Breast Cancer


Breastcancer is considered as one of the leading causes of death amongwomen. Sadly, despite this knowledge, there is no evidence of anyeffective treatment which has been discovered today. Another issue ofconcern is that the origin of the disease is also not clearly known.Breast cancer is all about the unrestrained growth of cells which donot have any role to play in the breast organ. The disease alsoinvolves the replacement of normal tissues and cells in the brain. Asmore and more cells are replaced, a lump of dead cells are formed andis referred to as cancer. Every year, over 200,000 women arediagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, statistics shows thatmore than 3% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer normally dieof the disease at some age in their lives.

Breastcancer is also considered to be the most common cancer among womenand has led to a high number of their deaths. More than 10% of thewomen in the U.S have breast cancer. Medical practitioners haveidentified a number of breast cancers based on the symptoms produced.A large percentage of these breast cancers are the one that affectmilk ducts. Cancers that do spread away from the breast are referredto as in situ cancer. Conversely, those which spread to other partsof the body are referred to as invasive cancer. Inflammatory cancer,on the other hand, is a type of cancer that spreads extremely fast.

Breastcancer prevalence across the globe

Morethan 1.7 million people women in the world were diagnosed with breastin 2012 alone. This figure represents a 20% increase in breast cancerprevalence from the figure reported in 2008 (Li, 2013). In additionto that, it has been proved that there has been an increase in breastcancer deaths by up to 14%. It is also the most common and widespreadcancer among women. Although increase in cases of breast cancer hasbeen observed in the entire world, a very big number of people whodie from it are those from developing countries. Surprisingly, moreincidences of breast cancer are reported in European region but moredeaths due to the cancer are reported less developed countries. Forexample, more than 90 new incidences of breast cancer are reported inEurope compared to 30 among 100,000 in Africa. 230,000 new cases ofpersistent breast cancer were reported in the United States ofAmerica in the year 2013 (Li, 2013).

Anumber of various factors are associated with the development ofbreast cancer. The following is the list of risk factors associatedwith breast cancer: gender, aging, genetic factors, family history,personal history, race and ethnicity, chest radiation, menstrualperiods, pregnancy and childbirth, birth control, breastfeeding,alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, as well as hormone therapy(Harmer, 2010). As of now, majority of doctors are still of theopinion that the breast cancer are hereditary in nature. However, itis only 15-20% of women with breast cancer who have been found tohave come from families where is a history of breast cancer (Harmer,2010). Research has further shown that women from families with ahistory of breast cancer are 15 times more likely to aquire thedisease compared to the rest. Another factor that has been associatedto breast cancer is menstruation. Research has identified that thereis a high tendency of developing breast cancer among those women whohad experienced their menstruation cycle before attaining the age of12. In addition, there is also a high risk of developing breastcancer among women who do give birth after the age of forty. However,doctors are of the view that it is age that plays a critical rolerather delivery period itself. Other doctors also believe that thereis some connection between breast cancer and diet. Doctors contendthat some of the ingredients that are found in women`s diet may beresponsible for breast cancer and may include birth control pills,alcohol consumption and in some cases even hair dyes. However, thereis no enough evidence to prove such a connection.

Symptomsof breast cancer

Duringthe initial stage of breast cancer development, there may not beclear signs. Sometimes the lump associated with breast cancer may beextremely to the extent where one cannot notice by themselves. Lumpscan have rugged edges, be hard and sometimes do not have pain.Sometimes a swelling in the breast can be a good sign to tell thatone has breast cancer. This lump can either be felt by a woman andmay sometimes be invisible before any mammogram screening. Apart fromthe lump at the breast, breast cancer can also be characterized by alump at the armpit. Other signs include changes in the shape and sizeof the breast, changes in the skin, as well as changes in the nipples(Harmer, 2010). A person may suddenly have inverted nipples insteadof the normal ones. In such a case, a person is supposed to visit adoctor immediately. Other people may discharge substances from theirnipples or may even produce scales. There are other signs that may beexperienced at the mature stages of the disease development includemuscle weakness, double vision, headache, cough, shortness of breath,pleural effusion, jaundice, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, aswell as bone pain.

Thereare several misconceptions about breast cancer that have been makingrounds across the globe. One of those misconceptions is that thebreast cancer affects only women of a particular age (above 35).However, research has shown that breast cancer can affect just aboutwomen of any age. Another myth is that women with high risk factorsstand a high chance of developing brain cancer. This has since beenproven wrong as more than 70% of those who have breast cancer werenot subject to any risk factors. Lastly, there has been amisconception that breast cancer is not painful and that the pain is,as a result, of fibrocystic. However, doctors found out that morethan 11 % of women with breast cancer had a painful experience(Harmer, 2010). This, therefore, means that every person should bethoroughly evaluated before any conclusion can be arrived at.

Breastcancer prevention strategies

Thereare some advanced measures that can be used to both prevent andcontrol the development of breast cancer. However, these strategiescan only become effective if and when there is an efficient breastcancer awareness campaign.

Thefirst procedure which should be considered is to reduce the risksfactors involved in the development of breast cancer. Some of themeasures should include reduced uptake of alcohol, engaging inphysical exercises, and eating a healthy diet. Apart from prevention,another strategy that should be considered is early detection. Theprevention strategies listed above cannot work for people indeveloping countries. Therefore, detection is one of the mostreliable strategies in the prevention of breast cancer. Two methodsof detection can be used: screening and early diagnosis. Screeningcan be done using the mammographic methods which have been found andproved to be quite effective. Early diagnosis can significantlyreduce the prevalence of breast cancer across the globe as thedisease would be handled at a more convenient time. Breastexamination also has the potential of reducing incidence of breastcancer. The strategy empowers women and makes them responsible fortheir own health. It would enable women to identify their healthcondition and chart a way forward.

Womenwith breast cancer should also be aware of the appropriate treatmentstrategy which they easily access. Some of the most familiartreatments for breast cancer include hormone therapy, chemotherapy,radiotherapy, as well as surgery. However, there are many factorsthat should be addressed and considered before choosing a specifictreatment. Some of those factors that need to be addressed includethe size of the tumor, type of breast cancer, as well as the stage ofdisease development. All these information about breast cancerprevention and treatment can be found at various government locationssuch as governmental hospitals, ministry of health websites, worldhealth organization website (WHO), as well as nongovernmental healthinstitutions (NGOs) websites.


Breastcancer is a leading cause of death among women from all walks oflife. Thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer each yearwhile a significant percentage loses their lives (close to 1.7million in a year). There is no specific responsible for the diseasebut rather a number of risk factors such as family history, obesity,smoking, alcohol abuse, and hormonal therapy and birth controlmeasures. The disease has several symptoms, but the most conspicuousare changes in the nipple appearance and breast size/shape.Fortunately, the disease can be prevented at an early stage usingmammographic technology.


Harmer,V. (2011). Breastcancer nursing: Care and management.Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell.

Li,C. I.-F. (2013). Breastcancer epidemiology.New York: Springer.