Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors form in the breast tissue. While it cannot entirely be prevented, with the onset of breast cancer one can immediately resort to the right kind of treatment for a fighting chance. Most people are of the impression that only women are susceptible to breast cancer. This however is a common misconception as even men- especially older men are also prone to breast cancer.
What causes breast cancer?
While the exact causes of breast cancer can’t be ascertained, studies show that several genetic, lifestyle, and external environmental conditions are likely to cause you to develop breast cancer.
Genetics plays the most prominent role in the occurrence of breast cancer. Usually, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes help synthesize a protein that helps repair damaged DNA. A certain mutated version of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene that gets passed on hereditarily expedites the growth of cancerous cells more rapidly than healthy cells forming a malignant lump in the breast tissue.
Some of the other telling causes of breast cancer are:
- Premature puberty / menopause
- Continuous exposure to radiation
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Presence of dense breast tissue
- Consumption of oral contraceptives
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The symptoms of breast cancer vary from one individual to another. In fact, in certain instances, individuals do not display any signs or symptoms at all! Some of the usual symptoms that potentially indicate breast cancer are:
- Swollen breasts
- Pain in the nipples/ areolar region
- Formation of lumps in the breast or armpit
- Change in skin texture
- Nipple retraction
- Discharge of fluids/ blood from the breast
- A visible difference in size or shape of the breasts
If you detect any of these symptoms, make sure to immediately consult doctors online to seek the expert opinion of a doctor.
What are the stages of breast cancer?
There are 5 main stages of breast cancer, stages 0 through 4
- Stage 0: Stage 0 is used to refer to non-invasive breast cancer also known as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). In this stage, the cancerous cells are contained within the part of the breast where it originated.
- Stage 1: Stage 1 is the first stage of invasive cancer. In this stage, the tumor measures up to 2 cm.
- Stage 2: In stage 2, the tumor can be found to be between 2-5 cm in length.
- Stage 3: In this stage, the tumor can be found to be 5+ cm
- Stage 4: This last and final stage describes cancer that has spread beyond the breast to the brain, liver, lungs, distant lymph nodes, bones, and skin.
What preventive measures can I take?
While breast cancer cannot entirely be prevented, there are a few proactive measures that you can adopt to try and keep breast cancer at bay. Some of these include:
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Switching from a sedentary to an active lifestyle
- Regular breast screenings are recommended if you are above the age of 40
- Monthly self-examinations if you are between 20-40 years old
With the advancement of breast cancer awareness and increased investment in research, the morbidity rate of breast cancer is steadily declining. Consult doctors online and give yourself the benefits of the doubt as the importance of early detection cannot be stressed enough.
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