Breast Cancer—Symptoms, Risk Factor and Prevention


Cancer causes when cells in a particular area of the body multiply very fast. Breast cancer is caused when the cells begin to grow out of control in the breast. 

Breast cancer cells are formed into a tumor which can be felt as a lump. It mostly occurs in women, but the probability of breast cancer in men cannot be completely ruled out. 

You need to understand that most breast lumps are not malignant (cancer) but benign. Tumors in the breast that are non-cancerous are abnormal growths but do not spread outside of the breast. Although benign tumors are not life-threatening some of their types can increase the risk of breast cancer. To determine if a lump in the breast is cancer, it has to be determined by a doctor. 

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in the world and the most commonly occurring cancer amongst women. More than 1.8 million new cancer cases are expected in the US in 2020 while more than 600, 000 deaths are expected. This is over 4,900 new cases and more than 1,600 deaths each day.

It is estimated that 45% of breast cancer cases and over 55% of breast cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The incidence of breast cancer is rising sharply in many developing countries due to changes in reproductive factors, increased life expectancy, and lifestyle. More than half of the cases occur in developing countries and are responsible for being the leading cause of death among adult women. 


The warning signs of breast cancer are as follows: 

  • Formation of a new lump in the breast or underarm.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Irritation of breast skin.
  • Swelling of part of the breast.
  • Redness in the breast or nipple area.
  • Shape or size changes of the breast.
  • Pain in the nipple area.
  • Pain in the breast area.

Types of breast cancer include

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ 
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ 
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma
  • Male breast cancer
  • Recurrent breast cancer
  • Paget’s disease of the breast


There is no known exact cause of developing breast cancer. However, researchers have identified that lifestyle, hormonal, environmental, and genetic factors are generally responsible for cancer. 

Risk Factors

Some factors are responsible for increasing the chance of developing breast cancer. These include the following:

Age factor: Growing old is one of the most crucial risk factors for developing breast cancer. Women over the age of 50 years have 80% chances of being diagnosed with the dreaded disease. Growing age increases the risk of becoming a victim of the disease. In Men, most of the cases occur after they cross 60 years. 

Early periods: The earlier you began your periods, the higher is the risk of developing breast cancer. Women whose periods start before the age of 12 are potential candidates for breast cancer. On the other side, if you undergo late menopause after the age of 52, the chances of developing breast cancer are slightly on the higher side. 

High Breast Density: People with high breast density have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The amount of breast tissue viz-a-viz the fat tissue in your breasts is called breast density. Greater density increases the risk. 


Make lifestyle changes: 

Your lifestyle could be responsible for whether you would develop breast cancer or not. By making changes in your lifestyle and living a healthy life can help you lower the chances of getting breast cancer. Although this may not guarantee to get away from the disease but leading a healthy life can give you a better chance of staying away from the disease. 

Quit or limit alcohol

Regularly drinking alcohol can be responsible for the higher risk of developing cancer. By removing alcohol from your life or limiting the amount can reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Reduce weight

The risk of developing breast cancer is directly proportionate to your weight. If you are overweight after menopause, you have more chances of developing breast cancer. By reducing your body weight through regular exercise, you can reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. 

Be active

Being physically active for at least 20 minutes every day can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Say no to smoking

As per researches, smoking increases the risk of breast cancer, although slightly. This risk is higher in women who have a family history of the disease. The earlier women start smoking, the higher is the risk of breast cancer. 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can slightly reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  

Contraceptive pills

Using contraceptive bills increases the risk of cancer while stopping the same can reduce the risk in a few years. Similarly, hormone replacement therapy also increases the risk. 

Family history 

Your family history in the light of breast cancer is crucial. If you have anyone in your family with breast cancer does not necessarily mean you have a heightened risk of breast cancer. However, it is found that a small portion of men and women who have a family history of the disease have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. 


There is no gainsaying the fact that breast cancer is a highly dreaded and common disease that is life-threatening too. However, being alert and active in addition to making your life healthy and free from smoking and alcohol may thwart the risk of developing the disease. 

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