What is breast cancer?
Breast Cancer is a kind of cancer that develops from the breast cells. Breast Cancer usually starts off in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. A malignant tumor is known to spread to other parts of the body. Breast Cancer is the second most common cancer found in women. About 1 of 8 women will get diagnosed with Breast Cancer at some point in their life. The good thing is many women survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early enough.
It is very important for women to get a mammogram done, this can help find breast cancer and treat it early. It is important to be aware of symptoms of Breast Cancer. Symptoms include but are not limited to:
• Lump in the breast
• Bloody discharge from the nipple
• changes in the shape or texture of the nipple/breast.
• Pain in the armpit or breast that does not seem to be related to a menstrual period.
• A rash on or around a nipple
• Swelling or lump in the armpit
• The nipple-skin or breast-skin may start to peel, scale or flake
• The size/shape of the breast begins to change.
• The nipple may become sunken or converted.
The causes of breast cancer are unknown, it is hard to pin point why some people get the disease and why others don’t. What we do know is some risk factors that can impact the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Some risk factors include:
• Genetics- Women who have a family member who has had breast/ or ovarian cancer
• Getting Older- After menopause
• A history of breast cancer
• History of having certain types of breast lumps
• Dense breast tissue
• Estrogen exposure-women who started having periods at an early age of entering menopause later than usual.
• Obesity- post menopausal
• Height- Taller women have a greater chance then shorter woman
• Alcohol Consumption
• Radiation Exposure
Treatment for Breast Cancer
Treatments for Breast Cancer Once you have been diagnosed with Breast cancer it is important to start planning, first you will need to meet with a multidisciplinary team which consist of an oncologist, radiologist, pathologist, radiographer, and specialist cancer surgeon. The team will look at several factors when deciding the type of treatment that is best for you. The factors they review are: the type of breast, the stage and grade of cancer, the patient’s overall health, whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones, the patients age and the patient’s preference. Typically, the main breast cancer treatments include
• Hormone Therapy
• Targeted Therapy
Preventing Breast Cancer
The things you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer are
• Limit your Alcohol intake
• Do not smoke
• Control your weight
• Physical exercise
Types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can begin in different areas of the breast such as the ducts, the lobules or in some cases the tissue that is in between. The types of breast cancer are:
• DCIS- Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
• IDC- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
• Tubular Carcinoma of the breast
• Medullary Carcinoma of the Breast
• Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast
• Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast
• Cribriform Carcinoma of the Breast
• ILC- Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
• Inflammatory Breast Cancer
• Male Breast Cancer
• Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer
• Paget’s Disease of the nipple
• Phyllodes Tumor of the Breast
• Recurrent & Metastatic Breast Cancer
Remember it is very important to get screening and testing done especially when you suspect a symptom or when requested by your PCP. There are different ways you can get testing done such as: mammogram, breast MRI and a biopsy. The sooner you get tested the better chance you have at overcoming cancer if you become diagnosed.