Breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers that affect women, although it also occurs in men. Statistics have put the number of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer at 90 out of 10,000. This statistic puts breast cancer as the second highest killer of women. In 2015, the American Cancer Society predicted that about 300,000 women will be diagnosed with cancer and about 40,000 of them will die of the disease.
The prevalence of breast cancer remains high, and this prevalence has made it a public health issue. Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of breast cells which include hypertrophy and hyperplasia. Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of the cells, while hyperplasia is an increase in the number of the cells. Tumors develop as a result of breast cancer, and this is one of the ways of telling the development of cancer. Changes in the surface of the skin of the breast and the nipples are also symptoms of breast cancer. Because breast cancer gives off symptoms pretty early, increased emphasis has been placed on proper breast examination especially breast self-examination.
Types of breast cancer
Several types of breast cancers exist. The type of breast cancer determines the path it takes. Cancer cells may develop in the cells are at the outermost layer of the duct. Such cancers do not spread to the underlying wall of the breast and are typically easily managed with discovered early and are known as ductal carcinoma in situ. When cancer cells develop in the duct and spread to nearby tissues, it is known as invasive ductal carcinoma and is more difficult to manage than the noninvasive type.
Cancer cells can also develop in the lobules of the breast. When cancer cells develop in the lobules of the breast, they could be invasive or noninvasive. The invasive type of lobular cancer is known as invasive lobular carcinoma, while the noninvasive lobular cancer is known as lobular cancer in situ.
Inflammatory cancer cells which may develop in the breast and this type of cancer invades the lymphatic system of the body. This is the most aggressive form of cancer and is also less commonly diagnosed. Cancer cells may also develop in the nipples and areola. Although benign tumors which are harmless tumors may develop in the breast, it is important to develop any abnormal formation in the breast to a doctor.
What causes breast cancer?
Breast cancer results when certain factors cause the genetic modifications of specific genes. The genes of concern for breast cancer include BRAC 1 and 2 as well as CHEK2, p53 and PTEN. Factors that can lead to mutation of these genes include environmental factors such as pollutants and smoking and lifestyle factors.
When is one predisposed to breast cancer?
Risk factors can predispose a person to breast cancer. Such factors include migration to an area with a higher prevalence of breast cancer, increasing age, the birth of the first child at a late age and the use of exogenous hormones.
Although breast cancer still poses a global health threat, early diagnosis is important in its management.
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