Cancer usually occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way. Each year many people fall victim to this dreaded disease. One of the most deadliest of them is Breast Cancer. It is estimated that every year, 182,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, out of which 43,300 die. One woman in about eight will either be diagnosed with breast cancer or will have breast cancer. Alarming figures indeed for women and for the general health community.
Though what causes breast cancer has not yet been fully known, the risk increases gradually with age and family hereditary, cases where certain people are affected with a family history of the disease. According to medical estimates, one in ten women will develop breast cancer in some point of their lives. Three-quarters of them will develop it after menopause. There are also certain other factors such as early puberty, late menopause, being childless or having the first child after the age of 30. The risk is lower in certain cases such as having a short menstrual life, a large family or a child before the age of 18.
Breast Cancer usually begins as a small lump in the breast and then grows, either slowly or rapidly. It can also spread to other parts of the body over a period of time, the places commonly being the back or the hip bones, the lungs, the liver and at times the brain. In fact, most lumps in the breast are not cancers or cancerous. But whenever a lump is detected, it requires immediate medical checkup, for early diagnosis is the key to keeping alive. If detected early, the survival rate of five years increases 95%. The doctors say that breast cancer develops in phases from the early to the advanced stage, where by this time it is usually spread to other parts of the body. The earliest stage only takes a few weeks to develop and with possible surgery, medicinal treatment and radiation, is on way for a cure which may last up to several months. Treatment of breast cancer usually involves surgery followed with a combination of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and radiation. This treatment varies from patient to patient depending upon the stages of the disease. If a tumor is malignant, it can form new tumors. The more advance the tumor gets, the more difficult it is for the patient to take in all the therapies, as it takes a heavy toll on the body and the mind, with the worst part being ultimately death. Sometimes recurrences occur in spite of treatment, but they do not occur for every woman and nor do they occur in the same places as mentioned earlier.
During treatment, a patient has to undergo surgery where the lump is removed, called Lumpectomy and this is the most preferred technique. Removal of lymph nodes in the armpit are also done. Removal of the breast or Mastectomy is only done if absolutely necessary. Apart from this, medicines that kill cancer cell growth such as in Chemotherapy is also administered. Hormonal treatments such as anti-oestrogens, aromatase inhibitors or LHRH analogues are also administered, designed to block the effects of oestrogen or it's production, which stops or slows cancer cell growth. There is also Radiation therapy applied to the tumor and it's surrounding areas to destroy cancer cells.
Breast Cancer is dangerous and needs immediate detection and treatment. Mammograms are amongst the best of the early detection methods. Regular checks up are specially needed for women in their forties and older. The best possible method is always self checking and if found positive, an earlier treatment in the early stage saves a lot of lives. A healthy way of life as in low fat consumption, regular exercise, no smoking and no drinking also goes a long way in preventing the disease. So, let no disease take control of your life, specially Breast Cancer. Read more on new therapies and life saving drugs and keep yourself updated on all medical bulletins, and also be sure to pass on the message to all young women you know... be it your daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, girlfriend or simply your next door neighbor.