All you need to know: Prevention, Causes & Diet-Lifestyle Therapies…
“Every dietary and Lifestyle choice you make daily, Will either fuel Cancer risk or reduce it. Choose the later”
Tolani [Union Television]
One of the most sensitive health topics to be discussed is matters around the subject of cancer, not just because Cancer is the 3rd most leading globally recognized life-threatening disease condition, but more because the condition, Breast Cancer is the most diagnosed cancer type, accounting for 1 in 8 cancer diagnosis worldwide.
This must be reason enough to make some see this health condition as a death sentence.
But how true is this? Do all Cancers lead to death? Is Cancer preventable?
What is the life expectancy of cancer victims?
And the formidable last question; Is Cancer Curable?
In this season of World Breast Cancer Awareness, it is good that we shed some light on some salient matters about health, especially those regarding this unique renowned health disorder, Breast cancer!
Cancer is defined as an abnormal and uncontrolled division of altered cells. In simple teams, it is the presence of foreign abnormal growths in the body, that grows out of the body and feeds on the host body. It can occur as two or more different entities in a single cell or organ.
Breast Cancer, however, is when these abnormal cells grow in the breast region of the body, both in females and males. Although higher percentages of Breast cancers occur in the female breast than the males.
As these cells grow and multiply, they form tumors which can either be of two types:
- Benign Tumors
- Malignant Tumors
Benign [as the name implies, harmless] Tumors are non-cancerous because they are enclosed in a membrane that prevents them from spreading. The only fear is that such a tumor can form a roadblock to blood flow in the brain leading to severe complications and possibly death.
Otherwise, a benign tumor is plain harmless and can stay unhurt, enclosed in the body for years without no health complications emanating from it.
Malignant tumors on the other hand can move out of ‘tumor originating sites’ to surrounding tissues, it is capable of invading surrounding cells and body structures, thereby spreading rapidly to other areas of the body. The most lethal part of Malignant tumors above that of Benign is the ability to METASTASIZE [spread] to a distant part of the body through the blood/ circulatory system and can form invasive tumors almost anywhere in the body.
CLASSIFICATION OF CANCERS
Cancers can further be classified into Carcinomas [which make up about 80% – 90% of all cancer cases], Sarcomas, Lymphomas, and Leukaemia.
Carcinomas develop from the epithelial cells that cover the external and internal surfaces of the body, especially regarding secretory organs. Breast Cancer falls in this category.
Sarcoma: This is more of cancer of the connective tissues such as Bones, Body surfaces, skin, etc.
Leukaemia: These are cancers of white blood cells formed in the bone marrow. It is simply called Cancer of the blood.
Lymphoma: These are malignant tumors of the lymph nodes and fluid drainage of the body.
Although leukemia does not grow tumors, they metastasize and can grow invasive rapidly like other malignant tumors.
Like earlier said, Breast cancer is an abnormal tumor that forms in the cells of the breasts. It can occur largely in women and few occurrences in men.
IS BREAST CANCER CURABLE?
Yes, it is!
Breast cancer is very treatable if it is spotted on time at early stages when it is still localized, that is, the cancer cells haven’t spread outside the breast region, and it can usually be treated.
But once cancer begins to spread to other parts of the body, the treatment becomes more complicated and could have severe life consequences.
HOW TO DETECT A CANCER
Although no single test can detect breast cancer early, early self-detection plus other screening methods increase the odds of early detection.
First and foremost, form the habit of observing your breast in the mirror, and check to see if their usual size, shape, and color is intact. Then touch to check any lumps, uneven shapes, or swellings.
Then check to see if the nipple is inverted or sore red, raise your arms, and look for any milk or yellow fluid discharges in the Nipple.
Visible or Clinical signs of Breast Cancer include A mass or big lump in the breast, almost stony. It could also be in the armpit.
Other signs like:
- Swellings in any part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling on the breast, almost stony
- Change in nipple color esp. red color
- Inverted nipple or pulling in of the nipple
- Discharges like pus from the nipple and boils around the nipple-areola
- Nipple heads having pinkish pain
ADVANCED METHODS USED TO DIAGNOSE BREAST CANCER INCLUDE
Mammogram: This is used when a person detects problems in the breast, it is a detailed X-ray of the breast.
A Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging [MRI]: MRI can also be used; it is a body scanner linked to a computer and shows detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
Breast Ultrasound: A machine that uses sound waves called “Sonograms” to make images/ pictures of places in the breast
Medical Biopsy: A biopsy can be made; this is when tissue or fluid from the breast is extracted, and it is looked up on the microscope. This can be extracted with either needle aspiration or other applicable extraction tools.
TYPES OF BREAST CANCER
There are 3 types of breast cancers
Under the general cancer classifications, I explained that carcinomas are more external and internal body surface cancers. They start from epithelial cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body.
When they form in the breast, they form cancer called ADENOCARCINOMA. It usually starts from the milk ducts and glands in the breast that produce milk.
INSITU BREAST CANCER
This is a pre-cancer that begins in the milk duct but has not developed throughout the breast tissue. This is not a lethal stage of breast cancer development.
INVASIVE BREAST CANCER
Invasive cancer is like cancer, meaning the breast cancer at the invasive point, has begun to spread throughout the breast tissues. Invasive breast cancer can either be invasive ductal carcinoma or invasive lobular carcinoma. The earlier, [invasive ductal carcinoma] makes up a higher percentage of breast cancer cases.
Other Types of Breast Cancers Are:
TRIPPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER: This is an aggressive type of invasive breast cancer. They are usually difficult to detect in tests because the cancer cells have no estrogen or progesterone receptors, and they make very few proteins too. They are a very difficult C. A to treat.
INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER: Another aggressive breast cancer in which the cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin, making the breast look inflamed. It is however a very rare type of Cancer.
Others are ANGIOSARCOMA: which affects the skin of the breast probably after the effect of radiation therapy on that area, and PHYLLODES TUMOUR, which develops in ducts and are mostly benign [harmless].
CAUSES OF BREAST CANCERS
- Major risk factors that lead to cancers generally are Wrong lifestyle and Wrong Dietary patterns such as sugary or fatty intakes and lack of frequent exercise.
- Hormones also cause Breast Cancer, such as a high surge of Estrogen hormones and such instances
- Genetic factors are another strong causative factor, genes from parents can also encourage Breast Cancer, these genetic tendencies are what suppressor genes [which help control normal cell division] do cell repairs.
However, if a cell has mutated tumor suppressor genes, then the cell can turn into cancer. Many such mutated genes are needed to cause breast cancer.
The lymph nodes in the underarm are the first-place breast cancer likely spreads to.
The bottom line of the medical information supplied in this article is this: Is there any Breast Cancer history along your family line? Even if it doesn’t run in the lineage/ family history, yet many Breast Cancer cases are easily treatable when detected on time,HENCE EARLY SCREENING IS KEY!!!
This is Part one of the Breast Cancer series, do you want to know more about Nutritional Therapies and Lifestyle Preventive measures for this medical condition? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series. It promises to be educative and highly informative.
Cares! Written By:
Tolani Fasehun, RD.
Registered Dietitian/ Clinical Nutritionist.
Producer – Union Television, Lagos, Nigeria.