“Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore.” Melissa Etheridge
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women. The history of this type of cancer dates back 4200 years ago in Egypt. However, with advancement in lifestyle, the rate has increased. It is found to be more in the developed countries and lower in the less developed countries, although the reasons are not clearly understood.
There are different types of breast cancer however, the symptoms are similar. They include
- Formation of lump, which can be with or without pain
- Change in the size and shape of the breast
- Nipple is red or inverted. There can also be a discharge from the nipple
- Peeling or flaking of the skin around the nipple
Cancer is the mutational change in cells which makes them to divide and grow uncontrollably. There are many factors causing the abnormal change which are not fully understood. Some women may be exposed to risk factors and yet have no breast cancer while others may not be exposed to risk factors and still have breast cancer.
Still, some factors have been taken into consideration such as age, family history, race/ethnicity, hormones and obesity. It can also be depending on the individual’s body reaction to the environment. Some people may be more tolerant and don’t develop any kind of cancer. But some people may have weaker immune system and thus cause changes in the cells.
There’s no proper cure for breast cancer so the best way is for having an early detection. A screening mammogram or a breast MRI can identify the presence of the cancer before symptoms arise. There has been a lot of campaign and awareness for early detection, most especially for women of 40 and above years of age. Further tests are done for confirmation but the best method is removal of some cells or tissue to view under the microscope.
Breast cancer can be treated by surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Also drugs such as trastuzumab can be used to target cancer cells from the normal cells. However, not all treatment methods can be successful because it depends on the individual’s body reaction to it.
It’s best to prevent the occurrence of the cancer. This can be done by
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Exercise and weight control
- Taking a healthy diet
- Going for screening at the nearest centre
Garima Nabh is the founder of New Age Magazine.