Pertinent things to know about breast cancer

Breast cancer is a life-threatening condition that can affect both men and women. It is, however, more common in females, beginning either in the lobules, which are glands that produce milk, or the breast ducts. From there, the mutating cancer cells grow uncontrollably, potentially spreading to the healthy breast tissue and other parts of the body. Depending on where it spreads from, breast cancer is divided into the following types:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Male breast cancer

Breast cancer statistics

Awareness measures and funding efforts have helped increase breast cancer survival rates in the last few years. The number of deaths has decreased as well, especially in older women. That said, about 43,600 women are expected to die from the condition in 2021 in the U.S. alone. It remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, with estimates suggesting that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers in 2021.

Causes of breast cancer

Despite advancements in medical science, cancer, as a whole, isn’t understood that well. Experts aren’t sure why it develops, so there’s no definite answer on its exact cause. Although, certain risk factors have been identified, and these are as follows:

  • Age

The probability of getting breast cancer increases with age. Data shows that most invasive cases are found in women over the age of 55.

  • History of breast cancer in the family

While there’s not a lot of data to back up this claim, the chances of breast cancer do increase if someone in the immediate family has suffered from the condition at a young age.

  • First child at an older age

Breast cancer is also more common in women who had their first child after turning 30.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Generally, all the different types of breast cancer produce similar symptoms. Some of them are:

  • Breast pain
  • Nipple discharge other than milk
  • Redness and swelling in one or both breasts
  • Breast lump or thickening dissimilar to the surrounding tissue
  • Inverted nipple
  • Skin of the breast looks and feels different
  • Peeling or scaling of the pigmented area of the nipple
  • Discharge of blood from the nipples

Treatment of breast cancer

After your doctor has positively diagnosed breast cancer, which he/she can do through tests like breast ultrasound, mammogram, and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), one can proceed with treatment. Depending on the severity and stage of cancer, any of the following treatment options will be picked.

  • Mastectomy

In this procedure, the entire breast will be removed, including the nipple.

  • Lumpectomy

This is another kind of surgery wherein the surgeon will remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissues.

  • Hormone therapy

This procedure blocks the production of progesterone and testosterone, as these hormones promote the growth of breast cancer cells.

Diet and breast cancer

A proper diet can help your body heal quicker from the effects of breast cancer. The best foods to add to your regular meals are:

  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Skinless chicken
  • Whole grains
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Brussel sprouts

Foods to avoid when on a breast cancer diet

  • Red meat
  • Butter and whole milk
  • Sweets like cookies and cake
  • Alcohol

Natural remedies for breast cancer

Breast cancer treatments can often lead to unwanted side effects. However, you can manage them with the help of simple natural remedies. Some of them are:

  • Dandelion

It alleviates fatigue, reduces inflammation, and boosts immunity, which is great for someone suffering from a debilitating condition like breast cancer.

  • Ginger and turmeric

Both these flowering plants can provide instant relief from breast pain, with ginger also being potent against nausea, which is a side-effect of the condition and the treatment.