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Breast Cancer - The Basics

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. 

Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: Lobules, ducts and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue ( which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. 

Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized. 

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer:

Some warning signs of breast cancer:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
  • Thickening or swelling of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
  • ANy change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

Risk Factors:

Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.

Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Screening:

Breast cancer screening means checking a woman's breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

Mammogram:

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. At this time, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women.

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. MRI is used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk for getting breast cancer. Because breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, they are not used for women at average risk.

There is hope - Risk Factors you can change:

  • Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
  • Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy (those that include both estrogen and progesterone) taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives ( birth control pills) also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
  • Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.

Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemical that can cause cancer and changes in other hormones also may increase breast cancer risk.

Breast Surgery / General Laparoscopic Surgery Clinic at Bilal Hospital:

Bilal Hospital Breast Surgery Clinic Provides treatment of different types of breast diseases. Breast diseases can cause infections, cysts and lumps, with or without pain. If you have a breast lump, discharge, skin irritation or any unusual sign in your breast, kindly visit our Breast Surgery clinic. We treat:

Breast Diseases:

  1. Lumps
  2. Cancers
  3. Infections
  4. Abscess

Breast Surgeries:

  1. Breast Conservation Surgery
  2. Mastectomy
  3. Axillary Lymph Node Surgery
  4. Therapeutic / Reduction Mammoplasty
  5. Implant Based Reconstruction
  6. Autologous Reconstruction
  7. Breast Augmentation
  8. Mastopexy (Breast Lift)
  9. Lipomodelling (Reshaping wth fat)
  10. Nipple/Duct Surgery
  11. Gynecomastia Surgery

Sources:

  • CDC
  • NHS