Symptoms & Causes

Causes And Symptoms of Breast Cancer

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Regardless of the type of cancer, it is a deadly disease that only spreads fear. Although cancer is not curable, if it is diagnosed in an earlier stage then it can be controlled and the life of the victim can be prolonged for a little while at least. Out of all the cancers, one of the cancers that worries most of the women on earth be she be an American, European, Asian, African or Australian, is breast cancer.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is that kind of cancer which develops from the cells of the breasts only. It begins in the inner linings of the lobules or the milk ducts which supply them with milk. As you must already know that cancer is of two types which are malignant or benign. While benign cancer generally stays put, malignant tumours tend to attack and spread to a new territory. Breast cancers are generally malignant that is spreads to a newer part of the body if it is not kept in check. Lobular carcinoma is that kind of breast cancer which develops from the lobules while ductal carcinoma develops from the ducts.

There are two categories of breast cancer in women. These types differ in their nature and are described as follows:

Non-Invasive Cancer:

Non-invasive or in situ cancer does not spread to the surrounding tissues. This is also referred as Stage 0 in terms of advancement of breast cancer.

Invasive Cancer:

Invasive or infiltrating cancer is the type of cancer that has spread to the surrounding tissues from the original tissue. This form of cancer is categorized as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage or Stage 4.

Breast Cancer Causes And Symptoms:

There are several causes and symptom for breast cancer, but here we mention some them only that are helpful to find out disease before the attack.

♦ Breast Cancer Symptoms :

Symptoms are those signs which help a professional to diagnose a disease properly such as pain or headache. And signs are those which only the patient notices and others are unable to detect, for example a swelling or a rash.

Generally the first symptom of any type of breast cancer is a lump or a thickened tissue in the breasts. Even though most of the lumps are not cancerous, it is good if the women get the lumps on the breasts (if there is any) checked by a doctor as soon as possible to be on the safe side. Besides if any of the following signs or symptoms is noticed by a woman should be told to their doctor as soon as possible – Pain felt in the armpit(s) or breast(s) which is completely not related to the pain felt during the menstrual cycle.

1. Detection Of Lump:

The presence of lump in either of the breasts is one the prime symptoms of breast cancer. This is a self examination that can be done by applying pressure with your fingers to your breasts and surrounding tissues. Breast lumps can be formed in both malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) form of breast cancer. They can be formed around the nipples, in the collarbone, armpit or near the lymph nodes. These lumps may be tender or hard and do not move as you press against them. If you identify a lump in any of your breasts, immediately consult a doctor.

2. Swollen Breasts:

Swelling in the breasts is caused due to inflammation of the tissues surrounding the breasts. This is caused owing to the presence of tumour that exerts pressure on the breast tissues. Swollen breasts are often accompanied by redness and patchy appearance that may make the area extremely tender to even touch. The condition should not be neglected and immediately consulted with a doctor.

3. Itching In The Breasts:

Itchy breasts are the most common signs that may lead to breast cancer. The presence of rash-less itch around either of your breasts is alarming and should not be overlooked as a normal case of dermatitis. The itchiness is mostly followed by some discharge from the nipples and the surrounding breast tissues undergo a change in the texture.

4. Change In The Size Of Breasts:

The presence of tumour in the breasts can cause a change in the size of breasts. More often your partner will more likely be able to notice the change in your breast size, even before you do. You must therefore visually examine your breast to identify any alarming change in the size and shape of your breasts.

5. Nipple Discharge:

Noticing discharge from the nipples on either of your breasts should never be ignored. Nipple charge can be indicative of any stage of the developing breast cancer. Discharge from the breasts is only normal in breastfeeding women. The discharge from the nipple can be clear, yellow colored or even resemble pus.

6. Nipple Sensitivity:

Sudden sensitivity in the nipples could signal the development of cancerous tissues in your breasts. This is generally caused due to the formation of breast tumors in the tissues present underneath the nipples. Besides turning sensitive, nipples of the breasts in some cases of breast cancer also turn indented, inverted or asymmetrical in shape. The sudden change in the size of nipples (except for those who are breastfeeding) should not be ignored and consulted immediately with the doctor.

7. Stiffness In Shoulder And Neck:

Stiffness in shoulder and neck may be quite common but could even signal the development of breast cancer if it persists for longer time. The advanced stage of breast cancer may even cause pain in shoulders, spine or back. The pain caused due to this reason does not ease out even after rest or using ointments. If you face similar conditions book a breast cancer screening without a delay.

8. Fatigue:

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms among cancer suffering patients, including breast cancer. Nearly 1/4th of women suffering from breast cancer experience fatigue during the period of treatment while 1/5th face the condition after the treatment is over. The feeling of tiredness becomes extremely uncomfortable when the cancer reaches to stage 4.

9. Shortness Of Breath:

Breathlessness, chest tightening and difficulty in breathing are some of the alarming symptoms of stage 4 breast cancer in women. The shortness in the breath occurs because the cancer has spread to the lungs. More often this is accompanied by dry or chronic cough.

10. Drastic Weight Loss:

The development of cancer and even its treatment can cause vomiting, nausea, constipation or even diarrhoea. This results in loss of appetite thereby causing unintentional weight loss in the patient. Women with breast cancer need to intake specific number of calories, deficiency of which lead to nutritional imbalance.

11. Bones:

When cancer from the breasts spreads to the bones, it causes damage to the bones. This leads to pain and increases the risk of fractures. Women with breast cancer often experience these symptoms in their arms, legs, spine, hips, ribs, pelvis or even skull. In the advanced stages, even walking may feel painful or discomforting.

12. Liver:

When cancer spreads to liver, it may not show visible symptoms in the early stages. However in the later stages, women with breast cancer might experience fever, jaundice and intense weight loss.

13. Lungs:

The spread of cancer to the lungs often leads to difficulty in breathing, breathlessness and chronic or dry cough.

In addition to the above mentioned signs and symptoms of breast cancer, the spread of this disease also affects other organs. Given below are some symptoms that are associated with advancement of breast cancer:

See More: Cervical Cancer Causes

♦ Causes of Breast Cancer:

Even though the actual cause for breast cancer is still not known by the experts, there are various assumptions and a lot of risk factors which can be linked to the causes of breast cancer. And even then it is very difficult to say the reason why one woman suffers from breast cancer while the other does not. Here are some of the possible causes of breast cancer:

1. Growing Old:

Age is a common risk factor for the cause of breast cancer. The age of the woman is directly proportional to the risk of becoming a victim of breast cancer. It has been seen that 80% of the women who have suffered from breast cancers occurred to those after the age of 50 years old and especially after menopause.

2. Genetics:

genetics also play a major role in causing breast cancer. If a woman who have a family member who had or has breast cancer then the likeliness of that woman to suffer from breast cancer is very likely. Though breast cancer is not hereditary, some genes (BRCA1, BRCA2 and TP53) are very likely to cause breast cancer. These genes are also responsible for causing ovarian cancer.

3. History of Breast Cancer:

those women who have already suffered from breast cancer before even if it was a non-invasive cancer then the chances of that woman to suffer from breast cancer is high.

4. Having Had Some Kinds of Lumps on the Breasts:

those women who have or had developed benign breast lumps have more chances of developing cancer in the later period of their lives than the ones who were completely healthy.

5. Dense Breast Tissue:

denser breast tissue in a woman may be another cause of developing breast cancer.

6. Exposure to Oestrogen:

this means that those women who began their menstruation earlier than normal or entered menopause later than normal are exposed to oestrogen for a longer period of time. The chances of becoming a victim of breast cancer are higher for these women due to the exposure to oestrogen for a longer period of time.

See More: Tongue Cancer Symptoms And Signs

7. Obesity:

obesity causes a lot of health related issues and added to the list is breast cancer. Women who are obese after post-menopausal and those who are overweight actually have higher chances of becoming a victim of breast cancer.

8. Height:

those women who are taller than the average women actually have higher chances of becoming a victim of breast cancer than those women who are shorter than average. And researchers are still perplexed to how height is actually a factory.

See More: Stomach Cancer Symptoms In Men

9. Alcohol Consumption:

the consumption of alcohol is also directly proportional to the likeness of suffering from breast cancer by a woman. The more the consumption of alcohol, the higher is her chances of suffering from breast cancer.

10. Radiation Exposure:

women who are or are undergone X-rays and CT scans also have the risk of developing breast cancer to some extent.

11. Hormone Replacement Therapy:

The hormone replacement therapy in either both forms or oestrogen only can also raise the risk of developing breast cancer in a woman.

12. Certain Jobs:

It has been found by the French researchers that women who have worked at night to their first pregnancy also have a risk of developing breast cancer.

It is not just women who are victims of breast cancer; men are likely to suffer from breast cancer as well thus it is advisable to keep yourself checked at a regular period.