What You Must Know About Breast Cancer
Created by Ankita A Talwar Updated on Jun 21, 2021
Among so many diseases affecting women, breast cancer is perhaps the most underestimated and misunderstood one. Effect of genes, the right age to get a mammogram done, and the symptoms to watch out for—what you may be knowing about it, may be only partially true. The truth is that there is still no significant study that can determine the cause of breast cancer (though there are researches that have proven that smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your risk). But what we can do is arm ourselves with enough information about this disease to be able to protect ourselves from its debilitating consequences.
Must Know Facts About Breast Cancer - Be Carful Yourself
1.) Even young women can get it
While it's true the disease is more common in postmenopausal women, breast cancer can affect people of any age. In fact, women under 50 account for 25% of all breast cancer cases. Younger women are also susceptible to it, but as they have denser breasts, it is difficult to spot a lump. Ideally, post the age of 20, women should do self examination and visit a doctor in case of anything unnatural they notice or feel.
2.) It can be genetic and otherways
According to the American Cancer Society, women who have a particular gene mutation become susceptible to breast cancer. But whether that gene mutation is enough to manifest itself as breast cancer, there is no clarity to it. Researchers agree that breast cancer can be due to a combination of genetic factors and lifestyle or only from genetic. Ideally, if your mother and grandmother have had it, you must make a trip to your gynaecologist and discuss it with her.
3.) It does not always appear as a lump
While a lump is the biggest indication of a problem in the breasts, it can be benign also, meaning non-cancerous. While, around 10% of those diagnosed with breast cancer have no lumps, pain, or other indications of a problem in their breasts. So, breast cancer can manifest itself through other symptoms also such as: a change in the appearance of the breast or nipple, unaccounted tenderness, swelling, and discharge etc.
4.) Large chested women have it more
The size of your breasts does not determine your chances of contracting breast cancer. Breast cancer develop in the cells that line the ducts and lobules—the parts that make milk and carry it to the nipple—and all women have the same number of these, regardless of breast size. The amount of fat, that determines the size of the breasts, have little impact on the cancer.
5.) Birth control pills do not cause breast cancer
Some studies showed that birth control pill users had a slightly increased risk, but the pill formulations have changed since then (most contain much lower doses of the hormones linked to breast cancer risk). The new-age pills are potentially safe and may not be the exclusive cause of breast cancer.
6.) Only women get it
While the occurrence in women is most common, men too have breast tissues that can be invaded by breast cancer cells. But because in men breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because they normally have lower levels of female hormones that affect the growth of breast cells, their chances of contracting it are minimized.
7.) Anti-perspirants and cause breast cancer
An email rumour claimed that antiperspirants prevent the sweat glands from sweating out toxins, which then accumulate in the lymph nodes and cause breast cancer. But in 2002, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, US, conducted a study and found no link between deodorant or antiperspirant and breast cancer. Further researchers also denied the rumours that aluminium and parabens in deodorants lead to breast cancer.
8.) HRT can cause breast cancer
Many studies have looked at the association between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer. The best information comes from Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a large study involving more than 16,000 healthy women. The results published in July 2002 showed that the risks of breast cancer increases, when on a combined HRT treatment that includes estrogen plus progestin treatment. If you have been suggested HRT, discuss in details with your doctor, your family history, lifestyle, etc to choose the most safe method.
9.) Lack of breast feeding, or never being pregnant can lead to breast cancer
Studies have shown that a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is related to her exposure to hormones that are produced by her ovaries. Pregnancy and breastfeeding both reduce a woman’s lifetime number of menstrual cycles, and thus her cumulative exposure to these hormones decreases. This in effect reduces the risk of breast cancer. Also, pregnancy and breastfeeding have a direct effect on the breast cells, causing them to mature, so they can produce milk. Research found that these mature cells are more resistant to becoming transformed into cancer cells.
10.) Statistics and data on breast cancer in India
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India
- It accounts for 25-31% cancer in women
- 48% patients are below the age of 50; 4% in 20-30 group
- For every 2 new women diagnosed of breast cancer, one loses the battle