Breast Cancer: Causes, Types, Symptoms & Treatment

Breast Cancer Causes, Types, Symptoms &Treatment

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly interpreted cancers in women. It impacts around one out of eleven to twelve women at some stage of their life.  Next to lung cancer, this cancer is the second most catastrophic cancer in women.  

The breast is composed of similar tissues in males and females, which is why this cancer can also appear in males but the incidence is very low less than one percent.

What is breast cancer?  

Breast cancer arises when the cells in the breast begin to grow uncontrollably and invade the nearby tissues or are distributed throughout the body. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor or cancer.  Tumors can be mild or malignant.  


Mild tumors may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body, they are not cancerous. They are infrequently life-threatening, and generally mild tumors can be removed and don’t usually grow back.  

Malignant tumors, on the other hand, can overspread and destroy nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body, they are cancerous. These tumors may be life-threatening.  They can be removed but they occasionally grow back.  Cells from malignant tumors can extend to other parts of the body. Cancer cells spread by breaking out from the original or primary tumor and joining the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The cells invade other organs and form new tumors or cancer that injure these organs. The spread or extension of cancer is called metastasis

When breast cancer cells spread, they are usually found in lymph nodes near the breast.  This cancer can also spread to nearly any part of the body; the most typical are the bones, liver, lungs, and brain.  This new tumor has the exact kind of abnormal cells and the same primary tumor, which results in various types of cancer.

What are the risk factors for breast cancer? 

The exact cause of this illness cannot be determined but doctors usually explain why one woman develops this cancer and another does not.  One thing is for sure, bumping, bruising, or touching the breast does not provoke cancer.  It is also not communicable.  Research has shown that women with specific risk factors are more probable to develop the disease.  

Here are some cause & risk factors for breast cancer/tumors:


As a woman gets older the chances of getting the infection goes up. Most cases happen in women over 60. The condition is not common before menopause.

Personal history of breast cancer

If a woman has this cancer or tumors on one of her breasts, there is a raised rate of getting cancer on the other breast.

Family history

If a family member has had breast cancer, like the mother, sister or daughter, or other relatives (either the mother’s or father’s side) the risk of breast cancer is more elevated.

Certain Breast Changes

Some women have irregular cells in the breast called, atypical hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ, which increases the risk of breast cancer.

Gene Changes

Changes in genes increase the risk of breast cancer, this possesses BRCA1, BRCA2, and others.  

Reproductive and Menstrual History

The older the woman is when she has her first child raises the chance of having the condition. Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12, women who went via menopause after age 55, women who never had children, and women who take menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen plus progestin, have a risk of having breast cancer.


More frequently, breast cancer is interpreted in white women than Latin, Asian, or African American women.

Other risk factors include

Radiation therapy to the chest before age 30, breast density (more dense or fatty tissue is at increased risk), taking DES (diethylstilbestrol), being overweight or obese, lack of physical exercise and alcohol.  

Other potential risk factors are under study, including specific substances in the environment.

Types of breast cancer

There are several kinds of breast cancer, and they’re broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive

While invasive cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to different parts of the breast, noninvasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue to other tissues. 

These two categories are used to represent the most typical kinds of breast cancer, which include:

Ductal carcinoma in situ

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive disease. With DCIS, the cancer cells are limited to the ducts in your breast and haven’t raided the surrounding breast tissue.

Lobular carcinoma in situ

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is cancer that develops in the milk-producing glands of your breast. Like DCIS, the cancer cells haven’t raided the surrounding tissue.

Invasive ductal carcinoma

Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) is the most typical kind of breast cancer. This kind of cancer starts in your breast’s milk ducts and then raids nearby tissue in the breast. Once this cancer has spread to the tissue further your milk ducts, it can start to spread to other nearby organs and tissue.

Invasive lobular carcinoma

Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) first forms in your breast’s lobules and has invaded nearby tissue.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

Unfortunately, the early stages of this illness may not have symptoms. Following screening suggestions or having regular breast check-ups is important.  As a tumor increases in size, it produces a combination of symptoms that include:

  • lump or thickening in the infected breast or underarm 
  • Irregular change in size or shape of the breast 
  • nipple discharge or the nipple turning inward 
  • redness or scaling of the skin or nipple and surrounding areas
  • Mounds or pitting of the breast skin 
  • red or discoloured, pitted skin on the breast
  • swelling in all or part of the infected breast
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • bloody release from your nipple
  • peeling, scaling, or flaking of skin on nipple or breast in case of tumors
  • Differences to the formation of the skin on your breasts

Having or experiencing these signs & symptoms may not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer, but you need to be inspected by a doctor.  Early detection and treatment of the condition if diagnosed can save you from disease or maybe even death.

What are the breast cancer stages?

Staging helps explain how much cancer is in your body. It’s defined by several factors, including the size and location of the tumor and whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body. The basic breast cancer stages are as follow:

Stage 0

The condition is non-invasive. This means it hasn’t broken out of your breast ducts and have not spread into nearby tissue.

Stage I. 

The cancer cells have extended to the nearby breast tissue.

Stage II. 

The tumor is either smaller than 2 centimetres across and has spread to underarm lymph nodes or larger than 5 centimetres across but hasn’t extended to underarm lymph nodes. Tumors at this stage can measure anywhere between 2 to 5 centimetres across, and may or may not influence the nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III

At this stage, cancer has extended beyond the point of origin. It may have overspread nearby tissue and lymph nodes, but it hasn’t extended to distant organs. Stage III is usually directed to as locally advanced breast cancer.

Stage IV.

Cancer has extended to areas away from your breasts, such as your bones, liver, lungs or brain. Stage IV breast cancer is also named metastatic breast cancer.

Breast cancer treatment

Your breast cancer’s stage, how far it has overrun(if it has), and how big the tumor has developed all play a large part in determining what kind of treatment you’ll need.

To start, your physician will determine your cancer’s size, stage, and grade. Your cancer’s grade represents how possible it is to grow and spread. After that, you can discuss your treatment choices.


Surgery is the most typical treatment for breast cancer. Many individuals have additional treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, or hormone therapy.

Several kinds of surgery may be used to remove breast cancer, including:


This procedure terminates the tumor and some surrounding tissue, leaving the rest of the breast intact.


In this approach, a surgeon removes an whole breast. In a double mastectomy, they remove both breasts.

Sentinel node biopsy

This surgery removes a few of the lymph nodes that accept drainage from the tumor. These lymph nodes will have experimented. If they don’t have cancer, you may not need further surgery to remove more lymph nodes.

Axillary lymph node dissection

If lymph nodes removed during a sentinel node biopsy include cancer cells, your doctor may remove extra lymph nodes.

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy

Actually, though breast cancer may be present in only one breast, some individuals select to have a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy. This cancer surgery removes your healthy breast to lower your risk of developing breast cancer again.

Radiation therapy

With radiation therapy, high-powered beams of radiation are used to target and destroy cancer cells. Most radiation treatments utilise external beam radiation. This approach uses a large machine on the outside of the body.

Advances in cancer therapy have also enabled doctors to irradiate cancer from inside the body. According to, this type of radiation treatment therapy is called brachytherapy.

To conduct brachytherapy, surgeons place radioactive seeds, or pellets, inside the body around the tumor site. The seeds stay there for a short period of time and work to kill cancer cells.


Chemotherapy is a medication treatment used to kill cancer cells. Some individuals may undergo chemotherapy on its own, but this type of treatment is usually used along with other treatments, especially surgery.

Some individuals will have surgery first followed by additional treatments, such as chemo or radiation. This is named adjuvant therapy. Additional may have chemotherapy first to shrink cancer, called neoadjuvant therapy, then surgery.

In some cases, doctors choose to give chemotherapy before surgery. The hope is that the treatment therapy will shrink the tumor, and then the surgery will not require to be as invasive.

Chemotherapy has many undesirable side effects, so discuss your concerns with your doctor before starting therapy.

Hormone therapy

If your type of breast cancer is susceptible to hormones, your doctor may begin you on hormone therapy. Estrogen and progesterone, two female hormones, can encourage the growth of this cancer tumors.

Hormone therapy functions by blocking your body’s production of these hormones or by blocking the hormone receptors on the cancer cells. This activity can help slow and possibly stop the growth of your cancer.


This cancer risk lowering for women with an average risk, constructing changes in your daily life may help lower your risk of this cancer. 

You can try these breast cancer prevention ideas:

  • Consult with your doctor about when to start these cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.
  • Speak to your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening.
  • Become knowledgeable about your breasts through a breast self-exam for breast awareness. If there is a new difference, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, talk to your doctor promptly.
  • Breast attention can’t prevent this cancer, but it may help you to better comprehend the normal changes that your breasts undergo and recognise any unusual signs and symptoms.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Exercise 3-4 days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on these selected days of the week.
  • Limit postmenopausal hormone treatment. Combination hormone treatment therapy may increase the risk of this cancer. 
  • Some women experience annoying signs and symptoms during menopause and, for these women, the increased risk of this cancer may be acceptable in order to reduce menopause signs and symptoms.
  • To lower the risk of this cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone treatment therapy possible for the shortest amount of time.
  • Keep a healthy weight. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that desired weight. 
  • Choose a healthy diet on your daily routine. 

Male breast cancer

Although they normally have less of it, men have breast tissue simply as women do. Men can produce breast cancer too, but it’s much more irregular.

According to the ACS (American cancer society), this cancer is 70 times less expected in Black men than in Black women. It’s 100 times less expected in white men than in white women.

That said, the breast cancer that men produce is just as serious as cancer that women evolve. It also has the same signs & symptoms. If you’re a man, follow the same monitoring instructions as women and document any changes to breast tissue or new lumps to your doctor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *