In a global effort to raise awareness on breast cancer, October has been designated as the pink month. Breast cancer awareness month aims to increase public understanding on early detection, symptoms, signs and treatment as well as palliative care of the disease.
- Breast cancer is currently the most common type of cancer worldwide, with 2.26million cases recorded in 2020 (WHO, 2021).
- It is also the most common cancer among women both in developed and developing countries, and a major cause for public concern. (WHO,2021).
- Breast cancer was also the leading cause of cancer death worldwide in 2020, with 685,000 deaths attributed to it (WHO,2021).
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
- Breast cancer are malignant tumor that develop from cells in the breast.
- Breast cancer can develop from cells in the lobules, which are the milk- producing glands, or in the ducts, that is the passage that drains milk from the lobules to the nipple.
- Less commonly, it can start from the stromal tissues, which includes the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.
- Though rare, men can develop breast cancer. Approximately 2,600 men develop breast cancer every year in the United States, making up less than 1% of all cases.
Exact cause breast cancer is unknown, but there are associated risk factors which can be further divided into modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.
Modifiable risk factors.
- Overweight and obesity.
- Alcohol (excessive).
- Lack of physical exercises.
Non modifiable risk factors.
- Gender – commoner in women.
- Age – increases with increasing age.
- Family history of breast cancer.
- Genetic factors.
- Previous radiotherapy.
- Drugs such as steroid.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
- Early breast cancer may be asymptomatic (painless lump).
- Changes in breast size or shape.
- Skin dimpling or skin changes.
- Recent nipple retraction, inversion or nipple abnormalities.
- Nipple discharge particularly blood stained.
- Axillary lumps.
- Not all lumps are cancerous.
- Breast cancer is often first detected as an abnormality on a mammogram before it is felt by the patient or health care provider.
- Clinical evaluation.
- Imaging studies.
- Needle biopsy.
MANAGEMENT OF BREAST CANCER
- Surgical therapy; may be lumpectomy or total mastectomy.
- Radiotherapy; this may follow surgery in an effort to eradicate residual diseases.
- Adjuvant hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
- Surgical resection with or without radiation.
PREVENTION OF BREAST CANCER.
- Self-breast examination.
- Clinical breast examination.
- Ultrasonography; more sensitive in non-fatty breast.
- Magnetic resonance imaging.
SELF BREAST EXAMINATION
The following should raise concern.
- Lump or contour change: hardness, irregularity, focal nodularity.
- Skin tethering.
- Changes in color.
- Nipple changes: inversion, retraction, cracks, flakes.
The best time to do a monthly self- breast examination is three to five days after monthly period starts. Menopausal women should have their breast examined on the same day every month.
The American Cancer society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40.
EARLY DETECTION, A BETTER CHOICE.
Pink October #MEMBA 11 #