Health & Fitness

What Do You Need To Know About Breast Cancer?


Our body is made up of cells. Cells grow, die and are replaced with new ones but when a cell begins to grow out of proportion, multiplies itself without dying, groups together it becomes cancer. 

Cancer is an abnormal growth like tumour that grow in the different part of a human’s body. In this case, we are looking that the cancer that grows on the breast.  Breast cancer is more common to women than men although in rare cases some men do come down with breast cancer.  Breast cancer can affect one, both part breast and even spread to other parts of the body.

What predisposes some people to cancer than others?

The following factors  makes certain people prone to cancer than others.


  1. Family history: Some women come from a family where a family member has had it. This is a risk factor because of the connection in terms of DNA. What may have led to cancer in the other family member may reoccur.
  2. Age: The higher the age the higher the chances of having breast cancer. As women get older, they are more at risk for breast cancer. Teenagers, women in their twenties and thirties are less likely to get breast cancer. This is not to say there are no exceptions to the rule.
  3. Food and lifestyle: If you tend to eat a lot of fatty food, drink alcohol, smoke with no exercise habit then there’s a higher chance you will develop breast cancer.
  4. Exposure to Radiation: exposure to radiation treatments on your chest as a child increases your risk of breast cancer
  5. Obesity: Being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer.
  6. Beginning your period at a younger age. When a child begins her period before she is 12 years old it increases your risk of breast cancer.
  7. Beginning menopause at an older age: If menopause began at an older age, are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  8. Having your first child at an older age:   Giving birth to your first child after age 30 increase the risk.
  9. No pregnancy: Women who have never been pregnant have a higher chance of getting breast cancer than those who have had one or more pregnancies.
  10. Hormone therapy medications: Women who take postmenopausal hormone therapy medications are more likely to have breast cancer and this risk reduces when they stop.

What Are the Signs of Breast Cancer?

Normal a woman’s breast has tissues so that when you touch it looks like a lump which should be painless.  But there are clear signs of the likely presence of breast cancer.

  • A thick breast lump that feels different from the other surrounding tissue
  • The size, shape or appearance of the breast changes
  • Dimpling of the skin around the breast
  • The nipple of the breast becomes inverted
  • The areola of the breast begins to peel, scale, or flake
  • Redness of the skin over your breast.

How Is Breast Cancer Treated?

Breast cancer treatment depends on the extent of the spread of the cancer tissue. Usually doctors use any of these methods to treat breast cancer.

  1. Lumpectomy: This involves the removal of the cancerous tumour through surgery. This is done when the cancerous tissue is small and its discovered early in one part of breast.
  2. Mastectomy: This involves the removal of the entire breast that is affected because the cancerous tissue has spread into other parts of the body.
  3. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy: This is the use of high energy X ray to kill the cancerous cells after lumpectomy and mastectomy has been carried out.

How do you prevent breast cancer?

Doctors, scientist and researchers are still working hard to find a cure to breast cancer . While that is still ongoing there are ways you can help yourself to prevent it from occurring and to nip it in the bud early if it occurs.

  • Have a regular mammograms check and monthly breast self-exams
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce postmenopausal hormone therapy
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Choose a healthy diet and lifestyle

 

 

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Common Childhood Cancers And Treatment Options  


The body is made up of cells that are vital to life. When some of these cells grow out of control, they become abnormal.

The body process for growth of new cells involves replacing old cells with new ones but sometimes the process goes wrong and then new cells are formed even when the body does not need demand the old cell refuses to die.

These extra cells can form a tumour, which is either benign or malignant. Malignant tend to be cancerous because they invade surrounding tissues while benign tumours are not cancerous. There are over 200 different types of cancer. Cancer that occurs in adult varies largely from those that occur in children. The commonest types of cancer that affect children are


  1. Leukemia
  2. Brain and spinal cord tumors
  3. Neuroblastoma
  4. Lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)
  5. Rhabdomyosarcoma
  6. Retinoblastoma
  7. Bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)
  8. Wilms tumor

Leukaemia

Leukaemia is cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It accounts for 30% of all the cases of cancer affecting children. Acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) are the commonest types of Leukaemia found in children. Children with this disease often suffer weakness, bone and joint pain, fatigue, bleeding, fever, weight loss etc.  As soon as acute leukaemia is detected, it needs to be treated quickly because it grows fast.

Brain and Spinal cord tumours

Most brain tumours in children occur in the lower parts of the brain causing blurred vision headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and seizures, finding it hard to handle objects and walk properly. Spinal cord tumours are not as common as brain tumours. Brain and Spinal cord tumours account for 26% of childhood cancer. It is second to Luekaemia in its prevalent among children.  There are different types of brain tumours that demand different treatment.

Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma develops in infants and young children less than 10 years old. Usually, it grows from some nerve cells in the foetus.  This can occur in any part of the body but it usually starts in the belly as a swelling, which causes bone pain and fever.  It accounts for about 6% of childhood cancers.

Wilms Tumour

Wilms tumour also is known as nephroblastoma affects the kidney. It is common among kids between 3 to 4 years old. It can present as a lump or swelling around the abdomen. Some of the symptoms are fever, pain, nausea, or poor appetite. Wilms tumour accounts for about 5% of childhood cancers.

Lymphomas

Lymphomas affects the immune system cells known as lymphocytes. It also affects the bone marrow and other organs of the body. There are two main types of lymphoma -Hodgkin lymphoma (Hodgkin disease) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Some of the symptoms of lymphomas are weight loss, fever, sweats, tiredness, and swollen lymph nodes under the skin.

Rhabdomyosarcoma

This type of cancer affects the cells responsible for the growth of skeletal muscles. It can start in any part of the body. It presents with swellings and pain at the part affected.

Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is the type of cancer that affects the eye. It usually occurs in children around the age of two, and it is rarely found in children older than 6. The child’s eye is unusual in the sense that when you shine a torch on the pupil it turns white instead of red.

Bone Cancers

This type of cancer affects the bones. It often occurs in teens and older kids but it can start at any age.  The two main types of bone cancer found in children are Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma.

Treatment of Childhood Cancers

The treatment for cancer depends on the type of cancer involved and how advanced it is. These treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and targeted therapy.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy refers to drugs that kill actively growing cancerous cells. Cancer cells grow rapidly without heeding the normal signals of the body that control the growth of cells.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, also known as targeted therapy or biotherapy. It is a cancer treatment that invigorates a patient’s immune system so it is equipped to fight disease. This is done in partnership with other cancer treatments.

Radiation Therapy: Radiation is a form of X-rays that is used to create images of areas of the body that cannot be easily seen. Cancer treatment requires higher doses of radiation. It works by preventing and destroying the growth and reproduction of dividing cells

Bone marrow transplant: This involves the replacement of the faulty spongy tissue or stem cells  inside the bones.  These stem cells are the ones that develop into red blood cells, which helps to fight infections. This is used in the treatment of bone cancer.

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