WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is cancer that develops from the breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, or a red scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, or shortness of breath.
Risk factors for developing breast cancer include obesity, lack of physical exercise, drinking alcohol, having children late or not at all, older age, and family history. About 5–10% of cases are due to genes inherited from a person’s parents. Breast cancer most commonly develops in cells from the lining of milk ducts and the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers developing from the ducts are known as ductal carcinomas, while those developing from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. In addition, there are more than 18 other sub-types of breast cancer. The diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed by taking a biopsy of the concerning lump. Once the diagnosis is made, further tests are done to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the breast and which treatments it may respond to.
Outcomes for breast cancer vary depending on the cancer type, extent of disease, and person’s age. Survival rates in the developed world are high, with between 80% and 90% of those in England and the United States alive for at least 5 years. In developing countries survival rates are poorer. Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 25% of all cases. In 2012 it resulted in 1.68 million cases and 522,000 deaths.
At Stand Up To Cancer Nigeria, it is our job to create as much awareness about breast cancer as possible. We can never stress it enough. It is the leading type of cancer for women in Nigeria and it is time we put a stop to it. We encourage everyone to go and get checked for breast cancer at the nearest hospitals. Remember, that early detection is the best way to work against the spread of cancer in the body.