One out of 8 women living in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
Suppose someone you care about has been recently identified with breast cancer. In that case, this article will provide all you need to know, from the best way to deal with the diagnosis to know all the options for treatment and the most inspiring stories of patients.
1. What is breast cancer?
Like all cancers abnormal cells, cancerous cells start to divide, develop and inflict harm on tissues around them. If the process begins in the breast area, it’s referred to as cancer of the breast. The majority of breast tumors originate in either the milk-producing glands in the breast (called”lobules”) or in the tube-shaped ducts, which carry milk from glands to the nipple. The cancers that develop within the breast’s fatty or fibrous connective tissue are less often. In most cases, abnormal cells are grouped close, forming a tumor.
Although breast cancer is more prevalent in females, males can be affected by breast cancer.
It could start with a lump that you notice in your breast, or it could be an inverted nipple or skin thickening, or small white spots on a mammogram. (Are all of these signs the same for males?) And then you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. A significant diagnosis such as that may take a while to be processed. Following the diagnosis of skin cancer is the most frequent cancer among women. People diagnosed may recently be concerned about what it can mean for their health and daily life.
The positive side is that thanks to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments, your chances of regaining health are higher than ever before. Treatment protocols are more individualized than they used to be, including chemotherapy. Women who have this cancer that has spread to other body parts live longer. However, men suffer a lower general survival rate as compared with women. Less than one percent of breast cancer cases are found in males; however, their mortality rates are higher at all stages in cancer than females scientists are trying to determine the reasons.
“When I heard the C word, I initially thought to myself, game over,” says Katherine Han, of the moment she was diagnosed in the year 2020. “Eventually, that feeling would change to game changer and wake-up call.“
There are various kinds of cancers that affect women and many ways to classify them. The most common breast cancers are:
- Ductal cancer in Situ ( DCIS) is early-stage non-invasive breast cancer that is not invasive.
- Invasive ductal cancer (IDC) is an illness that is rooted in the milk duct inside the breast. It’s the most prevalent kind of cancer in the breast.
- Invasive lobular cancer (ILC) develops within the milk-producing lobules.
A few of them are not common. For example, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an uncommon-but-aggressive form that tends to occur in women younger than 40.
they are also classified according to their stage. Seven main characteristics determine the stage of the tumor:
- Size of the tumor
- Status of lymph nodes (number and where the lymph nodes are affected)
- Metastasis (spread to other organs)
- Grade of Tumor (how the tumor cells compared to the normal cells)
- Estrogen-receptor status
- Progesterone-receptor status
- HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) status
The symptoms of breast cancer can vary, and some patients may not show any signs at all, particularly when the disease is in its early stages. This is the reason regular screening mammograms are crucial. These scans could reveal tiny tumors before you can feel them. But mammography isn’t completely foolproof, and you should be aware of your breasts, too, of what’s normal compared to what’s. Be aware of any changes to your breasts you notice and be aware of the following possible warning symptoms:
- The appearance of a new lump has appeared in the armpit or armpit
- A change in the size or shape of the breast (swelling, thickening, or shrinkage–especially in one breast)
- Skin pitting or dimpling (like the orange peel)
- Dry, red, flaking, or thickened nipple the breast skin
- Nipple or breast pain
- A nipple that pulls or rotates inwards
- Nipple discharge
- Lymph nodes that are swollen under the arm or around the collarbone.
Breast cancer that is advanced stage is not curable, but there are options to extend the life and reduce symptoms.
4. Causes of Breast Cancer
Its process begins when tumors expand and divide with no pause. The abnormal cells create an accumulation of tissue known as the tumor. Why do normal breast cells change? Sometimes, genetic mutations passed down through the family (passed through families) can cause breast cancer. Most often, DNA damage can be sustained at some point in a person’s life. This could be because of circumstances or lifestyle.
A lot of women’s cancer risk factors are beyond your control. They include:
- Womanhood is a privilege.
- Being a woman with thick breasts.
- Certain genes can be passed down through inheritance (such as BRCA1, BRCA1, and BRCA2).
- A family or personal background for breast cancer.
- The first period is early (before reaching age 12) and later menopausal (after 55).
- A benign breast issue.
- Chest radiation.
- Exposure to the substance DES (short for diethylstilbestrol, an artificial estrogen).
Other risk factors could be changeable, for example:
- Alcohol consumption (the higher the quantity you drink), the greater the chance).
- Being overweight or obese.
- Being sedentary.
- Doing not have children.
- It is not recommended to breastfeed.
- Utilizing hormones for contraceptives to control birth.
- Utilizing hormone therapy following menopausal.
If you have any of the risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop breast cancer.
from our partner
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- I Survived Breast Cancer and Then Traveled the World
- Nine Ways to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
- The Health Checks to Prioritize in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s
5. Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Doctors can use a variety of methods and tests to detect breast cancer. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should undergo mammograms annually, but you could begin getting tested from 40. Common diagnostics include:
- Health history and physical exam
- Examen of the breast
When a diagnosis has been confirmed, further tests and procedures could be conducted to determine the severity of the disease and identify characteristics of cancer, which can help plan treatment. This could include:
- Additional imaging tests
- Blood tests
- Bone scan
- Tests in the lab to determine hormone and progesterone receptors.
- Laboratory testing to find the HER2 gene and the HER2 protein
- Multigene testing for identifying mutations in genes that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 BRCA1, PALB2)
Treatment for breast cancer is different based on the type of cancer, its size, its stage and the sensitivity to hormones, the person’s age, health, and other factors. If you are diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, then you could receive one or more of the following treatments:
Surgery There is a chance that you’ll need an operation to reduce breast size (such as lumpectomy) or an operation called a mastectomy.
Therapy for radiation Options is external beam radiation as well as brachytherapy.
Chemotherapy It is administered before or following surgery or as the primary treatment. (Not everyone needs chemotherapy.)
Hormone therapy These medications help treat tumors sensitive to hormones. Tamoxifen can, for instance, block estrogen receptors in the breast cancer cell.
Therapeutically targeted The drugs targeted cancer-cell-specific features. Herceptin is one drug that is a targeted therapy for breast cancers with HER2-positive.
Immunotherapy: refers to the use of medicines that stimulate an immune system to fight cancerous cells, including immune checkpoint blockers.
More information to Consider
- How to Find a Comfortable Bra After a Mastectomy
- Redefining My Style After Breast Cancer
- This mom suffering from Stage 4 of Breast Cancer mentors young women with the same cancer: “It’s Easy to Break. I Want to Be a Reinforcement.’
- Mom of 2021 Gerber Spokesbaby Talks Road to Welcoming Son After Breast Cancer Diagnosis: ‘It Was Hard’
- What It’s Like to Return to Sex After Breast Cancer
- Here’s What It’s Like To Navigate The Pandemic While Battling Breast Cancer
- 9 Best Gifts for a Friend Who Is Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
- 5 Foods to Reduce Inflammation During Cancer Treatment
- 4 Foods to Eat Every Day Post Cancer
There’s no method to avoid this cancer. However, there are things you can do in your daily life to reduce your risk of getting it:
- Maintain an ideal weight: Being overweight can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Engage in regular exercise: Being physically active will lower the risk of breast cancer. It is recommended to do an average of 150- 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or up to 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise every week.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol: Alcohol can be an indicator of breast cancer in women. It’s recommended to limit your drinking to a maximum of one drink each day.
- Have mammograms if recommended by your doctor. Women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms annually; women 55 or older may undergo mammograms every two years.
- Do regular self-exams: Becoming familiar with your breasts will allow you to detect any changes that occur, and you can then inform your physician.
- Explore non-hormonal alternatives for treating menopausal symptoms: Utilizing hormone therapy following menopausal may increase the chance of developing breast cancer.
- Think about the benefits of breastfeeding Breastfeeding mothers who are allowed to or decide to breastfeed following the birth could lower their risk of this cancer.