About breast cancer

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Health is widely recognized as a person's greatest wealth; however, the numerous diseases that plague humans have made it impossible for people to experience their greatest wealth. Cancer is one of the major causes of death worldwide. Cancer, also known as malignancy, is a condition that induces an irregular development of cells in the body. There are also various forms of cancer, such as prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and throat cancer. For several years, people have died as a result of the illness. However, advances in medicine have allowed patients to access cancer care that includes surgery to remove tumors and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. One risk factor to some cancers is gender. Breast cancer is a type of cancer, which affects women. Just as the name suggests, breast cancer affects the breast tissues. After lung cancer, breast cancer is considered the second cause of death among women. Signs of the disease include a red scaly patch on the skin, a change in the size of the affected breast, a fluid discharge from the nipple, and a lump in the breast (Nordqvist, 2017).

Factors and Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Health professionals always advise women to check their breast for any lumps or unusual discharge. Various factors make people susceptible to the ailment and they include obesity, lack of exercise, early age of first menstruation, family history of the ailment, and having children at a late age (Torre et. al, 2015, p. 89). However, having the signs does not necessarily mean that a person has contracted the disease. One has to go through a diagnosis procedure to ascertain that indeed he or she has breast cancer. Biopsy is one method through which the cancer is diagnosed and it involves an evaluation of a tissue sample. Once it is confirmed that a person is suffering from the disease, a patient undergoes treatment, which may involve surgery to remove the lump, medication to suppress the cancer cells, and radiations to kill the cells.

Causes and Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer arises from the uncontrolled multiplication of body cells and which results in excessive growth of cells. The lobules or the inner lining of milk ducts is where breast cancer starts to affect the breast before it eventually spreads to other parts of the body. For many years, medical research has been carried out to determine the exact cause of the ailment or what causes the illness to affect the lobules first. Despite the research and medical studies regarding the ailment, the exact cause of breast cancer is unknown (Barnard, Boeke, & Tamimi, 2015, p. 75). However, oncologists and other medical professionals have cited risk factors, which make an individual susceptible to the disease. For instance, the risk to breast cancer increases with age. In addition, exposure to high levels of estrogen puts one at risk of breast cancer. The high estrogen levels come from a person being overweight or obese, from starting periods at an early age, and from taking oral birth control pills and from using hormone replacement therapy (Nordqvist, 2017). In the recent past, there has been an increased campaign on the need for people to indulge in healthy lifestyles. Poor eating habits and lack of physical exercises contribute to poor lifestyles. Genes also play a part in the development of the ailment. People who are born in a family that has a medical history of breast cancer at a higher risk of contracting the ailment. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genes that are inherited and women who have the genes at a risk of breast cancer.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Breast Cancer

The symptoms and signs stated above can be detected from home or through regular screening. The advantage of regular screening is that it allows the ailment to be detected during the early stages. This makes it easy to treat the disease before it spreads to other body parts, thus, safeguarding the overall health of an individual. Through diagnostic tests, a diagnosis of the ailment can be confirmed. The diagnostic tests include biopsy, imaging tests, and breast exam. Breast exams involve the examination of the breast by a physician who looks out for any lumps or any changes in the appearance of the body part. Biopsy involves a laboratory analysis of a breast tissue. It is through surgery that a tissue is removed from the breast, and then taken to the laboratory for examination. Results from the examination help determine whether a patient has cancerous cells or whether the cancer is hormone-sensitive. In addition, biopsy helps establish the size of the tumor, whether it is non-invasive or not and the extent to which the tumor has spread.

Examples of imaging tests include ultrasound scan, MRI scan, and a mammogram. An MRI scan seeks to determine how far a tumor has spread and it involves injecting a dye into the patient's body. A mammogram is an X-ray that produces images that show any abnormalities or lumps. Treatment options are given depending on the results from the diagnostic tests. Factors that determine treatment options include the type and stage of breast cancer, the age of a patient, and a patient's sensitivity to hormones.

Treatment and Survival Rates of Breast Cancer

After diagnosis, treatment options are selected and they include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone blocking therapy, and surgery. All the treatment options are meant to kill the cancer cells. Though some patients have the cancer cells completely removed through any of the various treatment options, others are not that lucky. The cells spread to other body parts resulting in stage 4 cancer or metastatic breast cancer. At stage 4, breast cancer is said to be incurable as it progresses to other body parts. Reports indicate that women diagnosed with metastatic cancer live longer compared to the olden days. The five-year survival rate of women under the age of 49 diagnosed with the cancer has moved from 18% to 36% between the years 1992 to 1994 and 2005 to 2012 (Bakalar, 2017). The increased survival rate is attributed to advancement in the field of medicine. The improvements have made it possible for a person to have an early diagnosis of metastatic cancer and this allows physicians to act quickly on the condition before it spreads to other body parts. The occurrence of breast cancer remains high among young women.


In conclusion, breast cancer is among the leading causes of deaths among women. Early diagnosis of the ailment allow a patient to learn of the size of the tumor, and whether or not the cancer cells have spread to other body parts. Early detection helps save the love of a patient. Ways of keeping breast cancer at bay include going for regular cancer screening, adopting a health life style and engaging in physical exercise. It is common knowledge that the body is a reflection on what one eats it is therefore important that people adopt a healthy eating lifestyle.


Barnard, M. E., Boeke, C. E., & Tamimi, R. M. (2015). Established breast cancer risk factors and risk of intrinsic tumor subtypes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Reviews on Cancer, 1856(1), 73-85.

Bakalar, N. (2017, June 5). Women With aggressive breast cancer are living longer. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/health/metastatic-breast-cancer-survival.html?module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Health&action=keypress®ion=FixedLeft&pgtype=article

Nordqvist, C. (2017, July 7). Breast cancer: Symptoms, risk factors, and treatment. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37136.php

Torre, L. A., Bray, F., Siegel, R. L., Ferlay, J., Lortet‐Tieulent, J., & Jemal, A. (2015). Global cancer statistics, 2012. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians, 65(2), 87-108.

October 19, 2022

Life Culture Health


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