Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Breast Cancer - Ways to Prevent and Detect the Deadly Disease

Breast Cancer Awareness Month marks the effort to raise awareness on the cause and reduce the stigma through encouragement on diagnosis, education on symptoms and treatment of ailment.

According to the research conducted by IARC Globocan, 2018, around 2.1 million new cases of breast cancer and 627000 deaths were recorded worldwide. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women that is affecting them rigorously. But the good news is early diagnosis and treatments have improved the survival rates now.

This leads to an idea of spreading more and more awareness about breast cancer in the mass. So, from 1985, October month has been observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). It is an annual international health campaign that was started under the partnership between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries to educate women about breast cancer symptoms and treatments.

Since long various health charities, NGOs, hospitals, government agencies, and individuals are working together to educate people about early detection and prevention of breast cancer. Awareness program includes the creation and distribution of promotional material, broachers, educational material, clinical programs, health checkups and more. The main motive behind BCAM is to encourage women to do self-checkups and to take preventions for breast cancer.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breast and grow out of control. It can spread to different parts of the breast. Gradually, can also blowout to other parts of the body through blood and lymph vessels. The breast has three main parts lobules that produce milk, ducts are the tubes that carry milk and connective tissue holds everything together.

Most breast tumor starts in the ducts that are called ductal cancers. Tumor in lobules is known as lobules cancer. It’s important to know that not all breast lumps are cancerous. Some are non-cancerous but with abnormal growth. But they do not spread outside the breast and are not life threating. That’s why it’s advisable to consult with a doctor once you notice any kind of below- mentioned symptoms.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Every year throughout October, various science forums, informational pamphlets, and educational programs are used to circulate information about breast cancer symptoms. Though symptoms may vary from female to female, some most common warning signs are:

  • Swelling, redness or pain in one or both breasts
  • Increase size or change in the shape of the breast
  • Changes in the color of nipples
  • Inverted nipple
  • Fluid discharge from nipples
  • Lumps felt inside the breast

To learn and get more and more information about symptoms. Visit a doctor for a complete examination and consult that whatever you notice is a cause of concern.

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Causes of Breast Cancer

Researchers have identified some factors that may cause breast cancer. But still, there are cases where women out of these causes diagnosed with cancer. So, here are some factors that may cause breast cancer:

  • Females are more likely to develop breast cancer than men
  • Inherited mutated genes such as gene 1 (BRCA 1) and gene 2 (BRCA 2) increase the risk
  • One breast is already affected then it increased the risk of developing cancer in the other breast
  • Radiation treatments also cause cancer
  • Obesity also increases the chances of breast cancer
  • Mensuration or menopause at a very early or older age can develop cancer
  • Late pregnancy can also cause cancer amongst female
  • Consumption of alcohol also put women at high risk of developing a tumor in the breast
  • Women who take hormone replacement therapy are at higher risk.

Treatment of Breast Cancer

The more the breast cancer has spread the more treatment a woman will likely need. But the treatment options depend on the patient’s preference, stage, and doctor’s opinion. Below are the treatment options that you can read.

  1. Mastectomy: It is part of breast care treatment. It is a surgery that surgeons recommend after analyzing the stage of cancer. Under this whole affected breast is removed. So that it also lessens the chances of spreading cancer in another breast or rest of the body.
  2. Breast-Conserving Surgery: Under this treatment, only the affected part of the breast is removed with surgery. The goal of this surgery is to remove cancer and only surrounding normal tissue and conserve the rest parts of the breast.
  3. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy recommends by the oncologists after surgery. The need for radiation depends on whether cancer has spread only in the breast or other parts of the body as well. Patients can get either one or a combination of different types of radiations. The high-energy rays use in the treatment help to destroy cancer cells.
  4. Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy anti-cancer drugs injected into the body to destroys cancer cells after surgery. Not all women require chemotherapy. It can be done before and after the surgery as recommended by the oncologists. Before surgery, doctors try to shrink the tumor with the help of anti-cancer drugs. So that surgery will become less complicated. After surgery, it is used to kill the cancer cells that might be left behind after surgery.
  5. Hormone Therapy: It is a form of systemic therapy and useful for the treatment of breast cancer that is affected by hormones in the blood. Breast cancer cells(ER-Positive and PR Positive) have receptors that are attached to estrogen, that grow cancer cells in the breast. In this treatment, the drug reaches cancer cells in the entire body. This is used after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
  6. Immunotherapy: Here oncologists use medicines to stimulate the patient’s immune system to diagnose and destroy cancer cells. Under this treatment, antibodies are used to treat cancer that they can be designed to attack the cancer cell. These days it has become an important cancer treatment.

Prevention of Breast Cancer

One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Doctors say that breast cancer prevention always starts with a healthy lifestyle. Read the below points and understand how to lower your breast cancer risk.

  • Limit your alcohol consumption and don’t smoke
  • Control your weight gain with a healthy diet and exercise
  • Start breastfeeding, the longer you feed your child the greater the chances of being protective
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and pollution
  • Prevent post-menopausal hormone therapy
  • Breast cancer screening with mammography also saves lives
  • Genetic counseling and check your family history.
  • Close observation to look at early signs.

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