What is breast cancer and how do people get it?
Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors in the breast grow and start to affect other tissues in the body. There is still no clear indications how tumors are created but what is often observed is that cancerous cells usually comes from ducts or glands.
Although women’s health organizations advise women to massage the breast daily and to feel for any lumps, it may a long time before a cancerous cell get big enough for us to feel it. By that time, it may already be too late. Doctors make use of mammograms for their diagnosis.
Breast at risk:
All women are actually at risk, with the risk increasing with the presence of some risk factors that are already part of the natural cycle, for example, aging. Family history of breast cancer can also significantly affect the prognosis as heredity has been found to play a role. Women who got their periods before they were 12 years old and those who never had or had children after 30 years old are also more likely to develop breast cancer.
There are also risk factors that medical science can help alter such as hormonal problems through replacement therapies. Women are also advised to decrease their consumption of alcoholic drinks, exercise every day and decrease the use of birth control pills. Breastfeeding has been found to decrease the risk of breast cancer development.
Although there are some factors that women can avoid to prevent breast cancer from developing, cause and effect relationships between these factors and breast cancer is still debatable. For women who are already at high risk, doctors often recommend a drug called Tamoxifen, which is known to decrease the risk by as much 50 percent when taken in five years. Still, like all medications, Tamoxifen has side effects such as hot flushes, vaginal discharges and sometimes even blood clots. Taking the drug can also lead to pulmonary emobolus, stroke and uterine cancer, although these are all isolated cases.
Another avenue that women can go to is Vitamin A, which some studies show to be effective in decreasing the risk. Still, research is still in the initial stages and nothing has been proven yet. Other things that are being linked to the breast cancer fight are phytoestrogens, which can be found in soya, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C.
But until something concrete is found in research, the only thing that women can do to ensure that they are safe from breast cancer is early detection. This can be done through daily self-examinations as well as annual check ups and mammogram tests. It is also important that women know the beginnings of breast cancer. Here are some of the signs that they should watch out for.
- Lumps in the breast and in the underarms
- Scaling of the skin of the breast and of the nipple
- Redness in the skin of the breast and of the nipple
- Changes in the size of their breasts
- Discharges from the nipple
If these signs are observed, it is best to consult a specialist so that you can know whether you have breast cancer or not.
These are the most probably breast cancer risk factors;
- Last researches have established that in the age group above 50 years there is a high incidence; on the other hand, in the age group below 25 years the incidence is very low. It is very important to say that this disease is very aggressive in patient 25-50 years old.
- Menstrual cycle is other factor that should be considered; common in the ladies who have a longer menstrual life, i.e. the onset of menarche is earlier and cessation of menstruation is late.
- The women that smoke and drink alcohol increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is developed more frequently in spinsters and married woman that have not given birth to children, or if given birth then have not breast fed their offspring.
- The women that have had a breast cancer on one side have greater risk to develop cancer on the opposite side, and if there are antecedents of breast cancer in their families (mother, sisters and daughters), there are greatest risks too.
- Breast cancer is linked with obesity and higher intake of saturated fatty acids
- Breast cancer is linked too, with the continuous or sequential uses of combined oestrogen plus progestin hormone therapy (CHT)
- Women that have been using oral anti contraceptives for more than ten years are more vulnerable to the development of this disease.
On the other hand, women doing 4-5 hours of exercises per week reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.
In short, these facts derive from the statistical analysis; they should not be taken as causative or predisposing factors.
Some of the causes of having breast cancer:
Gender: Being a woman is one of the common reasons for suffering from breast cancer. Event though men suffer from this disease too, just being a woman puts you in lot of danger.
Age: As you grow older your chances of having breast cancer increases.
Family history: If somebody in the family has suffered from breast cancer your chances of having breast cancer increases.
Being overweight or obese: If you are an overweight women your chances of breast cancer increases after menopause.
Lack of exercise: Being lethargic and lack of any physical activity leads you towards increasing weight and chances of breast cancer
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol becomes very risky as it increases your chances of breast cancer
Methods to Prevent Breast Cancer:
-Turn into a vegetarian
-Have plenty of organic food and vegetables
-Avoid red meat and any processed foods
-Avoid alcohol and colas
-You can have something sweet by having Stevia, an herb which is a substitute to any other toxic artificial sweetener
-Having whole grains is very good such as Oatmeal, Kamut and Psyllium, which are a good source of fiber and enters directly into your bloodstream
-Your diet must include wheat, bran and Cabbage as they are very nutritious food which helps to prevent breast cancer
-Garlic, Ginger, carrots, celery, cilantro, parsley and parsnip has some of the highest cancer fighting nutrients. Include them in your daily diet.