BREAST CANCER—DANGEROUS CANCER
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. The abnormal cells are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor (a collection of cancer cells) arising from the cells of the breast. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women it can also affect men. This article deals with breast cancer in women. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
There are many risk factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer. Although we know some of these risk factors, we don't know how these factors cause the development of a cancer cell. Some of the breast cancer risk factors can be modified (such as alcohol use) while others cannot be influenced (such as age). It is important to discuss these risks with your health-care provider anytime new therapies are started (for example, postmenopausal hormone therapy). The following are risk factors for breast cancer:
1. Age: The chances of breast cancer increase as you get older.
2. Family history: The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have relatives with the disease. Having a close relative with the disease (sister, mother, daughter) doubles a woman's risk.
3. Personal history: Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast increases the risk of cancer in the other breast or the chance of an additional cancer in the original breast.
4. Women diagnosed with certain benign breast conditions have an increased risk of breast cancer. These include atypical hyperplasia, a condition in which there is abnormal proliferation of breast cells but no cancer has developed.
5. Menstruatiion: Women who started their menstrual cycle at a younger age (before 12) or went through menopause later (after 55) have a slightly increased risk.
6. Breast tissue: Women with dense breast tissue (as documented by mammogram) have a higher risk of breast cancer.
7. Having no children or the first child after age 30 increases the risk of breast cancer.
8. Breast feedingfor one and a half to two years might slightly lower the risk of breast cancer.
9. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer.
10. Use of oral contraceptives in the last 10 years increases the risk of breast cancer.
11. Using combined hormone therapy after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer.
12. Alcohol use increases the risk of breast cancer, and this seems to be proportional to the amount of alcohol used.
The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast. In addition, the following are possible signs of breast cancer:
1. Nipple discharge or redness
2. Breast or nipple pain
3. Swelling of part of the breast or dimpling
Some ways to treat breast cancer:
Surgery, a breast cancer treatment, is usually the first option in the fight against it. Many factors, such as the cancer’s stage and its personality, contribute to surgery decisions. It also depends on your acceptability. Based on these factors, your doctor will determine what kind of surgery is the most appropriate for you.
Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy is a highly effective and targeted breast cancer treatment to destroy cancerous cells found in the breast. There may still be traces of cancerous cells that are stuck after surgery. It reduces the recurrence risk by 70%. Although many people fear this treatment method, radiation therapy is easily tolerated. The side effects are limited to only the treated part. Radiation treatments are overseen by a specialized radiation oncologist, a radiation therapy cancer doctor.
Chemotherapy is a breast cancer treatment that uses medicine to destroy and weaken cancerous cells in the body. It destroys cells at the original cancer area and even those cells that may have spread to other body parts. Also known as chemo, it is a systemic therapy which combines 2 or more medicines. It goes through the bloodstream and affects the whole body. Chemo is used to treat this disease in its early stage. It gets rid of any traces of cancerous cells that may have been left behind after surgery and reduces the cancer recurrence risk. It is also used to treat the cancer in its advanced stage. It damages or destroys the cancerous cells. In some cases, chemo is administered to shrink the tumor before surgery.
4. Hormonal Therapy
Medicine of hormonal therapy is a breast cancer treatment that treats this disease by lowering the hormone estrogen levels in the body. It also blocks the estrogen action of the cells. Hormonal therapy medicines come in several types. They are selective receptor estrogen modulators, aromatize inhibitors, and estrogen receptor down regulators.
5. Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy, also known as immune targeted therapy, is a breast cancer treatment that targets specific cancerous cells characteristics, such as protein allows the cancerous cells to thrive and grow in an abnormal or rapid way. Compared to chemo, it is generally less likely to harm healthy and normal healthy cells. Targeted therapies are antibodies that work exactly like the antibodies produced by our body’s immune systems. The 3 targeted therapies that doctors use for breast cancer treatment are Avastin, Herceptin, and Tykerb.