To prevent and cure breast cancer, the world’s promising research must advance. Breast cancer sees no age, gender, or race, however, it is most common in women worldwide.
Breast cancer is the “most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide,” and is influenced by genetic and/or environmental factors . It involves the uncontrollable mutation of genetic material in cells . There were more than 2 million breast cancer cases in 2020 . In recent years, breast cancer diagnoses and deaths have increased “due to the change in risk factor profiles, better cancer registration, and cancer detection,” . It is vital to perform a monthly breast self-exam (BSE) to recognize your “breasts’ texture, cyclical changes, size, and skin condition,” . You should immediately go to your doctor if “one breast changes size or shape, you can feel a lump in a breast or armpit, there is a sunken dip (dimple) on the nipple or elsewhere on breast,” there’s “red or scaley skin on breast that doesn’t go away, or a clear or bloody fluid comes out of a nipple,” . Later stages of breast cancer may include symptoms such as “bone pain (bone metastases), shortness of breath (lung metastases), drop in appetite (liver metastases), unintentional weight loss (liver metastases), headaches, [and] neurological pain or weakness," . A physical examination may include “feeling (palpating) the breast and armpits, a breast x-ray (mammography), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a biopsy (taking a tissue sample for lab analysis),” . Whether or not breast cancer can be treated successfully depends on many factors, such as tumor size and how much tumor tissue removal can be done . Based on similar factors and “the patient’s general health as well as their personal preferences,” different kinds of treatments can be used such as “surgery, radiation, and medication,” . Thanks to advances in research, treatments have been “more efficient and less toxic,” . It is recommended that those with breast cancer do things such as get good rest, exercise, and indulge in activities that make them feel good to take care of themselves .
The risks associated with breast cancer include family history, personal cancer history, environmental factors, radiation exposure, and hormonal factors . Other risk factors include obesity and alcohol intake . White females have the highest incidence and black females have a higher death rate in cancer. The different types of breast cancer include non-invasive breast cancer, invasive breast cancer, lobular carcinoma in situ(LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC), infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC), medullary carcinoma, mutinous carcinoma, tubluar carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and phylloides tumors .
Your doctor may perform lab tests for breast cancer detection, the most common being the “hormone receptor test and the HER2/neu test,” . Treatment options vary based on the results of these tests . Many breast cancer tumors contain hormone receptors, often in large numbers. Hormone receptors are significant to check for, as “estrogen and/or progesterone can fuel the growth of the cancer,” . Hormone therapy is a valuable treatment option for cancers with hormone receptors, however, hormone-receptor-negative cancers will not aid from hormone therapy .
Breast cancer is a serious matter, and checking with your doctor is important. There are precautions that should be taken, such as performing a monthly BSE. Catching it in the early stages is better than catching it when it is more developed. Even though breast cancer can be difficult to cope with, there are many ways to help give your mind a break from any negative thoughts or feelings.
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Authors: Sara Giarnieri and Diya Jacob
Editor: Sara Giarnieri
Health scientist: Diya Jacob