Breast Cancer : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the breast, usually in the inner lining of the milk ducts or lobules. Breast cancer is about 100 times as frequent among women as among men, but survival rates are equal in both sexes. Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives.

Woman's breast is made up of glands that make breast milk (lobules), ducts (small tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple), fatty and connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymph (pronounced limf) vessels. Most breast cancers begin in the cells that line the ducts (ductal cancer), some begin in the lobules (lobular cancer), and the rest in other tissues.

Causes of breast cancer

Definite cause/s still unknown but certain risk factor has been linked to it.Risk factor is anything that increased the chance someone get the illness.Some risk factor are fix like age, sex and some are can be controlled.

Fix Risk Factor

-Age-The older you get the more chance you have.Women age more 50 years old have 8-10 times fold more chance of get it compare to younger age.
- Women-women has 100 times more risk than men.
- Family history-if you have family history of breast cancer,you are at a high risk get the cancer.
- Past history of Breast cancer-if you was diagnosed to have breast cancer before than you are prone to get it on the same breast or the other one.
- Menstrual period-the early you have your menarche(1st period),you are slightly high risk get it when you are older.
- Genetic factor-5%-10% link to mutation of gene and breast cancer.BRCA1 and B
Breast self-examination http://ehp.niehs.nih.g...Image via Wikipedia
RCA2 are 80% the involve genes.

Changeable risk factor

- Breast feeding-women who breast fed their child 1-2 years will lower the risk of get breast cancer.
- Alcohol-women who have 2-5 drink daily have 1.5 chance than women who not consume alcohol.
- Exercise-women who do exercise will reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.The more you exercise the lower the risk. The question is how much we need to exercise. Study shown exercise 30 minutes per day for 5 days is enough.

Symptoms of breast cancer

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But some cancers are tender, soft, and rounded. So it's important to have anything unusual checked by your doctor.

Other signs of breast cancer include the following:

1. a swelling of part of the breast
2. skin irritation or dimpling
3. nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
4. redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
5. a nipple discharge other than breast milk
6. a lump in the underarm area


1. Type of surgery - The purpose of surgery is to remove as much breast cancer tissue as much as possible
- Lumpectomy Also called breast conservation therapy, lumpectomy involves removing only the breast lump and some normal tissue around it.
- Partial mastectomy : This surgery involves removing more of the breast tissue than in a lumpectomy. It is usually followed by radiation therapy.
- Simple or total mastectomy: In this surgery the entire breast is removed but not the lymph nodes under the arm or muscle tissue from beneath the breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy: This operation involves removing the entire breast and some of the lymph nodes under the arm
- Radical mastectomy: This is extensive removal of entire breast, lymph nodes, and the chest wall muscles under the breast
- Axillary dissection: This operation is done to find out if the breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes under the arm. Some nodes are removed and looked at under a microscope.

2. Chemotherapy
- Chemotherapy is the use of cancer-killing drugs injected into a vein or taken as a pill. These drugs enter the bloodstream and reach throughout the body. If chemo is given after surgery it can reduce the chance of breast cancer coming back. Chemo can also be used as the main treatment for a woman whose cancer has already spread outside the breast and underarm area or that spreads widely after the first treatment.
- Chemo may be given before surgery, often to shrink the tumor in order to make it easier to remove.
- Chemo is given in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a break. The total course of treatment usually lasts for 3 to 6 months. Often several drugs are used together rather than a single drug alone.
- The side effects of chemo depend on the type of drugs used, the amount given, and the length of treatment.

3. Radiation Therapy
- Radiation therapy is treatment with high-energy rays (such as x-rays) to kill or shrink cancer cells. The radiation may come from outside the body (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed directly in the tumor .
- Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells remaining in the breast, chest wall, or underarm area after surgery or, less often, to reduce the size of a tumor before surgery
- Treatment is usually given 5 days a week in an outpatient center over a period of about 6 or 7 weeks, beginning about a month after surgery. Each treatment lasts a few minutes.
- The main side effects of radiation therapy are swelling and heaviness in the breast, sunburn-like changes in the treated area, and fatigue.

4. Hormone Therapy
- The female hormone estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells in some women. For these women, several methods to block the effect of estrogen or to lower its levels are used to treat breast cancer.
- A drug such as tamoxifen, which blocks the effects of estrogen. Tamoxifen is taken in pill form, usually daily for 5 years after surgery, to reduce the risk the cancer will come back.
- Aromatase inhibitors are a type of drug that stops the body from making estrogen. They only work for women who are past menopause and whose cancers are hormone positive.