Breast cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the breasts. After the skin cancer, breast cancer becomes the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women, especially in the US. It can occur in both women and men, but it is more common among women.
Continuous support from Hong Kong Cancer Fund and breast cancer awareness helps create advances in treatment and diagnosis.
The survival rate of breast cancer has also intensified, and the rate of deaths has decreased, all thanks to this support, earlier detection, a better understanding of the illness, and personalized approaches to different treatments.
Where It Begins
Breast cancer may start from various parts of your breast. The breast refers to an organ that sits on top of your chest muscles and upper ribs. There is a right and left breast, both of which have fatty tissue, ducts, and glands.
In women, the breasts deliver and make milk so as to feed infants and newborns. The fatty tissue amount in your breast dictates the size of both. So, in general, breast cancer can occur in the following parts of your breast:
- Connective tissue
- Lymph vessels
- Blood vessels
A few factors can cause breast cancer to develop. For several women, the risk is lower or higher than average. Factors, which increase the risk, like abnormal genes and age, can’t be modified.
But exercising regularly, especially during young adulthood and adolescence, can minimize the risks of getting breast cancer.
Far more imperative than modifying certain risk factors is to be vigilant about Hong Kong breast cancer screening in order to diagnose the illness and treat it early when it is easy to cure.
There are many types of breast cancers affecting most women out there. But the most common types of breast cancers include:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: This is also referred to as stage breast cancer. Some regard it as precancerous since the cells have not spread to the milk ducts. The condition is treatable, but prompt care will be necessary in order to prevent cancer from spreading and becoming invasive.
- Infiltrative ductal carcinoma: It starts in the milk ducts of the breast. Since it breaks through duct walls and can spread in the surrounding tissue, it makes up around 82% of all cases, making it the most common form of breast cancer.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ: This is a precancerous illness where there are usually abnormal cells at the lobules of the breast. Although it is not true cancer, it may show potential for breast cancer. This makes it imperative to have clinical breast examinations regularly.
- Infiltrative lobular carcinoma: It occurs at the breast lobules and may spread to the surrounding tissues. Usually, it accounts for about 14% of all breast cancers.
Is It Painful?
A mass or lump in the breast is normally among the first signs of this illness. In most cases, those lumps are not painful. An individual might experience pain in their breast area or nipple, which can at times be tied to that person’s menstrual cycle.
Pain that breast cancer causes are gradual. Anyone experiencing pain resulting from breast cancer, especially persistent or severe, must consult a good healthcare expert.
Symptoms and Signs
In the early stages of breast cancer, the illness might cause symptoms. Mostly, a tumor can be too small for you to feel it. However, an abnormality will still be observed on a mammogram.
If you feel a tumor, the first sign can be a new lump in your breast, which wasn’t there before. Though it is important to note that not every lump is cancerous.
All types of breast cancers may cause symptoms. Most of those symptoms are the same, but some are different. The most common symptoms and signs of breast cancer are:
- Inverted nipple
- Breast pain
- Swelling or lump under the arm
- Flaking, scaling, or peeling of skin
- Blood discharge
- Thickening tissue
- Discolored or pitted skin on your breast
Mammographic screening, where some X-ray images of your breast are usually taken, is a common way of determining the change in the breast tissue at the early stage of the illness.
But you need to know that a mammogram may not be able to detect some breast cancers. It may as well increase your chance of having extra interventions and tests, including surgery, even when you have not been affected by the illness.
Women with more risk of getting breast cancer can be offered Hong Kong breast cancer screening and genetic testing for this condition.
As the risks for this condition increases with age, every woman who has attained 50 years or more is usually welcomed for screening after every three years.
Women who are more than 70 years are entitled to screening as well and may organize an appointment through a local screening unit or their GP.
There are different treatment options based on the several features that come with breast cancers. Surgery is the most common type of treatment used to treat breast cancer. It usually involves getting rid of localized cancer from your breast.
Surgery can be in two forms, including mastectomy and lumpectomy. Mastectomy encompasses removing the entire breast which has been affected by the illness. On the other hand, lumpectomy involves getting rid of cancer and several healthy tissues but keeping the organ intact.
Chemotherapy is also another popular treatment method. It usually involves using some anti-cancer medicines in order to destroy the remaining cells causing cancer in your body. It can be used after or before the surgery/radiotherapy. It may also be used together with radiation therapy. Apart from radiotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy, a doctor can also use the following method to treat the illness:
- Palliative care
- Hormone therapy
In case you are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, your healthcare provider might suggest that you consider taking some medicines so as to reduce the risks. Some women might even opt to have a mastectomy to prevent the illness.
But generally, getting mammograms is advisable so that the specialist can detect the illness early to make it easier to handle.