Breast Cancer Symptoms, Signs, Types and Causes
Health & Fitness

Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Signs, Types and Causes

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Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancer cells rapidly reproduce despite restriction of space, nutrients, or signals sent from the body to stop reproduction. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide after cardiovascular disease. Old cells do not die. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor. Cancer also called malignancy. Cancer may occur anywhere in the body. In women, breast cancer is one of the most common.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. Every year around 2.1 million women affected with breast cancer and a huge number of women died untreated. About 14% of all cancer died due to breast cancer and these numbers are increasing in nearly every region globally.

About Breast:

The breast is made up of fatty tissues and very dense tissues. Within this tissue, there is a network of lobes and each lobe is made up of tiny, tube-like structures called lobules that contain milk glands. Tiny ducts connect the glands, lobules, and lobes, carrying milk from the lobes to the nipple. The nipple is located in the middle of the areola, which is the darker area that surrounds the nipple. Blood (nourishes the cells) and lymph vessels (drains bodily waste products) also run throughout the breast. Now it will be easy to know about breast cancer.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is made of abnormal cells that have grown uncontrollably in the breast. Breast cancer usually begins in a small, confined area. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules (lobular carcinoma) or the ducts (ductal carcinoma) of the breast. It can grow larger in the breast and spread through channels to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast. As per a report, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

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Symptoms and signs of breast cancer:

In its early stages, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms. It can be seen on a mammogram only. Each type of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms of breast cancers include:

  • Breast pain
  • A lump or swelling under your arm
  • Swelling in all or part of your breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast (redness or pitting)
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • A sunken or inverted nipple
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Bloody discharge from your nipple
  • A rash around or on one of the nipples

Types of breast cancer:

Breast cancer is broken into two main categories: “Invasive” and “Noninvasive,” or in situ. Invasive cancer spreads from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast and noninvasive cancer not spread from the original tissue.

These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:

  1. Ductal Carcinoma in situ: Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive condition. With DCIS, the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in your breast and haven’t invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
  2. Lobular Carcinoma in situ: Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells haven’t invaded the surrounding tissue.
  3. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) is the most common type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer begins in your breast’s milk ducts and then invades nearby tissue in the breast. Once breast cancer has spread to the tissue outside your milk ducts, it can begin to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.
  4. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma: Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) first develops in your breast’s lobules and has invaded nearby tissue.

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Cause of breast cancer:

There is no such cause of breast cancer but we do know certain things make you more likely to get it. Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it depends on person to person because breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment. Your age, genetic factors, personal health history, and diet also play a major role.

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

If you feel something changes in your breast or its paining, contact immediately with your doctor. A doctor can advise for some tests where they can diagnose the disease.

  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to take a picture of your breast. If there is something unusual, ultrasound can show things.
  • Mammogram: It is an advanced technology of ultrasound. This detailed X-ray of the breast gives doctors a better view of lumps and other problems.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This body scan uses a magnet linked to a computer to create detailed images of the insides of your breasts. MRI shows very detailed information.
  • Biopsy: For this test, the doctor removes tissue or fluid from your breast. They’ll look at it under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present and if so, which type.

Breast Self-Exam:

The best time for breast self-exam is a few days after your monthly menstrual cycle ends as hormonal changes can affect the size and shape of your breast sometimes. Women who do not menstruate should choose a certain day to perform the exam and maintain a track record also.

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam:

First of all, do not to shy as this is a matter of your body organ. Sometimes women are not sharing their problems with anyone and even not sharing with their doctors because of shyness which is absolutely wrong. You should be open in this matter then only your doctor or your family member can understand your problems.

Now, start by standing topless in front of a mirror with your hands at your sides. Visually inspect your breasts and check —

  • The changes in size – in shape – or in symmetry
  • Check dimpling
  • Check whether you have inverted nipples
  • Puckering
  • Asymmetrical ridges at the bottom
  • Redness and rashes around your breast
  • Gently squeeze your nipples to check for discharge
  • Gently massage your fingers over your breasts in a spiral pattern starting at the nipple to check any lump or abnormality

This self-exam can prevent you from the risk. Maintain all the records and still if you have any problem, share this problem with your family and immediately consult with your doctor because breast cancer is curable if it is treatment starts in the early stage.


There is no way to prevent breast cancer. However, certain lifestyle decisions can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as other types. These include:

  • Avoiding excessive alcohol and smoking consumption
  • Following a healthful diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Getting enough exercise and yoga
  • Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI)

People are not aware of breast cancer otherwise we can reduce the death ratio. Breast cancer awareness efforts have helped people learn what their risk factors are, how they can reduce their level of risk, what symptoms they should look for, and what kinds of screening they should be getting. Fortunately people today are increasingly aware of the issues associated with breast cancer. Government of all the countries and many NGO’s also spreading awareness about cancer which will help people in the near future.

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