breast cancer, regular screening is highly recommended in order to nip the problem in the bud by detecting it in its earliest stages. Regular screening involves breast self examination (BSE), clinical breast examination and mammography. Examination for symptoms of breast cancer is highly recommended immediately after the monthly menstruation. Mammography should be undertaken especially by women every 1-2 years and more so after the age of 40.

Those who are genetically more prone to breast cancer, a drug by the name of tamoxifen has been invented and is currently being used which is shown to reduce the chances of occurrence of the disease.

Incidence

After lung cancer, breast cancer tops the list for being one of the leading reasons for deaths by cancer amongst women. It is very rarely found to affect males. Referring to various statistics made by different studies, we see that a staggering number of approximately 1.3 million women around the globe are detected with this condition every year. Of them, around 465,000 succumb to this deadly disease. Fortunately for all the hoopla surrounding breast cancer in the recent times, people nowadays are more aware and conscious about it and the cancer is detected in its early stages and the death toll has shown a steady decline in the recent years.

Myths

There are a lot of unnecessary myths and misconceptions floating about regarding this disease. Many people take it for granted that if there is a lump showing on their breasts, they are suffering from breast cancer. It is not so. In fact, most of the times, these lumps are never detected to be cancerous. Another one of the myths is that getting mammography done will augment the spread of cancer. Mammography does not affect the cancer growth in any way.



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