Breast cancer is the second most common cancer, next to lung cancer, in the world. And, it is the most common type of cancer among women. It also causes the most number of cancer death in women in the United States.
It starts in the cells of the breast in both women and men. It is diagnosed through a mammogram. A lump or the inconsistency of breast tissue can also be an indication of the disease. Bumping, bruising, or touching the breast doesn’t cause cancer. This was a common misconception in the past. Now, experts believe that genetic and/or hormonal factors are the primary risk factors. It not contagious and cannot be acquired by indirect or even direct contact.
Our body is composed of cells, the building blocks of life. These cells work harmoniously to form tissues. Normal cells grow and undergo cell division to support body needs. Old cells grow and die. Then, they will be replaced by new ones. This cycle goes on and on, but sometimes something goes wrong. Cells may reproduce more than the body requires or sometimes old cells don’t die even if the body doesn’t need them anymore. These cells may form the mass of tissues, forming tumors. A tumor can be benign, which is not life-threatening. They don’t usually don’t grow back after being removed. In contrast, malignant tumors (cancers) metastasize and spread to the other parts of the body by breaking away from the primary tumor and entering the bloodstream. This is life-threatening.
In the past years, increasing numbers of incidents and deaths caused alarm to a lot of women. Health organizations have been trying to instill awareness about breast cancer to people which resulted in the growing number of women undergoing mammography. Early detection may increase the chances of survival.
Treatment depends upon different factors, such type and the extent to which cancer has spread in other parts of the body. Surgery is done to remove cancer alone. Mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both breasts. It is done to cure breast cancer, but there are instances that high-risk women do it for prevention rather than cure. Another option is a lumpectomy. This is an operation done to remove cancer and a portion of breast tissues surrounding the breast. It is done to preserve the breast. Aside from mastectomy and lumpectomy, which are local therapies, the patient may also undergo systemic therapy like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or immunotherapy.
There have been studies that suggest how to prevent breast cancer. One study showed that wearing a bra restricts the flow of lymph in the breast tissue which hinders the normal cleansing process. Another thing that people should not take for granted is the importance of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, many of which fight cancer and other diseases. Common sources of phytochemicals are garlic, parsley, curry, hot pepper. In addition, exposure to sunlight is necessary for the utilization of Vitamin D. according to studies, the risk of having cancer is reduced by 50% by sufficient vitamin D levels.