From relative obscurity, breast cancer has become one of the leading causes of deaths among women in the world. In 2001, about 200,000 cases of breast cancer have been reported in the United States, making it the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. It is, in fact, the most common malignancy problem that is affecting women in North America and Europe today.
But what is breast cancer and how do people get it?
Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors in the breast grow and start to affect other tissues in the body. There is still no clear indications how tumors are created but what is often observed is that cancerous cells usually comes from ducts or glands.
Although women’s health organizations advise women to massage the breast daily and to feel for any lumps, it may a long time before a cancerous cell get big enough for us to feel it. By that time, it may already be too late. Doctors make use of mammograms for their diagnosis.
Breast at risk
All women are actually at risk, with the risk increasing with the presence of some risk factors that are already part of the natural cycle, for example, aging. Family history of breast cancer can also significantly affect the prognosis as heredity has been found to play a role. Women who got their periods before they were 12 years old and those who never had or had children after 30 years old are also more likely to develop breast cancer.
There are also risk factors that medical science can help alter such as hormonal problems through replacement therapies. Women are also advised to decrease their consumption of alcoholic drinks, exercise every day and decrease the use of birth control pills. Breastfeeding has been found to decrease the risk of breast cancer development.