Breast cancer is simply defined as a group of cancer cells (malignant tumor) that starts in the cells of the breast and caused by an uncontrolled breast cell growth. In the United States, the cancer of breast is acknowledged as the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. The disease happens mostly in women, but men can get it, too. Every year, the number of new breast cancer cases in women is 230,000, while the figure for men is only 2,300 cases.
Types of breast cancer
Breast cancers can be classified as noninvasive and invasive breast cancer.
– Noninvasive breast cancer: This type is also known as carcinoma in situ or pre-cancers. The cancerous cells usually remain in a particular location of the breast, and are not able to spread to surrounding tissue, lobules or ducts.
– Invasive (infiltrating) breast cancer: Invasive breast cancer occurs when cancerous cells spread to nearby breast tissues. They can travel to other parts of the body through the blood stream or the lymphatic system.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Early signs of breast cancer may include:
– Nipples appearance changes.
– General breast pains.
– Any nipple discharge, particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge.
– Size and shape change of the breast(s).
– Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast.
– Unexplained skin changes, like swelling, redness, skin irritation, itchiness, or rash on the breast.
Later signs of breast cancer may include:
– Dimpling of the breast surface.
– Retraction, or inward turning of the nipple
– An existing lump becoming bigger.
– Visible veins on the breast
– Changes in how the breast or nipple feels.
– Vaginal pains.
– Unexplained weight loss.
Prevention of breast cancer?
There is no sure way to prevent this disease. However, studies have shown that there is a link between the risk of this cancer and lifestyles. Here are some useful tips to reduce the risk involved with the cancer of breast:
- Controlling your weight
Overweight and obesity are proved to put people at higher risk of developing the cancer of breast. That’s why you are always recommended to maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep yourself physically active
At first, doing physical exercises regularly helps maintain a healthy weight. More importantly, the engagement in physical activities can lower overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. If you can’t manage to go to the Gym, spend at least 30 minutes walking every day.
- Limit alcohol
Alcohol is largely acknowledged to increase risk of this cancer among men and women. A reasonable amount of alcohol is good for your heart, however, try to reduce the alcohol consumption to a minimum if you don’t want to suffer from other serious diseases.
The process of breastfeeding obviously has a great influence on both mothers and children’s health. Besides, by breastfeeding, the mothers are less likely to develop the cancer of breast.
- Stop smoking
Long term smoking is not only related to lung cancer but also breast cancer in some women, particularly in premenopausal women.
- Avoid birth control pills
It is undeniable that the use of birth control pills benefits both the women and the society. However, bear in mind that an unsafety number of birth control pills can increase the risk of breast cancer. Consider other options if you want to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
- Avoid hormone replacement therapy.
You had better avoid menopausal hormone therapy as both estrogenonly hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones put you at a higher risk of breast cancer. If you must take post-menopausal hormones, try to take as little as possible.
- Get regular breast cancer screenings.
In spite of some controversy, regular breast cancer screening is undeniably the most perfect single way protecting you from this disease. If the cancer cells can be detected soon, the chance for successful treatment is higher.