Breast cancer is a serious issue that affects one in eight women during the course of their lives.
There are two general types of breast cancer, based on the location of the tumor. Lobular carcinomas tumors grow on the lobules that provide the milk for the ducts. Ductal carcinomas tumors form on the milk ducts and are much more prevalent.
Because there are many different causes of breast cancer, it can be very difficult to determine the primary cause. For instance, drinking alcohol in excess has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. Likewise, a poor diet or not exercising also raises the risk of cancer. Environmental factors, such as radiation and carcinogenic compounds, can increase cancer rates. Other causes of breast cancer include:
- Age and gender. Most breast cancer cases are detected in women age fifty or older. As our bodies start to degenerate with age, uncontrolled cancerous cell growth becomes a larger threat.
- Genetics. Specific genetic characteristics can increase the likelihood of breast cancer to 80 percent. A close family member with colon, uterine, breast or ovarian cancer may be an indicator of an increased risk to other family members.
- Early onset of menstrual cycle. Having a first period before the age of twelve increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer. However, going through menopause after the age of fifty-five also induces an increased risk.
There are many contributing factors to breast cancer, some of which can be avoided. The cure for breast cancer is on the horizon. Until then, early detection is critical. The best way to detect breast cancer is with regular mammogram screenings. This specialized x-ray of the breast can detect breast cancer forming before it can be easily detected with a manual exam. Research has proven that regular breast cancer screenings can greatly increase early detection and the chance of surviving breast cancer because the tumor can be treated while it is still small.
The early signs of breast cancer include breast swelling, a lump in the breast and skin irritation. Also, nipple pain, discharge and retraction are primary warning signs. It is vital for women of all ages to perform breast exams frequently to be aware of any of these symptoms.
Cancer is extremely complex and challenging to detect primarily because its symptoms approximate other infectious diseases. In fact, there have been numerous instances where a patient was diagnosed and treated for an illness only to find out later that it was cancer. The aggressiveness of some forms of cancer makes early detection vital so that it can be managed with proper medical treatment.
Even after treatment, it’s important to monitor breast cancer development and possibilities of recurrence. One of the tests one can perform is Breast Cancer Index, which is an exclusive, validated and robust tool to support the clinical decision-making process for extended endocrine treatment. The test is predictive of whether extended endocrine therapy can benefit the patient and make the process more personalized.