Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Breast cancer can occur both men and women, but it’s far more common in women. In fact, Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.
However, breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths associated with this disease is steadily declining, largely due to factors such as:
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast tissue mutate and divide rapidly. This excessive cell growth causes cancer because the tumor uses nutrients and energy and deprives the cells around it.
Typically, the breast cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within the breast.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
The following steps may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Several diagnostic tests and procedures including below help to confirm a diagnosis.
Physical examination of the breast: The doctor will check the breasts for lumps and other symptoms.
Mammogram: A type of X-ray that helps the doctor to detect any lumps or abnormalities in the breast.
Ultrasound: Helps the doctor to differentiate between a solid mass and a fluid-filled cyst.
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines different images of the breast to help a doctor identify cancer or other abnormalities.
FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology): A fine-gauge needle is used to remove fluid from the breast tissue for microscopic evaluation.
Biopsy: A sample of tissue is extracted and analyzed in a laboratory to indicate the type of cancer, stage of cancer, size of the tumor, invasive or non-invasive.
Treatment depends on several factors and may include: