Breast cancer is cancer that develops from the breast tissue. It is the most common type of cancer among women. This form of cancer occurs when breast tissue changes (or mutates) and keeps reproducing. This abnormal cell usually cluster together to form a tumor.
A tumor is malignant (cancerous) when these abnormal cells invade other parts of the breast or spread to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system which can cause paralysis. Breast cancer usually starts in the milk-producing glands of the breast (called labules) or the tube-shaped ducts that carry milk from the labules to the nipple. Less often, cancer begins in the fatty and fibrous connective tissue of the breast.
Of recent, many breast cancer awareness campaigns have been held, educating women on breast cancer, the importance of early detections and its dangers but still, breast cancer remains one of the commonest cancers affecting women worldwide. It is painful that many women die from this disease daily. Is it that these campaigns are not yielding results or women are not conscious of their health? As a woman, when was the last time you had a mammogram? Perhaps having the details in full about breast cancer will help us to pay rapt attention to this deadly disease.
CAUSES OF BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer is caused by a genetic mutation in the DNA of breast cancer cells.
However, there are several risk factors for breast cancer and they include:
Breast cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Knowing what your breast normally look or feel like may help you recognize possible signs and symptoms that are not common to you. If any alteration is noticed, consult your doctor.
An individual can have breast cancer without feeling anything out of the ordinary; but if you find an area of thickening breast tissue, a lump in your breast (usually painless, but not always) or an enlarged underarm lymph node; then you have to consult your doctor.
STAGES OF BREAST CANCER
Stage 0 breast cancers (also called pre-cancer): this is the earliest stage of breast cancer. It involves abnormal cells that have not spread into breast tissue from the ducts or lobules where they began.
Stage 1 breast cancer: this is an invasive cancer meaning it is invading healthy breast tissue but it has not spread outside the breast.
Stage 2 breast cancer: at stage 2, breast cancer is growing but is only in the breast or nearby lymph nodes. This stage has two categories; 2A and 2B.
Stage 3 breast cancer: stage 3 breast cancer is an advanced cancer. It’s in the lymph nodes but has spread to other organs. This the stage is divided into three categories, 3A, 3B and 3C, based on the size of the tumor and how many and which lymph nodes are involved.
Stage 4 breast cancer: at stage 4, breast cancer has traveled to distant sites in the body, often the bones, liver, brain or lungs. This is called metastatic breast cancer.