Every year in the month of October, one of the most focused issues around the world point toward breast cancer awareness. This is extremely beneficial to the world because awareness results in early detection of cancer cells.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. The average risk of a woman in the U.S. developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%, or a 1 in 8 chance. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 2.6%, or a 1 in 38 chance.
Today, due to the advancement in healthcare and technology, age-standardized breast cancer mortality in high-income countries dropped by 40% between the 1980s and 2020s.
Who is at risk?
One important point to know about breast cancer, is that, it is not an infectious or transmissible disease. Unlike some cancers that have infection related causes, there are no known viral or bacterial infections linked to the development of breast cancer.
Approximately half of breast cancers develop in women who have no identifiable breast cancer risk factor other than gender (female) and age (over 40 years). Certain factors increase the risk of breast cancer including increasing age, obesity, harmful use of alcohol, family history of breast cancer, history of radiation exposure, reproductive history, tobacco use and postmenopausal hormone therapy.
Behavioural choices and related interventions that reduce the risk of breast cancer include:
- prolonged breastfeeding;
- regular physical activity;
- weight control;
- avoidance of harmful use of alcohol;
- avoidance of exposure to tobacco smoke;
- avoidance of prolonged use of hormones; and
- avoidance of excessive radiation exposure.
Female gender is the strongest breast cancer risk factor. Approximately 0.5-1% of breast cancers occur in men. The treatment of breast cancer in men follows the same principles of management as for women.
Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
- Surgery. An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy. Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
- Hormonal therapy. Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy. Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.
In conclusion, breast cancer awareness is essential to every household and individual nowadays. An early detection leads to an early cure saving more lives.