BREAST CANCER-THE RISK FACTORS


 KNOW YOUR CHANCES OF HAVING BREAST CANCER.

“THE RISK FACTORS” 


Did you know that- Two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are diagnosed after age 55? Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year.

breast cancer

Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body. 
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal growth of cells develops in the breast causing a tumor.  These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body.

A tumor is a mass of abnormal tissue. There are two types of breast cancer tumors: those that are non-cancerous, or ‘benign’, and those that are cancerous, which are ‘malignant’.

BENIGN TUMORS
These are tumors that are not generally aggressive toward surrounding tissue. When a tumor is diagnosed as benign, doctors will usually leave it alone rather than remove it. Occasionally these benign tumors  may continue to grow, pressing on organs and causing pain or other problems. In these situations, the tumor is removed, allowing pain or complications to subside.

MALIGNANT TUMORS
These are cancerous and aggressive tumors because they invade and damage surrounding tissue. When a tumor is suspected to be malignant, the doctor will perform a biopsy to determine the severity or aggressiveness of the tumor.

METASTATIC CANCER
Metastatic cancer is when cancer cells of a malignant tumor spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system, and form a secondary tumor.
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.
Breast Cancer- Causes
Breast Cancer is a heterogenous disease with no single characterized cause. Doctors can barely tell  the reason why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn’t, and most women with breast cancer  do not have a clue as to its cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA.
RISK  FACTORS OF BREAST CANCER.
Anything that increases the chance of developing a disease is called a Risk factor.


Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. 

Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

These Risk factors include:

– Advanced age: Two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are diagnosed after age 55
–          High premenopausal blood insulin like growth factor level
–          High postmenopausal blood estrogen level
–          History of mother and sister with breast cancer
–          Prolonged Nulliparity- A woman who has never given birth
–          Early menarche- starting of menstration early
–          Late menopausal obesith
–          Incidence is increased in individuals in a higher socioeconomic class
–          Hormone replacement therapy increases risk
–          Use of oral contraceptive pills
–          Alcohol consumption
–          Irradiation particularly in first decade of life

Clinical history: Many early breast cancer carcinomas may be asymptomatic. If the patient has not noticed a lump, then symptoms indicating the possible presence of breast cancer may include the following:

–          Change in breast size or shape
–          Skin dimpling
–          Rescent nipple inversion or skin change
–          Auxillary lump
–          Pain or discomfort is not usually a symptom of breast cancer
–          Bone pain
–          Jaundice

Investigations:
–          Mammography
–          Ultrasonography
–          MRT
–          Scintigraphy
–          Positron emission tomography (PET)

Treatment:
–          Mastectomy
–          Radiography


Sources:
-National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc,
– Dr H.C Okereke
& Dr(Mrs) Latifah Badmus
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