What is breast cancer?A malignant tumor or the uncontrolled growth of the breast cells is breast cancer. Occurring usually in the lobules and the passages of milk, they invade the healthy cells and spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, breast cancer can also affect the connecting tissues of the breast.
Risk Factors of Breast CancerThere are several identified risk factors of breast cancer in women.
- • Family History.
- • Mutations in genes like BRCA1, BRCA2, and P53.
- • Long time exposure to endogenous estrogens.
- • Early menarche.
- • Late menopause.
- • Oral Contraceptives.
- • Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Breast cancer is classified into Stage 0, IA, IB, IIA, IIB, IIIA, IIIB, IIIC, and Stage IV. Each stage marks the extent of metastasis with the final stage signifying metastasis to other parts of the body. It is this final stage that is lethal and the survival rates are very low.
It is of high importance that women across nations be aware of the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer in order to increase the survival rates and maybe avoid it.Here are five alarming signs of breast cancer, which none should ignore.
1.Breast Lumps or Masses:This is one of the most common symptoms that appear in cases of breast cancer. One has to be worried if the lump is a new one, and is painless. Also, these lumps tend to have irregular edges, tender, soft or even rounded. It’s very important that any new mass or lump that appears in the breast be checked and one should contact a healthcare provider immediately.
2.Swelling to whole or part of the breast:Any kind of swelling of a part of the breast or the entire breast has to be taken seriously. Though this can happen in other conditions like infections or even pregnancy, it is important to look for other symptoms like irritation of the breast skin, and/or dimpling of it. A self breast examination would help notice any unusual changes. If so, women should immediately contact a doctor.
3.Changes in the skin of the breast can also be an indicator of breast cancer. These include:
- • Irritation/redness of the skin.
- • Thickening of skin.
- • Dimpling of breast tissue.
- • Change in the texture of the skin.
4.Change in the Nipple:Any kind of abnormal discharge from the nipple apart from milk is to be taken seriously. Also, an inversion of the nipple might also be a symptom of breast cancer. Pain in the nipple is also something that needs medical attention.
5.Lump in the Underarm:When there is a lump in the underarm, there is a good chance that it might be related to the breasts. The tissue of the breast extends to the underarms. Also, cancer of the breast can spread through the lymph nodes present under the arms. Women need to undergo regular mammograms along with lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, fish, and low fat products to reduce the risk factors.