Breast Cancer

Nowadays cancer is one of the incurable diseases, which every day take hundreds of deaths all over the world. Though cancer has been known since ancient times, medicines for its treatment have been developed only in the middle of the twentieth century. Today doctors managed to reduce the mortality, caused by cancer, with the help of a complicated systemic treatment. However, this disease is not completely investigated. Today the most widespread forms of cancer are lung cancer and breast cancer. According to the data of the National Breast Cancer Foundation it is the fifth cause of cancer death(The National Breast Cancer Foundation). Therefore, it is necessary to be well-informed about the peculiarities of the disease and the ways of its early discovering.

First of all it is necessary to know the risk groups as there are some risk factors that add the possibility of cancer development. About half of all the women with this diagnosis are over 65. Moreover, among risk factors there is excess weight, taking of hormone medicines, radiation therapy of breast area. The reproducible history of women also plays an important role. Late menopause, childbirth at older age or not having given birth might influence cancer development in future. Women should also pay attention to their lifestyle and diets. Overuse of alcohol drinks, fattening food and lack of physical activity have negative impact on human health in general and might lead to breast cancer in particular.

Cancer cells develop much faster than healthy cells, therefore it is very important to detect dangerous lumps as early as possible and to undertake the necessary measures to stop the development of cancer. Breast cancer can affect both men and women, though among men the cases are rarer. Tumors usually form in ducts and mammary glands. They might grow either quickly or slowly and the cells might spread to other organs and tissues. This process is called metastasis. At early stages breast cancer does not cause pain. However, it has its symptoms, which it is necessary to know. Very often women can find the lumps themselves. Cancer tumors might result in the change of the look of breasts or nipples or of how they feel. Tenderness of nipples or their discharge, changed form of a nipple or some thickenings are most likely the signs of cancer tumors.

While there is a chance to reduce the risk of cancer development, it is impossible to eliminate the possibility of cancer cells forming. No one can feel secured against it. Therefore, it is indispensable to perform regular breast exams since the age of 20. Together with self examination, it is necessary to have clinical breast exams and mammograms in order to control the situation (Fallowfield & Clark, 1991).

There are seven major types of breast cancer, depending on the place of cancer cells development. Knowing the type of breast cancer it is easier to choose the right way of treatment. DCIS or Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ is characterized by the affection of the ductal system. It is usually the first stage of cancer development, when the cells remain within the ductal system and have not spread yet to the breast tissue. It is also called noninvasive breast cancer. Discovered at this stage of development, breast cancer can be successfully cured. The second type is medullary carcinoma, called so because of the look of cancer cells, which resemble gray matter of brain. This type of cancer usually affects women over 40 years old and presents 15 % of breast cancer cases. The most widespread type of breast cancer is IDC or Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, which forms 75 % of all cases of breast cancer development. The development of this type of breast cancer is difficult to forecast because cancer cells spread with blood and lymph to breast tissues and to other organs of the body. Another type of infiltrating breast cancer is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma which differs from the previous one only by the place of origin. If IDC affects ducts, ILC forms in lobules that produce milk. Other three types of breast cancer are tubular carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma and inflammatory breast cancer. These types are not as widespread as the mentioned-above, still it is important to know about them. Tubular carcinoma got its name because of the shape of cancer cells. It usually affects women under 50. The main characteristics of mucinous breast cancer are the produced mucus and the difficulties in the discovering of cancer cells. The inflammatory breast cancer is very rare while it spreads quickly. It is called so because breasts usually look inflamed due to redness and swollenness as this type of cancer blocks lymph vessels in the breast (National Cancer Institute).

Any type of breast cancer has five stages from the stage of in-situ carcinoma, when cancer cells do not travel outside the area of their origin, to the fourth when cancer cells have already spread to other organs of the body. Naturally the chances of treatment cancer and of survival diminish from the first stage to the fifth respectively. The National Breast Cancer Foundation gives the following statistics of five-year survival rate depending on cancer stages. At stage 0 (carcinoma in-situ) the rate of survival is 100%, at stage I (early stage of infiltrating carcinoma) it is 98 %, at stage II it is 88 %, at stage III, which is divided into two levels A and B, it is 56 % and 49 % respectively, at last at stage IV the rate of five-year survival is 16 % (The National Breast Cancer Foundation). In this connection, the question of timely clinical examination is very urgent.

It is important not to be afraid of learning the information about cancer, its types, its stages and the ways of its treatment, especially when a woman has already discovered breast cancer. Knowledge becomes one of the most important arm in the struggle with this disease. It seems rather unimportant to people while it does not touch them, therefore the disease becomes a shock for them and they do not know what to do and how to behave. Very often breast cancer becomes a very difficult psychological problem for women. In our minds cancer is associated with death, while many women manage to cure breast cancer and to continue full-fledged life (Ogden, 2004). In the very beginning the shock might be so strong that a woman might lose heart and postpone the treatment because of her fear and unwillingness to believe that this disease has affected her. The support of friends and relatives is essential for women. They should feel that they are not alone in their struggle with cancer. Therefore, today there are many associations, which have united those women who have recently learned about their disease and those who managed to win it.

To make a conclusion, breast cancer is a difficult and very dangerous disease. There are different types of breast cancer, which have different characteristic features and peculiarities of treatment. Though breast cancer might lead to fatal outcome, it is necessary to remember that it is possible to struggle with it. The main arm against it is timely examination and treatment. Women should not be afraid of learning all the details of their disease and in their struggle they should feel their families’ support. Then they would be able to win breast cancer.

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