Breast Cancer definition.
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that grows in the cells of the breasts. It is prevalent in women. Breast cancer is one of the major cause of deaths in women.
Over hundred thousand deaths from breast cancer are recorded every year in Nigeria. Majority of breast cancer sufferers are women. Only 1% of the male population actually develop breast cancers. Breast Cancer is detected through mammograms, Self-Breast Examination and biopsies.
Breast Cancer: A woman feeling her breast. Image source: Google.
Types of breast cancers.
Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ.
This type of breast cancer is an early form of breast cancer where the precancerous cells begin their growth in the breast milk duct. DCIS is very treatable if diagnosed early. It is only present in the milk ducts. It stays in the original position of its growth. (In-Situ).
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
In this type of breast cancer, the precancerous cells begin to spread to other cells of the body. Hence the use of the term “invasive”. This type of breast cancer is very common. It forms 70-80% of all recorded breast cancer cases. It affects men too.
Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ.
This type of breast cancer is in the milk production glands of the breasts called the lobules. LCIS hardly becomes invasive cancer. But there is a high risk of developing it in the second breast once it begins to grow in the first.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
This type of breast cancer lacks the three main hormones that speed up the rate of growth of breast cancer. Estrogen, progesterone and Hormone Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2. This implies that the use of common anti-cancer drugs that target hormones cannot fight this type of breast cancer. The most effective treatment is Chemotherapy.
This type of breast cancer is the most aggressive type of breast cancer. It causes swelling and redness of the breasts.
Symptoms of breast cancer.
- Breast lumps. Like the saying goes, every lump is cancerous until otherwise proven.
- Mastalgia or breast pain.
- Changes in the areola and the Montgomery glands. https://www.verywellhealth.com/areola-definition-429956
- Pains in the vagina
- Swollen breasts.
There are numerous symptoms of breast cancer. Some of which may not be example. For example, a fibroadenodema which is a benign lump in the breast could cause anxiety and fearful presumptions about breast cancer. This is why a mammogram is highly encouraged on noticing any anomaly in the breasts.
Also, self breast examination is highly encouraged.
Breast Self Examination.
This is the self examination of the breasts for any physical change in the breasts.
Treatment of Breast Cancer
The type of treatment administered depends on the type of breast cancer.
- Targeted therapy is a kind of breast cancer treatment that focuses on watching the life activities of the cancer cells, their growth, division and spread. This knowledge equips the doctors with the best method to fight the can’t cells.
- Radiation Therapy, another type of treatment uses high doses of radiation like the gamma radiation to shrink and kill the cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy. This type of breast cancer treatment helps the immune system fight against cancer.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol. The more alcohol consumed, the higher the risks of developing breast cancer.
- Breast – feeding. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more protection she has against breast cancer.
- Healthy body weight. Obesity increases the risks of developing breast cancer. Most especially in older women.
- Radiation. The more exposed a woman is to radiations, the greater her risks of developing breast cancer. Radiations have the ability of mutating cells.
- Reduce the use of contraceptives and IUDs(Intrauterine Devices). Studies show that the use of Birth Control pills and IUDs increase the risks of breast cancer. But this risk is decreased when the usage is stopped.