Can you die from breast cancer? With almost 12% of the chances of a woman encountering breast cancer in their life, there is always life risks involved with breast cancer. It is interesting to know that the rate of breast cancer among men is relatively low, at 1%.
Surprisingly breast cancer is common among American women. Additionally, a survey revealed that breast cancer in women turned out to be the second most common reason for death, preceding lung cancer.
How Does Breast Cancer Start?
One should know the anatomy of the breast to understand how breast cancer starts. In the early stage of cancer, there are no visible symptoms or signs for it. The sign gradually appears when the breast tumor gets large and visible to touch. When some of the breast cancer grow abnormally. Compared to the healthy cells, cancer cells multiply faster to form a mass or lump.
There are chances of spreading the cells from lymph nodes to other parts of the body. Most often, breast cancer begins with milk-producing duct cells or in epithelial tissues. However, cancer can start from any tissues or cells within the breast.
Factors like lifestyle, environment, and hormones play a vital role in the risk of cancer. The most common reason for breast cancer is the complex interaction of your environment and genetic makeup.
Symptoms of Cancer
It is significant to be aware of the symptoms of cancer to detect it in its early stages. Cancer, which is caught in its early stages, has more chances of recovery.
Here are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer:
- Changes in the breast skin such as dimpling
- Change in the appearance, shape, or size of the breast.
- Pitting or redness on the breast skin
- A formation of lump or thickening at a specific spot which is different from surrounding tissues
- Newly averted nipple
- Crusting, flaking, peeling or crusting of the pigmented area surrounding the nipple
- Pain in the breast or armpit which is not relieving with the monthly cycle
- Discharge from the nipple, possibly with blood
- Rashes around the nipple
There is a considerable difference between a breast lump and breast cancer. All the breast lumps are not cancerous. On noticing a breast lump, you should immediately contact your health care practitioner.
What Has Inherited Breast Cancer?
It has been estimated that 5-10 percent of breast cancer cases are caused by gene-mutations and passes from generations in a family. Breast cancer gene1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene2 (BRCA 2) are the two types of breast cancers which are linked to the inherited mutated genes.
People having a strong family history of breast cancer are recommended for a blood test to identify a specific type of mutation in other genes, including BRCA.
What Are The Stages of Breast Cancer?
Depending on the size of the tumor, the stages of cancer identifies. Whether it is restricted to the lymph node or spread across the other parts of the body also determines the stage of breast cancer. Generally, it is scaled from 0-4 and further divided into sub-categories between each step.
The four main stages of breast cancer are as follows:
can you die from breast cancer:
Stage 0: In this stage, the cells are limited in the breast duct. It is known as ductal carcinoma as the cells have not started invading the surrounding tissues
Stage 1: In most of the cases, without affecting any lymph node, the cancer cells start spreading up to 2 centimeters. However, in some instances, there is a small group of cancer cells within the lymph nodes.
Stage 2: The tumor rises across 2 centimeters It spreads to the nearby nodes, and the tumor remains between 2-5 centimeters and
No. Stage 3: In this stage, the tumor is generally larger than 5 centimeters and spread across the several lymph nodes.
Stage 4: Cancer in this stage starts spreading across the other organs like lungs, bones, brain, and liver
What are the Causes of Cancer?
There are connective tissues, thousands of lobules, and fat in a woman’s breast at the time of puberty. The tiny glands – lobules are responsible for producing the milk. The small ducts or tubs carry the milk towards the nipples.
Cells should die at the end of their life cycle. However, under cancer, the cells multiply inevitably as the tumor uses the nutrients resulting in deprivation of the cells around.
How Does Breast Cancer Cause Death? – Risk factors
Breast cancer, like all forms of cancer, occurs when cells begin to divide at an unusually fast rate.
There is no single cause or trigger for breast cancer. Some of the factors/risks associated with breast cancer are as follows:
1. Age – The risk of breast cancer varies with age. At the age of 20, the chances of breast cancer are minimal at 0.06% for the next ten years. However, by the age of 70, it goes as high as 3.84%
2. Dense breast tissues are more likely to diagnosis with breast cancer.
3. Women who previously suffered from a breast lump or breast cancer have higher chances of suffering from breast cancer.
4. The risk of breast cancer also increases with increased exposure to estrogen. A woman with an earlier mensuration cycle than the average (less than 12 years) or entering menopause earlier than the average age (before the age of 55) is exposed to a higher risk of breast cancer.
5. Age at the time of first pregnancy is also related to breast cancer. Hose women who had not to give birth or who give birth after 30 are likely to have a higher risk of breast cancer.
6. If you smoke or consume alcohol, you are exposed to the risk of breast cancer from those who don’t.
7. Breastfeeding the baby for more than one year lowers the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen exposure is likely to diminish with more breastfeeding, which helps in reducing the chances of breast cancer.
8. Excessive weight or developing obesity after menopause is also attributed to the higher risk of breast cancer as the estrogen level in the body increases.
9. Oral contraceptives are also responsible for increasing breast cancer risk slightly. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), specifically estrogen-progesterone treatment (EPT), accounts for the increased risk of breast cancer.
10. Radiation treatment also leads to an increased risk of breast cancer.
11. Genetics – Mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2 poses a higher threat for breast cancer and even for ovarian cancer. Even the mutations in the TP53 gene are also associated with breast cancer. A person has more chances of developing breast cancer if any of the close relatives have breast cancer.
Genetic testing is required for the following group of people:
- With the ancestry history of breast cancer related to BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
- Those are having a family history of fallopian, ovarian, peritoneal, or breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Breast Cancer is the 2nd leading problem of cancer death after ovarian cancer in women. Breast cancer also can occur in men, but it is not much common in men.
In 2019, it was Estimated That 268,600 women were diagnosed with breast cancer
Breast Cancer Treatment
The chances of curing breast cancer are higher with its early identification. Treatment of breast cancer depends on factors such as the growth of the tumor, response of treatment, age, and other underlying medical conditions.
Some of the suggested treatments for breast cancer are:
1. Surgical treatment
Here, the doctor will remove some or all parts of the breast. In simple words, it refers to the removal of the breast. Many women have the option of breast reconstruction, or at the time of surgery.
It is mostly given by injection. This treatment helps in stopping the multiplication of cancer cells. Vomiting, hair loss, and infection are some of the common side effects of Chemotherapy.
3. Hormonal therapy
It generally takes five years to obstruct the growth of cancer cells with this therapy. Hot flashes and irregular periods are some common effects of hormonal therapy. However, when breast cancer spread across large parts of the breast, this therapy is not useful.
4. Radiation therapy
It is often given after a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy to destroy cancer cells that can persist in the breast and sometimes in the armpit and chest wall.
Precautions to be taken to avoid breast cancer:
- Take a healthy diet low in fat and eat lots of fruits and vegetables;
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Exercising helps you to lose fat faster and makes you healthy.
- Once you are cured for the breast cancer, get yourself checked regularly every after five years;
- If you find any changes in breast shape or any underlying pain, don’t ignore it.
- Women above the age of 40 should talk to the doctor and check-up after every two years if you think that your breast cancer risk is higher.
can you die from breast cancer: The chances of survival against any detected cancer depend on the stage at which it is detected? The early identification of cancer symptoms is helpful in the recovery of the woman. Hence, it is highly advisable not to ignore any sign of breast cancer, as stated above.
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