By Abdul Moiz,
Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancers prevalent around the world. It has been a major cause of deaths in women since its first sighting unto this world which can be traced back to the ancient Egypt at around 1600 BC. Due to the fact that awareness about Breast Cancer isn’t sufficient, the current month of October is now officially known as the National Breast Cancer Month.
Breast Cancer. What is it?
Breast Cancer is a type of cancer that is formed in the cells of the breasts, more specifically the cells in the mammary glands. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancers after skin and lung cancer with which women are being diagnosed around the world. It can occur in both men and women but is vastly common in women.
Breast Cancer depends on a few factors which contribute towards its development. These factors are;
Age: According to research, the chances or risks of developing breast cancer increase as people age, as aging reduces the ability of the body’s immune (defense) system to function properly. According to a new American Cancer Society report, a hefty 82% cancer cases are diagnosed for women older than the age of 50. The risks are even higher for those women who have crossed their 60s and are in their 70s. For women in their 80s, death is a more likely scenario.
Gender: While it is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some stage in her life, the probability risk of breast cancer in men is about 1 in 883, according to a research report by the American Cancer Society. The ACS in its report estimated that in the year 2019, almost 500 men would die owing to breast cancer, in comparison with 41,760 women.
Race: According to a striking revelation by the Breast Imaging Society’s research, there has been seen a substantial racial disparity between white and black women when it comes to deaths by breast cancer. According to the ACS report, this racial disparity has grown over the past three decades. The breast cancer rate is about 40% higher in black women than in white women.
Genetics: According to the ACS report, only about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary or caused explicitly by the occurrence of abnormal genes that are passed from parents to their children.
Location: Though it might seem strange or a bit absurd, it is actually true that breast cancer risk probability can vary depending on your location. The region, country or state you’re living in might determine your risk for developing or not developing breast cancer. Interestingly, the death rate dependent upon locality according to figures pointed out by the ACS report suggest that from the year 2013 to 2017, it declined by a probability factor of 2.1% per year in Latinx women (Latin American), 1.5% per year in Black women (African and American), 1% per year in white women (American, English, Australian etc.), and 0.8% per year in Asian women.
Types of Breast Cancer:
Although there are currently 5 different types of breast cancers known till now, two of the most common and pervasive are as follows;
- Invasive Breast Cancer: This type of breast cancer has the ability to spread outside the breast and is generally known as the most common type of Breast Cancer.
- Non-Invasive Breast Cancer: This type of breast cancer is usually shown during a mammogram. It rarely shows itself as a lump on the breast and is not capable of spreading outside the breast.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer:
Breast Cancer is based on several symptoms but the most obvious ones are as follows:
- Development of a lump or an area of thickened breast tissue as a first noticeable sign.
- Change in the shape or size of one or both of the breasts.
- Blood or fluid discharge from either of the nipples.
- A swelling or lump in either of the armpits that might be causing pain or discomfort.
- Dimpling on the outer surface of breasts.
- Rash around the nipples.
- Diving of the nipples into the breasts.
- Itching on the breasts.
- Change in color of breast skin. (Redness)
- Peeling or flaking of nipple skin.
Treatment and Precautionary measures for Breast Cancer:
Preventive and precautionary care should begin as soon as any of the above signs are seen to develop.
- The United States Preventive Services Task Force suggests that women between the ages of 50 and 70 years old should get a mammogram every other year and those women who fall under the age of 50 should make decisions owing to their personal medical histories as well as other factors.
- The American College of Radiology suggests that women with age 30 and over the age of 30 should be proactive about their health. Information about cancer history in family should be shared with any cancer specialist doctor along with going through family trees and the diagnostics involved in such.
- The stage and grade of the cancer, age, locality, gender, general heath, medical history etc. are fundamental determinants in finding the right kind of treatment for breast cancer. Treatments might include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or biological therapy (targeted therapy).
Awareness about Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer awareness is a world-wide effort to raise serious concern, knowledge and awareness regarding breast cancer and to eliminate the stigmas attached to it through proper information and knowledge of its symptoms and treatments. The pink color is associated with the breast cancer campaign and the pink ribbon is the most commonly perceived emblem of breast cancer awareness.
From all of this, it is raised as a concern that we too put our part in it by spreading awareness about its symptoms and different treatments so that the stereotypical stigmas attached with it are perished over time and a keen sense of its sensitivity is made to prevail in the world.