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Learning all about Cancer | World Breast Cancer day

Learning all about cancer , World Breast Cancer day

Medically Reviewed by:

Name: Ezire Lilian Chinwe

Description: A highly motivated and licensed biomedical scientist with over 7 years of experience, dedicated to advancing healthcare through innovative research and analysis. Expertise includes genetics, microbiology, and immunology with a commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific advancements.

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilian-ezire-3ba4b2215/

Learning all about Cancer | World Breast Cancer day

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is a general word for a group of diseases characterized by the growth and invasion of healthy cells in the body by malignant cells. Breast cancer begins as a cluster of cancer cells in the breast’s cells, which can subsequently infiltrate surrounding tissues or migrate to other parts of the body (metastasize).

What Causes Cancer to Form?

Cancer starts in the cells, which are the fundamental components of tissue. The breast and other areas of the body contain tissue. When the cell growth process goes bad, new cells form when the body doesn’t require them, and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. When this happens, a mass of tissue known as a lump, growth, or tumor emerges as a result of the buildup of cells.

When malignant tumors develop in the breast, it is called breast cancer. These cells can spread throughout the body by breaking away from the primary tumor and entering blood arteries or lymph vessels, which branch out into various regions. The process of cancer cells spreading to other parts of the body and causing damage to other tissues and organs is known as metastasis.

Learning all about cancer , World Breast Cancer day

Causes of Breast Cancer

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s normal to ask what went wrong. However, no one is aware of the precise causes of this disease. Doctors aren’t sure why one woman gets breast cancer while another does not, and most women with breast cancer will not know the exact origin of their disease. While the exact etiology(exact cause) of breast cancer is unknown, damage to a cell’s DNA is always thought to be a factor in its development.

Risk Factors That Have Been Recognized

Breast cancer is more common in women who have certain risk factors than in women who do not. A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood of contracting a disease. Some risk factors, such as alcohol consumption, can be prevented. However, the majority of risk factors (such as a family history of the disease) are unavoidable. Having a risk factor for breast cancer does not guarantee that a woman will develop the disease. Many women with risk factors for breast cancer never experience the disease.

What is Known so far

Breast cancer is more common cancer among women globally, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of women every year impacting countries at all levels of development, according to the World Health Organization.

In recent years, probably as a result of a decrease in the use of prescription hormone replacement medication after menopause, we have noticed a progressive decrease in the incidence of female breast cancer among women aged 50 and older. It has been almost 20 years since the death rate from breast cancer has decreased, in part due to improved screening and early identification, more public awareness, and ever improving treatment choices.

What Exactly Is A Tumor?

A tumor is an abnormal tissue mass. Breast cancer tumors are classified as either benign or malignant, depending on whether they are non-cancerous or cancerous.

Benign Tumors

When a tumor is determined to be benign, it will most likely be left alone by doctors rather than being surgically removed. But even if they don’t attack the surrounding tissue, these tumors can continue to grow and put pressure on it, leading to discomfort or other issues. When this occurs, the tumor is removed, which alleviates the patient’s symptoms.

Malignant tumors

Malignant tumors are cancerous and can be aggressive in their invasion and destruction of surrounding tissue due of their cancerous nature. Whenever a tumor is considered to be malignant, a biopsy will be performed by a doctor to determine the severity and aggressiveness of the tumor.

Metastatic cancer

When cancer cells from a malignant tumor move to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system or the bloodstream, and form a secondary tumor, it is known as metastatic cancer.

Breast Cancer in Male (Breast Cancer men)

Male or female, are born with some amount of breast cells and tissue. Despite the fact that males do not grow milk-producing breasts, the cells and tissue of a man’s breasts can nonetheless develop cancer. Male breast cancer, on the other hand, is extremely rare. Men account for less than one percent of all breast cancer cases, and just one in every thousand men will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

A firm lump beneath the nipple and areola is frequently the first sign of breast cancer in men. Men have a greater mortality rate than women, owing to a lack of awareness and a lower likelihood of mistaking a bump for breast cancer, which can lead to a delay in seeking treatment. Men over the age of 50 make up the bulk of those diagnosed.

Risk Factors of breast cancer in men

  1. Exposure to radiation.
  2. Estrogen levels that are too high.
  3. Breast cancer in the family, particularly breast cancer linked to the BRCA2 gene.

Signs and Symptoms of breast cancer in male

Male breast cancer might have the same signs as female breast cancer, such as a lump. Anyone who discovers anything strange about their breasts, male or female, should see their doctor right once.

In the shower, most guys discover their own lump, which is commonly found beneath the nipple and areola. Men frequently put off reporting a bump to a doctor, which might lead to the patient needing further therapy.

Men’s breast cancer is estrogen receptor positive in nearly all cases, and 70 percent of women’s breast cancer is estrogen receptor positive as well. Men with breast cancer have similar survival rates and treatment options as women. Breast cancer can be detected early, which expands treatment options and lowers the risk of dying from the disease.

Breast cancer Treatment

Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies are the five therapeutic options available in general, and most treatment plans comprise a combination of them. Some are local, focusing on the tumor’s immediate surroundings. Others are systemic, utilizing cancer-fighting substances throughout your entire body.


Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. This entails removing the tumor as well as the surrounding margins. A lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, radical mastectomy, and reconstruction are all surgical alternatives.


In the past, breast cancer surgery frequently necessitated the removal of the entire breast, chest wall, and all axillary lymph nodes in a technique known as a radical mastectomy, which was a major undertaking. Despite the fact that radical mastectomies are becoming less common, there are still circumstances in which this surgery is the best option for treating breast cancer.

If breast cancer is discovered early enough, there are often treatment options available that will remove the disease while leaving the breast tissue intact. A lumpectomy (which is most typically followed by breast radiation treatments) and a partial mastectomy are the most prevalent therapeutic choices.

Partial Mastectomy

In order to eliminate the malignancy, a partial mastectomy necessitates the surgeon removing a bigger amount of the breast than a lumpectomy — maybe an entire section of tissue. The surgeon may also remove some of the lining around the chest muscles on occasion.

Skin-Sparing Mastectomy

The breast, nipple, areola, and sentinel lymph node (or nodes) are all removed during this treatment, but not the breast skin. This treatment is chosen by many women who want to get breast reconstruction.

Simple Mastectomy (also called total mastectomy)

The breast, nipple, areola, and sentinel lymph node or nodes must all be removed during this procedure. The chest wall and more distant lymph nodes are unaffected.

Modified Radical Mastectomy

The entire breast, nipple, areola, and axillary lymph nodes are removed during this treatment, although the chest wall is generally left intact.


When having a lumpectomy, your doctor will remove only what is necessary to eliminate the tumor, plus a small amount of healthy breast tissue around it. But only a little margin of healthy tissue around the affected area is removed by the surgeon. However minimally invasive lumpectomies are, they can still be highly effective, and additional surgery may not be required in some cases.

Removal of Lymph Node  & Lymphedema

To find out if and how far the cancer has spread, your doctor may have to remove and check lymph nodes. A sentinel lymph node biopsy or removal will be used by your doctor, or an axillary node dissection.

What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a procedure that examines the lymph node nearest to the tumor, as this is the most likely location for cancer cells to disseminate. To begin, the surgeon will seek to identify the “sentinel lymph node,” which refers to the lymph node (or nodes) that are closest to the tumor. The surgeon will inject dye or radioactive substances into the tissue near the tumor in order to detect the sentinel lymph node. The dye or radioactive chemical will be used to mark the lymph nodes that are more susceptible to cancer spread. The adjacent lymph nodes will be excised and examined for the presence of cancer cells during surgery.

What is Axillary Node Dissection

This treatment is used to determine if the cancer has progressed to more than one of your lymph nodes, which can be dangerous. Axillary node dissection is a procedure that involves the removal of some of the axillary lymph nodes, which are lymph nodes located in the underarm area. Once they have been removed, they are dissected and analyzed by a pathologist, who examines all of the tissue and individual nodes under a microscope in great detail.

Breast Reconstruction

Your age, body type and treatment plan will all play a role in determining which of several breast reconstruction alternatives you choose.

1. Breast Implants: Saline or silicone gel or a combination of the two are used to fill the breasts.

2. Another option is to use tissue from your belly (TRAM), back (latissimus), or buttocks, which the surgeon extracts during surgery (gluteal). This tissue is sculpted by the surgeon to take on the contour of your breasts. (aka Skin Graft)

What Is Lymphedema

When the lymph nodes are damaged or disrupted, it results in lymphedema, which is a chronic illness that can last for years. It is most commonly associated with arm swelling, but it can also manifest itself in the breast, chest, and, in rare cases, the legs. Lymphedema is a type of swelling that develops as a result of an improper accumulation of too much fluid. Removing the axillary lymph nodes raises your chances of acquiring lymphedema in the long run.

Because the risk of developing lymphedema persists for the rest of your life, it is critical that you are aware of these dangers. It is often preferable to learn about lymphedema prevention measures before having surgery so that you will be aware of the signs and symptoms to check for and can discuss treatment options with your doctor before having surgery.

What Is Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that employs a cocktail of medications to either kill or halt the growth of cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, which implies the medicine travels throughout the body via the bloodstream.
  • Cytotoxic medicines are typically administered orally or by a vein (intravenously or “into the bloodstream”). The word Cytotoxic means its toxic to cells

Who Requires Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer?

Chemotherapy is recommended for the majority of patients for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Type of tumor.
  • Grade of tumor.
  • Size of the tumor.
  • The type and state of the receptors.
  • The number and extent of lymph nodes involved.
  • The possibility of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

How Is Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Administered?

When combined with other treatment modalities such as hormonal and targeted medicines, chemotherapy is a typical treatment option offered. The term “neoadjuvant chemotherapy” describes the use of chemotherapy to reduce a tumor prior to surgery in order to make removal easier and safer.

The chemotherapy will be administered in short courses with several weeks between each to allow your normal cells to recover. If you are given chemotherapy, your physician will administer it in short durations with several weeks between each to allow your normal cells to recover. This therapy period can be a difficult time for the patient, both mentally and physically. It is critical for you to put together a support group of relatives or friends who can offer comfort and encouragement to you during this difficult time.

What Are Chemotherapy’s Side Effects?

Although chemotherapy is effective in killing quickly dividing cancer cells, the medications can, unfortunately, cause harm to normal cells that divide at a rapid rate as well.

  • It’s possible that your red blood cell count will drop. You’re more prone to have infections, bruise or bleed easily, and feel very weak and exhausted when medications diminish the levels of healthy blood cells. Low blood cell levels will be checked by your medical staff.
  • It’s possible that your white blood cell count will drop. A decrease in white blood cells can make you more susceptible to infection. This is why it’s critical to avoid people who have the flu or a cold, eat healthy meals, get enough of rest, and take your temperature every day. A rise in body temperature is frequently the first indicator of neutropenia, or a lack of white blood cells.
  • Chemotherapy has the potential to harm hair-producing cells. Chemotherapy has the potential to cause hair loss. Hair will regrow following treatment if you lose it, although the coloring and textures may be altered.
  • A changing balance of cells lining your intestinal system may cause alterations. Chemotherapy can induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mouth and lip sores, among other things.
  • Chemotherapy has the potential to harm nerve cells. Some breast cancer medications might induce tingle or numbness in the hands or feet, which can be very uncomfortable.

Is there any long-term negative effect of chemotherapy?

People do occasionally have challenges that may or may not resolve themselves. Some of the medications used to treat breast cancer, for example, have been shown to weaken the heart. Before, during, and after treatment, your doctor may want to check on your heart. A rare adverse effect of chemotherapy is the development of leukemia (cancer of the blood cells) in a small number of women, sometimes years after treatment has been completed .

Some chemotherapy medications have been shown to cause ovarian harm. It is possible to experience hot flashes and vaginal dryness even if you have not yet entered menopause. It is possible that your menstrual periods have become irregular or have completely stopped. It is possible that you will become sterile (unable to become pregnant).

Breast cancer month (World Breast Cancer Day)

Every year on October 19, the World Breast Cancer Day is commemorated.


  • American Cancer Society.  “Breast Cancer.” Link
  • World Health Organization. “Breast cancer: prevention and control.” Link


Medically Reviewed by:

Name: Ezire Lilian Chinwe

Description: A highly motivated and licensed biomedical scientist with over 7 years of experience, dedicated to advancing healthcare through innovative research and analysis. Expertise includes genetics, microbiology, and immunology with a commitment to staying at the forefront of scientific advancements.

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilian-ezire-3ba4b2215/

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