Breast cancer is a disease where the breast cells show an abnormal growth. It is the most common type of cancer amongst the women worldwide. Nearly 2 million cases of this cancer are diagnosed globally every year. But this cancer is not solely diagnosed in women but in men too. About 1% of all the cases diagnosed are men with breast cancer.
An individual goes through the following diagnostic tests and procedures to confirm if they have developed a breast cancer;
- The doctor will completely examine the breast and look for any signs of lumps, swelling, sinking of the skin, discoloration of skin, abnormal secretions etc.
- Different tests will be run including mammography, ultrasound and MRI. Mammography is a type of x-ray which produces images of the whole area. Ultrasound helps a doctor locate a hard mass or a watery mass known as cyst. However, a MRI also known as the magnetic resonance imaging takes different images from the breast and combines it to make the doctor identify any abnormality.
- Doctor will do a biopsy in which he will extract a sample of tissues and send it for a laboratory analysis.
Consult your doctor as soon as you see or fee any of the symptoms mentioned below;
- Continuous pain in the armpits or around the breast area that does not go away with the monthly cycle
- Abnormal discharge from the nipple (puss or blood)
- Change in the shape or size of breast
- A rash around the nipples
- Orange peel like texture of the skin of breasts
- Discoloration of breasts
- Peeling or scaling of the skin on the nipple or breast
- Breast lumps
- Inverted or retracted nipple
Factors adding up to the risk
- By the age of 20 people have a 0.06% risk of developing a breast cancer while at the age of 70 there is a 3.84% risk comparatively.
- Men and women who have had a breast cancer in the past.
- More exposure to estrogen.
- Men and women who are overweight specially the women who have gained weight after their menopause.
- Regular high amounts of alcohol consumption.
- Different hormones treatments like hormone replacement therapy etc.
- Undergoing radiation treatment for other types of cancers.
Treatment depends upon different factors like the health and age of person, the patient’s sensitivity level to the hormones and most importantly the type and stage of cancer. Different treatments of breast cancer include;
- Targeted drug therapy/biological therapy
- Hormone therapy
There is honestly no way to prevent breast cancer but there are certain precautions you can take to avoid the risk of breast cancer. These precautions include;
- Eating healthy food which includes a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoiding excessive amount of alcohol intake.
- Keeping a healthy body mass index (BMI).
- Exercising enough to keep your body muscles relaxed.
Doctors recommend examination of breasts, area around breasts and armpits thoroughly once after a week. This can help diagnose the problem while it’s in early stages. This way treatment can be started before it spreads further. Keep examining yourself and if you find anything unusual, please consult a specialist as soon as possible but most of all spread awareness about breast cancer as much as you can!