When you think about cancer screening in women, one of the first organs that come to mind is a woman’s breasts. Breast cancer is one of the most significant health problems in women, especially if they have a family history.
In this article, we’re reviewing the most fundamental aspects of breast cancer. We’re giving you a brief walkthrough about the essentials and statistics of the disease. Then, we’re covering the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and how to do your self-exploration. You will also learn about the causes of breast cancer, the risk factors that contribute to the disease, and a summary of stages and medical treatment.
Breast cancer essentials
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and the leading cause of death by cancer in women who live in less-developed countries. Around 30% of cancers diagnosed every year in the United States are breast cancer. It mainly develops in women, but some men may also develop breast cancer.
In the early stage, breast cancer is asymptomatic, and patients may not experience discomfort or pain. Luckily, our screening technologies and doctor recommendations have led to earlier detection in most cases. Most women are diagnosed before their disease spreads or causes severe damage to the breast tissue.
The evaluation of this disease uses three steps:
- Clinical examination performed by doctors and public awareness campaigns to detect breast nodules
- Imaging studies, including ultrasound scants and mammography
- Needle biopsy in case of a suspicious nodule
Therapy often involves surgical resection of the mass, and different treatments follow to make sure that no trace of cancer is found in the rest of the body. The risk varies depending on the stage of cancer and other risk factors, but adjuvant chemotherapy can reduce mortality by 35 to 72%. Recent advances in medicine have also contributed to this improvement, and new drug development look for new alternatives with fewer side effects.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
Lung cancer in the early stages of development does not have any symptoms. Patients may not even feel discomfort or any particular sign. However, one of the earliest signs of breast cancer is the presence of a nodule in the breasts. Other patients do not notice any lump but then start experiencing signs and symptoms.
Thus, we can summarize the symptoms of breast cancer as follows: