Breast cancer can present with a variety of signs and symptoms. It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to breast cancer and may be caused by other benign conditions as well. If you notice any changes in your breasts, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation. Here are some common signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
Lump or thickening: A new lump or a thickened area in the breast or armpit is one of the most common signs of breast cancer. It may feel different from the surrounding breast tissue.
Breast pain or tenderness: While breast cancer is typically painless, some women may experience pain or tenderness in the breast. However, it’s important to note that breast pain is more commonly associated with benign conditions.
Changes in breast size or shape: Breast cancer may cause changes in the size or shape of the breast. This could involve swelling, shrinkage, or asymmetry between the breasts.
Nipple changes: Changes in the nipple can include nipple inversion (when the nipple turns inward), retraction (pulling inward), or changes in texture such as scaling, crusting, or ulceration.
Nipple discharge: Spontaneous nipple discharge, particularly if it is bloody or clear, could be a sign of breast cancer. However, most nipple discharge is unrelated to cancer and may be caused by other factors such as hormonal changes or benign conditions.
Skin changes: Breast cancer may cause changes in the skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, redness, or thickening. It may resemble the texture of an orange peel (peau d’orange).
Changes in breast appearance during self-examination: Regular self-examination can help in detecting any changes in your breasts. If you notice any new or unusual changes, consult a healthcare professional.
It’s important to remember that having one or more of these signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. However, if you notice any changes, it’s crucial to get them evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the cause and appropriate course of action.
WHO GETS BREAST CANCER IN WOMEN?
Breast cancer can affect women of all ages, although the risk increases with age. The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, but certain factors can increase a woman’s risk of developing the disease. Here are some key factors that can influence the likelihood of developing breast cancer:
Gender: Breast cancer primarily affects women, although men can also develop it, although it is much less common in men.
Age: The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman gets older. The majority of breast cancer cases occur in women over the age of 50.
Family history and genetics: Women with a family history of breast cancer, especially in first-degree relatives (such as a mother, sister, or daughter), have a higher risk of developing the disease. Certain genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can also increase the risk of breast cancer.
Personal history: Women who have had breast cancer in one breast have a higher risk of developing it in the other breast or experiencing a recurrence.
Hormonal factors: Prolonged exposure to oestrogen, a hormone that can stimulate the growth of breast cells, increases the risk of breast cancer. Factors that can contribute to increased oestrogen exposure include early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), and long-term hormone replacement therapy.
Reproductive history: Women who have never been pregnant or had their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Additionally, starting menstruation at an early age (before age 12) or experiencing late menopause (after age 55) can increase the risk.
Lifestyle and environmental factors: Certain lifestyle choices and environmental exposures may contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. These factors include alcohol consumption, obesity, physical inactivity, exposure to radiation, and certain occupational hazards.
It’s important to note that while these factors can influence the risk of developing breast cancer, many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors. Regular breast cancer screenings, such as mammograms and clinical breast exams, are essential for early detection and improved treatment outcomes. It’s advisable for women to consult with their healthcare provider to assess their individual risk and develop a suitable screening plan.
When does breast cancer start to develop?
Breast cancer can start to develop when there are changes or mutations in the DNA of the breast cells. These changes can cause normal breast cells to divide and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumour.
The exact timeline of breast cancer development can vary from person to person, and it is difficult to pinpoint an exact starting point. However, breast cancer typically develops over a period of time, often years, before it is detected.
Breast cancer can begin with small changes in the breast tissue that may not cause noticeable symptoms. Over time, these abnormal cells may form a non-invasive condition called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), where the cancer cells are confined to the milk ducts of the breast and have not spread into surrounding tissues.
If left untreated or undetected, breast cancer can progress and invade nearby breast tissue, leading to invasive breast cancer. From there, it can potentially spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
Early detection through regular breast cancer screening, such as mammograms and clinical breast exams, can help identify breast cancer at an earlier stage when treatment is often more effective. It is recommended that women discuss their individual risk factors and screening guidelines with their healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening plan for early detection.
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION TREATMENT
Breast cancer prevention and treatment strategies can involve several approaches. It’s important to note that while certain interventions can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, there is no guaranteed way to prevent it entirely. However, the following measures can contribute to prevention and early detection: