One of the most talked-about topics today is cancer. From developing countries to the developed world, cancer is becoming is a famous ailment, killing thousands of patients every day. Despite being the talk of every day, not many people understand the causes and development of this disease. One of the leading killer cancers today is breast cancer, affecting many women in the US. For purposes of this discussion, this article will focus on giving a detailed account of breast cancer definition.
Read on to understand more about breast cancer and its causes.
Breast cancer definition
From its name, breast cancer is a disease of the breast cells, occurring in both sexes although it is more common in women. This disease starts to develop when the breast cells start to divide and grow out of control. When cells start to divide uncontrollably, they may form a tumor that may be felt as a lump or visible on an x-ray machine. If the cells continue dividing, spreading into the adjacent tissues, it is referred as malignant or cancerous.
A breast cancer can start from any part of the breast, spreading to distant parts of the breast and skin, although in many cases, it begins in the milk ducts spreading all the way to the nipple. Lobular cancers can start in the milk glands and spread to other areas. A small number of cancers such as lymphomas and sarcomas may start in other tissues of the breast although they are not usually known as breast cancers.
Another important thing to note is that while most breast cancers may cause a lump in the breast, not all forms do. Other signs and symptoms of breast cancer should be watched for.
Moreover, it is worth noting that not all lumps are breast cancers. Some growths such as benign tumors are abnormal in nature, but they develop outside the breast, and they are not life-threatening, unlike other tumors. However, some studies show that breast lumps may increase the risks of acquiring breast cancers among women. The only sure way of telling whether a tumor is cancerous or not and whether it is life-threatening or not is by having it checked by a doctor or a health expert.
Breast cancer: how it spreads
Breast cancer definition is not complete without understanding how it spreads. Breast cancer can be spread through the lymph system such as lymph fluid, lymph vessels, and lymph nodes.
When the cancer cells spread to the lymph nodes, they increase the risk of cancer spreading to other distant sites of the body. In other words, the more lymph nodes with breast cells, the higher the likelihood of finding cancer in other organs as well. Thus, finding cancer in one or more lymph nodes may affect the treatment plan. Hence, surgery is recommended to remove one or two lymph nodes to determine if the cancer cells have spread there. However, it is important to note that not all women with cancer cells in the lymph tissues develop cancer. Other women can have no cancer cells in the lymph nodes and later develop metastases.
Understanding breast cancer definition helps a great deal in treating it. Research has shown that support for breast cancer research and awareness has assisted in improving screening and diagnosis as well as treatment of breast cancer.