Breast cancer is only one of 200 different types of cancer. It is considered a woman’s disease but both men and women have the disease. Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Twelve percent of all women will get the disease and 3.5% of them will die. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women who are 40 to 55 years old.
Cancer occurs when cells divide uncontrollably. Cells keep dividing even though new cells are not needed. Change from normal to cancerous cells requires gene alterations.
Altered genes and uncontrolled growth may lead to tumors. These tumors can be benign (NOT cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors won’t spread but it can damage tissues around it. Malignant tumors invade, damage, and destroy nearby tissues and can spread.
Cancer can spread throughout the body when cancer cells break away from malignant tumors and enter the bloodstream. Cancer cells from breast cancer are mostly found in the lymph nodes under the arm when it “spreads.“ When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it has the same name as the original cancer. So, if you breast cancer ends up in your lungs, it is still called breast cancer!
Breast cancer usually occur in women between the ages of 35 and 65, even though fifty percent of all breast cancer are of women sixty-five and older. The chances of women getting breast cancer has risen within the last couple decades. Between 1973 and 1989, the chance of getting breast cancer rose, on average, at 1.7% per year. In 1960, one out of twenty women had breast cancer. Sadly, it is now one out of nine.
Even though the exact cause of cancer is unknown, there are many factors that increase your chance of getting the disease. These factors only account for only 30% of all cases of breast cancer. The other 70% are unknown.
Family members with breast cancer - A family history of breast cancer may increase your risk of breast cancer. But just because someone in your family has breast cancer does not mean you will have it too. About 75% of patients with breast cancer do not have a family history of breast cancer Early menstruation, late menopause - Menstruation before the age of 12 and menopause after the age of 50 can increase your risk of cancer.
Age - Women who are older have a higher risk than women who are younger. Also, women who have their first pregnancy after the age of 40 may get the disease.
diet/food - Food with less fat and more fiber are safer. Being obese may also increase your risk.
chemicals - Researchers in the New York State Department of Health have found that women on Long Island who grew up within a mile of a chemical plant have a greater chance of getting breast cancer if they lived further away from the chemical plant.
race - Even though white women are more likely to get cancer than African-American women, African-American women are more likely to die from cancer. Asian,...