Sneha Jadhav
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Breast Cancer: show your care, be aware

16 December 2021

Breast cancer is characterized by an abnormal growth of cells, which in turn leads to the formation of lumps inside the breast. It is one of the most treatable cancers. Left untreated, it can be life-threatening as it can spread to other parts of the body. The effects of breast cancer vary depending on the type of cancer, the severity of the disease, and the age of the individual.

“Patients are experiencing better outcomes as a result of early diagnosis, state-of-the-art treatment options, and less extensive surgery,” said Catherine Tuite, MD, Section Chief of Breast Radiology and Associate Professor of Diagnostic Imaging at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Risk Factors:

· Family History: Women with breast cancer in their mothers or sisters are at greater risk of developing the disease.

· Breast Lumps - Women who have had some kind of cancer-free lumps are more likely to get cancer later.

· Dense breast tissue - Women with dense breast tissue are more likely to get breast cancer.

· Age: As women get older, they are at a higher risk of breast cancer.

· Diet and lifestyle: Women who smoke, eat a high-fat diet, drink alcohol are at greater risk of developing breast cancer.

· Radiation Exposure: Frequent exposure to X-Rays and CT scans may increase the risk of breast cancer in women.

· Obesity: Obese women are at greater risk of developing breast cancer.

· Estrogen Exposure - Women who start menstruating prematurely or later than normal are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. This is because their bodies have been exposed to estrogen for a long time.


Other risk factors are related to lifestyle factors, including the use of birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, having children, drinking alcohol, obesity or obesity, and not exercising. Having one or more risk factors does not mean that a woman will develop breast cancer. “Women need to be aware of all the risks. For those who are in control, they need to make wise life decisions that can reduce their risks, "


BRCA1 and breast cancer

The main risk factors for non-genetic breast cancer have hormonal origins. For example, gender, age of menstruation and menopause, history of birth, lactation, and the use of external (external) estrogen can be stated. In most cases, non-genetic breast cancer occurs among menopausal women with high levels of estrogen receptor.


Estrogen has at least two important roles in the development of breast cancer:

(1) Estrogen metabolites can convert or produce free radicals that damage DNA, and

(2) Estrogen can increase the pre-cancerous and cancerous cells by its hormonal activity.


In addition, since an important component of breast carcinoma is estrogen-receptor-negative (or ER-), other mechanisms are involved in the development of breast cancer. Modification of BRCA1 (a type of breast cancer) also raises the risk of breast cancer.


Three tests are often used to diagnose breast cancer. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Women should talk to their doctor about the best option for them-

1. A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast used to detect and evaluate breast changes. Its detection capacity depends on the size of the tumor and the density of the breast tissue. Three-dimensional (3D) mammography is a type of digital mammography where X-ray machines are used to take pictures of tiny pieces of tissue from different angles and computer software is used to reshape the image.

2. Breast ultrasound is commonly used along with mammography for high-risk women who are unable to perform MRI, and women with compacted breast tissue.

3. Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be used to diagnose high-risk women and gather additional information about the suspicious location found in mammograms or ultrasound.


Breast cancer in Iran

The incidence of the disease is 20-in-1000 per year in Iran. Thus, the chances of young people with breast cancer being 6,000 (about one in 10), out of 30 million women in the country. Although Iran has low rates of breast cancer, compared to other countries, the recent increase in this problem has turned it into a very common type of ulcer among Iranian women. This cancer has plagued Iranian women for at least a decade before their counterparts in developed countries (more than 30% of patients under the age of 30)


To lower risk of breast cancer:

· Get to and stay at a healthy weight. Balance your food intake with physical activity to avoid excess weight gain.

· Get some exercise. Each week, get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of intense activity (or a combination of these).

· Reduce or avoid alcohol. The ACS recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.

· If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.

· Breastfeed your babies, if possible.

Be careful with breast cancer detection. If you notice changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when you start mammograms and other tests based on your personal history.


References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319297/

http://nhp.gov.in/breast-cancer-awareness-month_pg

https://www.foxchase.org/blog/why-breast-cancer-awareness-so-important

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/index.htm

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