Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a kind of cancer that develops in the breast cells. The second most prevalent cancer among women to be diagnosed in the United States is breast cancer. Both men and women can get breast cancer, although women are much more likely to do so.

Breast cancer detection and treatment have advanced thanks to significant investment in research and awareness campaigns. With earlier identification, a novel customized approach to therapy, and a better knowledge of the illness, breast cancer survival rates have improved and the number of fatalities linked to the disease is rapidly reducing.

Breast Cancer: Causes

The aberrant growth of some breast cells is what causes breast cancer, according to doctors. These cells continue to multiply and divide more quickly than healthy cells do, generating a bulk or lump. To reach your lymph nodes or other regions of your body, cells might spread (metastasize) via your breast.

Breast cancer typically develops from cells in the ducts that produce milk (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer can also start in other cells or tissues inside the breast, including the glandular tissue known as lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma).

The risk of breast cancer may be increased by hormonal, behavioral, and environmental variables, according to research. Yet, it is unclear why some people with risk factors never get cancer while others with risk factors do.

Several inherited mutant genes can raise the risk of developing breast cancer. The most well-known ones are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which both dramatically raise the chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Your doctor may advise a blood test if you have a strong family history of breast cancer or other malignancies to help identify particular BRCA mutations or other genes that are being handed down through your family.

Breast Cancer: Symptoms

The major symptoms include −

  • Breast tissue that seems thicker or lumpier than the rest of the breast

  • A breast's size, shape, or appearance changing

  • Alterations to the breast's skin, such as dimpling

  • A recently flipped nipple

  • Above your breast, there may be redness or pitting similar to that of an orange.

  • The pigmented region of skin around the nipple (areola) or breast skin peels, scales, crusts, or flakes.

Breast Cancer: Risk Factors

Everything that increases your chance of developing breast cancer is considered a breast cancer risk factor. Nevertheless, having one or more breast cancer risk factors does not guarantee that you will acquire the disease. In addition to being a woman, many women who acquire breast cancer have no other recognized risk factors.

The following are some of the elements linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer −

  • Being a woman  Breast cancer is far more common in women than in males.

  • Advancing years  As you become older, your chance of breast cancer rises.

  • An account of one's breast problems  You are more likely to develop breast cancer if a breast biopsy revealed lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia of the breast.

  • A history of breast cancer in the family  Your chance of breast cancer is enhanced if your mother, sister, or daughter had the disease, especially when they were young.

  • Inherited genes that raise the chance of cancer  The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are the most well-known ones. These genes can significantly raise your chance of developing breast cancer and other malignancies, but they do not guarantee that you will develop one.

  • Radiation exposure  Your chance of developing breast cancer is higher if you had chest radiation treatments as a kid or young adult.

  • Obesity  The chance of developing breast cancer rises if you are fat.

Apart from these, some other risk factors of getting breast cancer include: getting your first period while you're younger, starting menopause later in life, being a parent for the first time later in life, and never having been pregnant.

Breast Cancer: Diagnosis

To diagnose breast cancer, your doctor may suggest the following tests −

  • Breast examination  Your doctor will feel for lumps or other abnormalities in your lymph nodes in the armpit as well as both of your breasts.

  • Mammogram  An X-ray of the breast is what mammography is. Mammograms are frequently used as a breast cancer screening tool. Your doctor could advise diagnostic mammography if an abnormality is found on a screening mammogram to further assess that anomaly.

  • Breast sonography  Ultrasound employs sound waves to create pictures of inside organs at great depths. Whether a new breast lump is found to be a solid mass, or a cyst filled with fluid, an ultrasound may be performed to identify it.

Biopsy (Obtaining a Breast Cell Sample for Analysis)

The only reliable technique to diagnose breast cancer is through a biopsy. Your doctor performs a biopsy by using a specialized needle instrument to remove a core of tissue from a questionable location while being guided by an X-ray or other imaging test. To make the location simple to identify on upcoming imaging examinations, a tiny metal marker is frequently placed at the surgical site within your breast.

Experts in a laboratory analyze biopsy samples to ascertain whether the cells are malignant. The kind of cells involved in breast cancer, its aggressiveness (grade), and whether the cancer cells contain hormone receptors or other receptors are all determined by analysis of a biopsy sample.

Breast Cancer: Treatment

Based on the type of breast cancer you have, its stage and grade, size, and if the cancer cells are hormone-sensitive, your doctor will decide on the best course of therapy for you. Your general health and personal preferences are also taken into account by your doctor.

Most breast cancer patients are treated surgically, and many go on to get other therapies including radiation, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy. In some circumstances, chemotherapy could also be administered before surgery.

Making difficult decisions regarding your treatment might be overwhelming because there are so many alternatives for treating breast cancer. Think about getting a second opinion from a breast expert at a clinic or center for breast health. Consult with other females who have made the same choice.

Breast Cancer: Prevention

One can take the following preventive measures to avoid the chances of getting breast cancer −

  • Learn about your breasts by performing a breast self-exam to raise breast awareness. Sometimes checking their breasts during a breast self-exam might help women get to know their breasts and develop breast awareness.

  • If you do consume alcohol, do it in moderation.

  • Try to work out most days of the week.

  • Don't overdo postmenopausal hormone replacement.

  • Use the least quantity of hormone treatment for the shortest length of time to lower the risk of breast cancer.

  • Choose a balanced diet. Breast cancer risk may be lower in women who follow a mediterranean diet that includes extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts. Keep a healthy weight.


Early detection and risk reduction are two crucial components of breast cancer prevention. Screening may detect early-stage non-invasive tumors that can be treated before they spread to the body or early-stage invasive cancers that can be treated.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha