It’s the month of October again, which is the month for breast cancer awareness. This month serves as a reminder that breast cancer is real and still rampant amongst our women. It’s also the month to educate both women and men about breast cancer and how to deal with it.
Cancer is currently the disease of the century, and many countries all over the globe are investing tons of money to battle this disease, which is no respecter of persons.
Cancer is the unruly growth of abnormal cells anywhere in the body. Breast cancer, which mostly affects women is a type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Commonly, cancer crops up in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are glands that manufacture milk, whilst ducts are pathways that send the milk from the glands to the nipple.
Also, cancer occurs in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within the breast.The uncontrolled cancer cells continually seize other healthy breast tissue and travel to the lymph nodes under the arms. The lymph nodes are a central pathway that enables the cancer cells to move to other parts of the body.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
The prime striking symptom of breast cancer is usually a lump. However, most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s ideal to have them checked by a doctor. Below are the most common breast cancer symptoms;
1. Breast pain
2. Breast lump
3. Swelling in the breast
4. Nipple discharge apart from breast milk
5. Bloody discharge from the nipple
6. Inverted nipple
7. Swelling under the arm
8. Changes to the appearance of the skin
Experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean one has breast cancer. For example, pain in the breast or a breast lump can be caused by a benign cyst. If you find a lump in your breast or have other symptoms, consult a doctor for further examination and testing.
Stages of Breast Cancer
Stage 0: At stage 0, cells are impeded within the ducts and do not seize surrounding tissues.
Stage 1: In this stage, the cancer cells are evident and easily detectable. However, it is confined only to the area where the first abnormal cells started developing. Stage 1 cancer can be effectively treated and the survival rate is about 90 percent.
Stage 2: cancer cells are developing at this stage and have only extended to nearby lymph nodes. Cancers at this stage are also curable and the survival rate is about 90 percent.
Stage 3: this is also known as advanced breast cancer. At this stage, the tumor is up to 5 cm across and spreads to numerous lymph nodes or the tumor is larger than 5 cm and spreads to a few lymph nodes. This implies that the cancer has spread from the breast to lymph nodes closer to that area. Survival rate at this stage is about 72 percent.
Stage 4: this is the most advanced cancer stage and usually very dangerous. The cancer spreads to distant organs such as the brain, liver, lungs and bones. The survival rate at this stage is about 22 percent.
Ways to help reduce breast cancer risk
1. Limit alcoholic intake. The more alcohol one drinks, the greater the risk of evolving breast cancer. Limit yourself to less than one drink a day.
2. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer
3. Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity weekly, and strength training at least twice a week.
4. Breastfeed. Breastfeeding plays a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast feed, the greater the productive effect.
5. Lastly, avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Try as much as possible to stay away from objects that may cause radiation. Stay away from the microwave oven when heating food, and spend less time on your cell phone.
Cancer is on the rise and killing millions of people each year. Inasmuch as an absolute cure for this disease is being researched upon, it is vital to learn about cancer, how they grow and the quickest methods to prevent it. Do not hesitate to see a doctor for more information and assistance.
1. Adam F (2019), what to know about breast cancer. Available at https://medicalnewstoday.com.
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