Breast cancer

Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Stages, Prevention

Table of Contents

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a kind of sickness where harmful lumps grow in the breast cells. It can happen to both men and women, but it’s more common in women. It’s important to know what things might make it more likely and to catch it early. Doctors can treat it with operations. Medicine, and other treatments.

Can breast cancer be cured?

Yes, breast cancer can be cured, particularly when diagnosed at an early stage and treated promptly with appropriate medical interventions.


  1. Feeling a lump or mass in the breast or under the arm.
  2. Noticing changes in the size or shape of the breast.
  3. Seeing a discharge from the nipple that isn’t breast milk, especially if it’s bloody.
  4. Seeing changes in the skin of the breast, like dimpling, puckering, or redness.
  5. Noticing the nipple turning inward or pulling back.
  6. Feeling ongoing pain or discomfort in the breast.
  7. Feeling the breast becoming swollen or thicker.
  8. Feeling a lump or mass in the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collarbone.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to a doctor. Remember, not all changes mean you have breast cancer, but it’s best to get checked out to be sure.


  1. Genetic Changes: Some people are born with genes that make them more likely to get breast cancer.
  2. Family History: if someone in your family has had breast cancer, you might be more likely to get it too.
  3. Hormonal Factors: Things like starting periods early or going through menopause late can increase your risk. Also, taking hormone pills for a long time might raise the chance of getting breast cancer.
  4. Lifestyle Choices: Drinking a lot or alcohol, smoking, not exercising, being overweight, and eating a lot of fatty foods can make you more likely to develop breast cancer.
  5. Environmental Exposures: Being exposed to certain chemicals or radiation over time might increase the risk.
  6. Age: Getting older increases the chance of getting breast cancer, especially for women over 50.
  7. Past Breast Conditions: Having certain non–cancerous breast conditions can also raise your risk.
  8. Previous Radiation Therapy: If you had radiation therapy to the chest as a child, especially for another cancer, it might increase your risk of breast cancer later in life.

What are the Types?

  1. Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS): DCIS is when abnormal cells are found in the milk ducts of the breast but haven’t spread to nearby tissue.
  2. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common kind of breast cancer. It starts in the milk ducts but then spreads to other parts of the breast.
  3. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): ILC begins in the lobules, which are the glands that make milk, it can then spread to nearby areas.
  4. Triple–Negative Breast Cancer: This type of breast cancer doesn’t have three specific receptors, making it harder to treat with certain medications.
  5. HER2 – Positive Breast Cancer: HER2 – positive cancer has too much of a protein called HER2, which can help cancer grow. Special drugs can target this protein.
  6. Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC): IBC is rare but aggressive, causing redness, swelling, and warmth in the breast without a distinct lump.
  7. Metastatic Breast Cancer: This is advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, like bones or lungs.
  8. Paget’s Disease of the Nipple: This affects the skin and nipple, causing redness and itching, often linked to an underlying breast cancer.

What are the Stages?

Stage 0:

Cancer cells are only found in the lining of a duct and haven’t spread outside.

Stage 1:

Cancer is small and only in the breast, not spread to other parts.

Stage 2:

Cancer is larger and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to distant parts.

Stage 3:

This stage has subcategories:

  1. Stage IIIA: Cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, maybe larger.
  2. Stage IIIB: Cancer might have spread to the chest wall or caused swelling.
  3. Stage IIIC: Cancer reaches lymph nodes near the collarbone or underarm.
  4. Stage IV: Cancer has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes to other parts of the body.

How to Diagnosis?

Breast Exam

A doctor checks the breasts and underarms for lumps or changes.

Imaging Tests

  1. Mammogram: An X–ray of the breast to look for any issues.
  2. Ultrasound: Sound waves make pictures of breast tissue.
  3. MRI: A detailed image of breast tissue using magnets and radio waves.


A small piece of breast tissue is taken and checked under a microscope to see if cancer is present.

Genetic Testing

Tests to see if there are genes that increase the risk of breast cancer.

Blood tests

Checks the blood for markers that might indicate breast cancer.

Pathology Evaluation

After a biopsy, a specialist examines the tissue to understand the type and stage of breast cancer.



  • Taking nearby out the tumor or the whole breast.
  • Checking nearby lymph nodes for cancer.
  • Helps remove the cancer from the body.

Radiation Therapy

  • Using strong rays to kill cancer cells.
  • Often done after surgery to kill any leftover cancer cells.
  • Treatments are done daily for a few weeks.


  • Taking medicines to kill cancer cells.
  • Used when cancer has spread or to shrink tumors before surgery.
  • Can cause side effects like hair loss and feeling tired.

Hormone Therapy

  • Taking pills to block hormones that helps cancer grow.
  • Used for certain types of breast cancer.
  • Taken daily for a few years.

Targeted therapy

  • Using drugs to attack specific parts of cancer cells.
  • Often given with other treatments.
  • Side effects are different from chemotherapy.


  • Boosting the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Used for some advanced breast cancers.
  • Side effects can feel like having the flu.

Reconstructive Surgery

  • Surgery to rebuild the breast shape after removal.
  • Done after cancer treatment is finished.
  • Options include using implants or tissue from other parts of the body.

Clinical Trials

  • Testing new treatments or combinations.
  • Offered to some patients.
  • Helps doctors learn more and improve future treatments.


Healthy Habits

  • Eat lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
  • Stay active and keep a healthy weight.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation and don’t smoke.

Exercise Regularly

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days.
  • It helps keep your weight in check and lowers your risk of breast cancer.


  • Breastfeed your baby if you can.
  • It may lower your risk of breast cancer, especially if you do it for a long time.

Limit Hormone Therapy

If possible, avoid ling – term use of hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills.

Regular Checkups

Follow screening guidelines for breast cancer, including mammograms and checkups with your doctor.

Be aware of any changes in your breasts and report them to your doctor.

Genetic Testing

Consider getting tested for inherited gene mutations if breast cancer runs in your family.

Avoid Radiation and Toxins

  • Try to limit exposure to radiation, like from X – rays.
  • Be cautions with chemicals in household products and pesticides.

Stay Informed

  • Learn about breast cancer risks and symptoms.
  • Spread awareness in your community and support breast health initiatives.

How to avoid breast cancer?

  1. Keep a Healthy Weight: Try to stay at a weight that’s right for you by eating healthy foods and staying active.
  2. Eat healthy Foods: Full your plate with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, and limit sugary and fatty foods.
  3. Stay Active: Get moving every day with activities you enjoy, like walking, dancing, or biking, for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Limit Alcohol: If you drink, keep it to one drink a day or less.
  5. Don’t smoke: Smoking can increase your chances of getting breast cancer, so it’s best to avoid it.
  6. Breastfeed if You Can: Breastfeeding your baby can lower your risk of breast cancer.
  7. Be Careful with Hormones: If possible, avoid long–term hormone therapy or birth control pills.
  8. Know Your Family History: Talk to your family about any history of breast cancer, as it can affect your risk.
  9. Stay informed: Learn about breast cancer symptoms and screening tests, and get regular checkups.
  10. Reduce Toxins: Try to limit exposure to chemicals in household products and pesticides.

Breast reconstruction surgery


How can breast cancer affect the body?

  1. Physical Changes: It might cause lumps in the breast or underarms, changes in breast size or shape, and skin or nipple changes like dimpling or discharge.
  2. Pain and Discomfort: Some people feel ongoing pain or discomfort in the breast area.
  3. Feeling Tired: Cancer treatments can make you feel very tired and affect your energy levels.
  4. Emotional Impact: Getting diagnosed with breast cancer can make you feel scared, anxious, or sad, it may also affect how you see yourself.
  5. Treatment Side Effects: Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation can cause side effects like nausea, hair loss, or mood changes.
  6. Swelling: Surgery or radiation might cause swelling in the arms or chest area.
  7. Bone Problems: Breast cancer can spread to the bones, causing pain or fractures.
  8. Spread to Other Organs: If cancer spreads, it can affect other parts of the body like the lungs or liver, causing more symptoms and problems.

Is breast cancer Painful?

Breast cancer itself doesn’t usually cause pain, but some people might Feel breast pain or discomfort if the cancer is advanced or affects nearby Areas. If you notice any unusual changes or discomfort in your breasts, It’s important to see a doctor for evaluation.

Can you live 20 years with breast cancer?

Yes, some people can live for 20 years or more after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection, good treatment, and staying healthy can help. But it depends on things like how bad the cancer is and how well treatment works for each person.

Can I live a normal life after breast cancer?

Yes, after breast cancer treatment, many people can live normal lives. Some might feel tired or emotional at times, but with support, they can get back to their usual activities, It’s important to keep up with checkups and take care of yourself for the best recovery.

Is breast cancer is serious?

Yes, breast cancer is a serious illness. It can affect your health a lot. But if it’s found early and treated well, many people can get better and live healthy lives.

At what age do you not treat breast cancer?

There’s no age when breast cancer isn’t treated. Doctors decide based on factors like your health, the type of cancer, and what you want. They’ll work with you to find the best treatment plan.

Do breasts grow back after cancer?

No, after cancer surgery, breasts don’t grow back o their own. However, there are surgeries available to rebuild the shape of the breast, called breast reconstruction surgery.


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