What Causes Breast Cancer and What are its Different Stages?
As per the stats reported by Cancer Australia, it is said that there are over 19,807 breast cancer cases already registered in 2020. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among females. The numbers are staggering so much so that in 2018, breast cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in Australia and the second most common cause of death among women.
It is important that you keep yourself updated with such invasive diseases as it will help you in making informed decisions regarding your health. On top of that, you are advised to visit the Medical Centre In Tweed Heads once every 6 to 12 months to get yourself checked. This allows for early diagnosis of any medical condition, especially breast cancer.
If you are interested in knowing more about this invasive type of cancer, then keep on reading as we explore everything from what it is to what causes it, symptoms, prevention, and more.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the type of cancer that develops in the breast tissues. Like any other cancer type, breast cancer is also the result of the mutation of cells that makes them grow out of control. With time, the cells form a tumour that can be felt as a lump or seen on an x-ray. While breast cancer is most common in women, men can also get breast cancer.
The primary risk lies when these cancer cells travel to places in your body to never be found again. When this happens, cancer becomes metastatic. Breast cancer typically develops in the lobular carcinoma – a gland that makes milk, or the ductal carcinoma – a duct that carries milk to the nipple. The reason why it considered to be one of the most dangerous cancer types is that the cells can grow larger and spread through your bloodstream to other organs.
As cancer grows, it may invade tissue around your breast, like your chest wall or skin.
Depending on the individual and the type of breast cancer, its growth and spread rate differ significantly. That is, some breast cancers grow and spread quickly, while others take years to spread beyond your chest walls.
It is important to know how breast cancer develops and spreads so that you can take necessary steps to either prevent it or get rid of it.
The Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer symptoms vary from individual to individual. Nevertheless, the first sign of breast cancer typically appears as a region forming a lump of thickened tissues in the breast. In some cases, it can form near the armpit. Here are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer that you should be aware of:
- A region that is different from any other region on your breasts
- Alterations in the position or shape of your nipple
- Formation of reddish skin on your nipple or breast
- A marble-sized spot formation under your skin
- Nipple discharge that can be clear or pinkish-red stating the presence of blood
- A change in the curve, shape, or size of the affected breast
- Formation of a lump that feels as small as a pea
- A lump formation near your breast or the armpit
Please note that most lumps are not cancerous. But, you are advised to visit your doctor for regular checkups and examinations to rule out any complications.
What are the Different Stages of Breast Cancer?
The stage of breast cancer is determined by the size of the tumour and how far it has spread across the body. Nevertheless, there are 0-4 stages of breast cancer.
- Stage 0 is known as DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ where the cancer cells are still within the ducts and haven’t spread to surrounding tissues
- Stage 1 breast cancer means the tumour has grown up to 2 centimetres but hasn’t invaded the lymph nodes
- Stage 2 breast cancer has a tumour that is larger than 2 centimetres and has started to spread to the surrounding tissues but not the lymph nodes
- Stage 3 breast cancer has a tumour that is approximately 5 centimetres in size and has spread across the lymph nodes
- Stage 4 means that the tumour has spread across the distant organs, such as the lungs, brain, liver, and bones
How to Reduce the Risk Factors of Having Breast Cancer?
While there is no surety that you won’t develop breast cancer, factors like family history, your lifestyle choices, etc. play a huge part in your health. Still, there are some risk factors that you can control to prevent breast cancer.
- Being obese or overweight, especially after menopause increases your odds of developing breast cancer
- Living a sedentary lifestyle raises your odds
- Consumption of alcohol than the prescribed amount
- Having your first child after 30 can also increase your odds
- The less you breastfeed, the higher your chances
- Certain medications like hormone replacement therapy can increase your breast cancer risk
It is essential to stay informed and constantly remain in touch with your physician so that you can know something’s wrong with your health beforehand.