Breast Cancer

Introduction

Breast cancer is becoming a common infection caused by cancerous cells. The cells around the breast tissue are usually inflamed. In most cases, the internal walls of the milk duct region are often affected (Carlson et al., 2009). Additionally, the lobules that perform the role of transferring milk to the ducts may also be inflamed with breast cancer cells.

It is also pertinent to note that the ductal carcinomas are the type of cancers that emanate from the ducts. On the other hand, the lobular carcinomas are the type of cancers that sprout out from the lobules. Both mammals and human beings may contract breast cancer. Besides, most cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed with more women than men (Sariego, 2010).

Facts and Causes

The nature of treatment adopted for breast cancer is largely determined by the rate of growth and the development stage of the cancerous cells. Some of the treatment options include immunotherapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, drugs, and surgery (MedicineNet.com, 2013). However, surgical extraction of the affected breast tissue remains as the most effective and secure medical method of treating breast cancer.

It is also worth to mention that there are hormones that easily trigger breast cancer. These include progesterone and estrogen. When the hormonal effects of these chemical substances are blocked, it makes it quite easy to treat breast cancer that falls within this category.

About 23% of all incidences of cancer globally are accounted for by breast cancer. This excludes skin-related cancers that affect women (Carlson et al., 2009). About 450,000 deaths were caused by incidents of breast cancer in 2008 alone. Conclusive research studies have documented that women have 100 times more chances than men of developing breast cancer. However, the delay occasioned by diagnosis is the major cause of poor outcomes among men.

The geographical positioning of the healthcare recipient, treatment options adopted, the stage and type of cancer are the key determinants of the survival rates, and prognosis of breast cancer. It is without a doubt that the survival rate in developed countries is higher than in under-developed or developing countries (Florescu et al., 2011). This reality can be explained by the fact that there are improved and efficient diagnoses and treatment options in the industrialized world compared to most struggling economies in the Third World countries. For instance, over 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England can live for yet another five years.

Risk Factors

There are two main risk factors in the etiology and development of breast cancer. These are old age and female sex. However, obesity, diet, high hormone levels, breastfeeding, or lack of child bearing are also other potential risk factors of breast cancer. These risk factors can also be categorized into three main groups, namely, lifestyle, genetics, and medical conditions.

To begin with, tobacco smoking is a key risk factor that exposes individuals to higher chances of breast cancer. In terms of breast feeding and breast cancer, there is still unconcluded evidence whether there is any link between the two elements (Sariego, 2010). Nonetheless, recent studies have revealed that breast feeding exercise lowers the chances of contracting breast cancer among females because the accumulation of milk in the mammary glands is significantly reduced.

Dietary intake with high-fat content is a major predisposing and risk factor for breast cancer. On the same note, individuals who take foods rich in fats are highly likely to be obese, especially if physical exercise is not put in place. Moreover, the heavy consumption of alcohol also contributes significantly towards the development of breast cancer. Still, on nutrition, the deficiency of dietary iodine is also a risk factor to reckon with in breast cancer.

Symptoms and Signs

It is vital to mention that regular medical checks are recommended early enough so that any inherent signs and symptoms can be detected at the initial stages for ease of treatment (Florescu et al., 2011). However, one of the common physical symptoms to be wary of is the development of a typical lump that is unique. The lymph nodes can also develop some lumps that should be screened for cancer. In any case, most of the women diagnosed with breast cancer experienced the growth of lumps either in their armpits (lymph nodes) or breasts.

There are instances when breast cancer can be noted due to the inflammation of the breast. This may include symptoms such as nipple inversion, swelling, pain, and itching around the breast regions. Also, the breast may become warm and reddish. Detection of breast cancer can be dangerously delayed in the absence of lumps (MedicineNet.com, 2013).

Paget’s disease of the breast is also a complex symptom of breast cancer. There are eczematous skin changes associated with this disease. The nipple skin is usually flaked slightly. If the condition persists for a long time, symptoms such as increased sensitivity, itching, and tingling may be noted. The nipple can also experience mild pain, burning, and occasional discharges.

Can it be prevented?

It is indeed true that breast cancer can be prevented by adopting quite a several preventive measures. To begin with, it is vital to maintain healthy nutrition. This can be achieved by reducing the amount of fat intake, undertaking breastfeeding for children, regular physical exercises, as well as avoiding smoking and heavy drinking of alcohol (Buchholz, 2009).

Also, it is necessary to maintain physical wellbeing by avoiding obesity. These measures can significantly lower the risk factors of contracting breast cancer. One of the easiest preventive measures is taking a light walking exercise. Although most women who are at high risk of breast cancer may ignore this measure, empirical research statistics indicate that it is capable of reducing incidences of breast cancer by up to 38% in the United States. In any case, women in various age categories can do physical exercise as one way of maintaining physical fitness (Florescu et al., 2011).

Before the development of breast cancer to a full-blown level whereby physical signs and symptoms can be detected, healthy individuals can be taken through breast cancer screening. Outcomes can be improved remarkably when early detection is carried out through a screening process. Some of the viable screening options that have been successfully employed include magnetic resonance imaging, ultra sound, genetic screening, mammography, and breast examinations, either personally or clinically (MedicineNet.com, 2013).

Conclusion

In recap, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that has caused high mortality rates in the past. While the risk factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, hormones, and genetic makeup have continued to massively expose individuals to breast cancer, there are quite a several preventive and curative measures that can be put in place. From the discussion above, a healthy diet rich in iodine and low in animal fats is highly recommended. Individuals who are at high risk of contracting breast cancer are also advised to undertake light physical exercise regularly to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).

References

Buchholz, T.A. (2009). Radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer after breast- conserving surgery. N. Engl. J. Med. 360 (1): 63–70.

Carlson, R. W. et al. (2009). Breast cancer. Clinical practice guidelines in oncology. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN 7 (2): 122– 192.

Florescu, A. et al. (2011). Immune therapy for breast cancer in 2010—hype or hope?. Current Oncology 18 (1): e9–e18.

MedicineNet.com (2013). Breast Cancer.

Sariego, J. (2010). Breast cancer in the young patient. The American surgeon 76 (12): 1397–1401.