Breast cancer is a disease in which the mammary cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, producing a malign tumor. What begins as a slight anomaly evolves in its severity. It invades tissues; and finally, spreads to other parts of the body.
Types of breast cancer:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: the cancerous cells multiply out of the ducts and invade other parts of the mammary tissue. These invasive cancerous cells can also spread to other areas of the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma: the cancerous cells spread from the lobules to the nearest mammary tissues. These invasive cancerous cells can also attack other parts of the body.
Prevention, against this cancer as with any other, consists in taking ideal measures to reduce the probability of obtaining a positive diagnosis. There are many factors that can influence the risk of developing breast cancer. Some of these factors cannot be changed, but you can reduce the risk of developing it by taking care of your health in the following ways:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly (at least four hours per week).
- Avoiding alcoholic drinks and/or limiting them to one per day.
- Avoiding exposure to chemical substances that interfere with the body’s normal functioning.
- Limiting your exposure to radiation if not medically necessary.
- If you are receiving, or if you have been told to receive, hormonal replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), consulting with your doctor about the risks, and finding out if it is the best for you.
- If possible, breastfeeding your children.
The warning signs are different in every person. At first, it is possible to feel no symptoms. Other times, it can be diagnosed through a routine mammography.
The warning signs you should look out for are:
- A lump in the breast or armpit, usually underneath the arm.
- Build-up or swelling of a part of the breast.
- Irritation or inversion of the skin.
- Redness in the nipple or breast area.
- Inversion of the nipple and pain in the area.
- Nipple discharge.
- Noticeable change in the size of the breast.
If you manifest a symptom or a warning sign, we recommend resorting to a doctor immediately.
It has been shown that breast cancer develops due to a mix of factors. Those that increase the probability of developing this disease are:
- Age: 70 per cent of the cases are confirmed between ages 40 to 60, and 5.2 per cent are diagnosed before age 36.
- Genetics: A mutation in genes BRCA 1 y 2, it causes abnormal cellular growth.
- Early menstruation or late menopause.
- Lack of pregnancies.
- Late pregnancy.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- A sedentary life due to a lack of exercise.
- Having received radiation on a breast.
It cannot be affirmed that these factors affect all diagnosed patients. But if you show one of these, talk to your doctor about the ways in which you can reduce the risk, and about any screening tests that you can take.
Each cancer is different, thus each treatment is different. Often times more than one kind can be detected. In order to receive an efficient and timely treatment, one must know the type of cancer and its stage. Once determined, your treatment can begin:
- Surgery: procedure where doctors remove the infected tissue.
- Chemotherapy: with the help of special medication, cancerous cells are reduced or destroyed.
- Hormonal therapy: impedes the cancerous cells from obtaining the hormones needed to grow.
- Biologic therapy: works with the immune system to combat and control the side effects that other treatments may cause.
Radiotherapy: uses high-energy rays to kill cancerous cells.