As the name suggests breast cancer is the cancer that develops in the breast. It is marked by a change in the size or shape of the breast, formation of dimples on the skin, secretion of fluid from nipple or inflamed or scaly or red skin. People on the later stage of the disease may also experience pain in the bones, shortness of breath, swelling in lymph nodes or yellow skin.
Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
- Sore nipples or a lump or stiffening in or near the breast or the underarm area.
- Any variation in the texture of the skin or an increase in the pores of the skin of breast.
- If you notice any lump in your breast make sure to get it checked.
- Sudden change in the shape or size of the breast.
- Formation of dimples on the breast.
- Inexplicable swelling on the breast.
- Inexplicable reduction in the size of breast.
- Asymmetrical breasts i.e. one breast is slightly smaller than the other one.
- Nipple that is inverted or inward.
- If either the nipple, the areola or the skin of the breast in general is red, scaly or swollen.
- Any sort of discharge from the nipple needs immediate attention and
must be checked for breast cancer.
There are several factors that may lead to breast cancer. The main causes of breast cancer are as follows:
1. Age- Women falling in the 50+ age group are more likely to develop breast cancer.
2. Genetics- Women who have a close relative have or had breast cancer are prone to the development of breast cancer. But if two women from the same family are suffering from cancer it does not mean that this disease runs in their family. It is not hereditary in nature. The women who have attained the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at a higher risk of acquiring breast or ovarian cancer. These may or may not be inherited. One more gene that is highly associated with breast cancer is TP53.
3. History of Cancer- Women who have had a history in breast cancer are more likely to redevelop the disease when compared to women who have no history of the breast cancer, even when their past cancer encounter was non- invasive.
4. Breast Lumps- Women who have had any type of benign breast lumps are more exposed to the chances of developing breast cancer.
5. Dense Breast Tissue- Women with dense breast tissues are at a higher risk of acquiring this disease.
6. Obesity- Women who gain excess weight or become obese after menopause are more likely at a higher risk of developing cancer. The reason behind this is that obese menopausal women have higher level of estrogen which may be the underlying cause.
7. Exposure to Radiations- X- rays and CT scans increase the chances of development of breast cancer in women to some extent.