What Is Breast cancer?

Breast Cancer refers to an abnormal growth in the cells of breast tissue most commonly occurring in the cell lining the milk ducts of the breast. It is the most common type of cancer in the breast tissue and affects women chiefly. However, men can get affected too.

The Breasts

The Breast tissue is made up of fat, connective tissue, and glands that produce milk divided into lobes. The lobes are connected to the nipple through a network of ducts.

Breast Size and Density

Both breasts are not necessarily the same in size. Also, their size differs during different times of the month depending upon your hormonal cycles. The breasts of younger women tend to be denser due to the presence of more glandular than fatty tissue.

However, post-menopause, women tend to have breast tissue that is less dense where the glandular tissue gets replaced by the fat.

The Process of Oncogenesis-How Does the Cancer Start?

The process of Oncogenesis starts in the cells that line the milk ducts. About nine out 10 of these cancers, when observed under a microscope, bear no special features. They are termed as invasive breast cancer (NST), where NST refers to no special type.

Around 10% of the Breast cancer is the invasive lobular type. This means the cell that initiated the process of oncogenesis belonged to the walls of lobules of the breast.

The Lymphatic Spread

Like every tissue in the human body, breast also has its lymphatic drainage consisting of the lymph nodes. This system of lymphatic drainage is responsible for collecting the waste product from tissue and draining it into the nervous system. The cancer cells that dissociate from the tissue can be trapped in the lymphatics. The most common lymphatic where the cancer cells tend to metastasise are axillary lymph nodes, i.e., the lymph nodes in your armpits.

Which Population Get Affects the Most?

According to the recent data, 55,200 people get diagnosed with this cancer each year. That makes 150 people per day.

Among the affected population, 54,800 are women, and 390 are men annually.

Further going into the statistics, 1 in 8 women in the UK develop breast cancer during their lifetime. However, the ratio among men is 1 in 870. The majority of women developing breast cancer are post-menopausal. However, 20% of the cases are seen in women under the age of 50 years.

The risk factors for breast cancer include family history, age and lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking.

How Big Of A Problem Is It?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.

What are Risk Factors for Developing Breast Cancer?

Anything that is associated with increasing the risk of this cancer in an individual is termed as a risk factor. Having a risk does not imply that you will develop breast cancer in all cases. Many people with these factors might never develop cancer; also, there will be people with no risk factors developing cancer.

Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Contraceptive Pills
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Non- Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Old Age
  • Family History and Inheritance of Defected Genes
  • Exposure to X-Rays and Radiotherapy
  • Co-Existing Medical Conditions Such as Diabetes
  • Women with Dense Breast Tissue (I.E., More Glandular Tissue)
  • Benign Breast Conditions
  • Having DCIS or LCIS
  • Early Menarche or Late Menopause
  • Increased Level of Unopposed Estrogen After Menopause
  • Ethnicity
  • History of Breast Cancer
  • Tall Height
  • Women
  • Age of The Firstborn
  • Lactation

Protective Factors Against Breast Cancer

  • Being Physically Active
  • Breastfeeding
  • Use of Aspirin and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Use of Medication in High-Risk Groups