7 FAQs About Breast Cancer
1. What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that originates from breast tissue. Malignant tumor itself is a group of cancer cells which invade the surrounding tissues; it can also spread to other parts of the body which are not directly related to the affected area.
2. How does it occur?
This disease is caused by the mutation or abnormal changes in our genes which trigger the overgrowth of cancerous cells. What normally happens in our body is that when old cells die, they are replaced with new ones. If a genetic mutation occurs, the cells rapidly grow and multiply out of control to form a tumor. The malignant tumor is what we call cancer.
3. What are the warning signs?
One of the most common symptoms of the disease is the presence of a lump in the breast. Abnormal lumps can also be found in the lymph nodes of the armpit. Other symptoms include the change in size, shape, and tenderness of the breast, inversion of the nipple, skin dimpling, and bloody or clear discharge from the nipple.
4. I have breast cancer history in my family. Can I inherit the disease?
Every woman or man can be affected by the disease regardless his or her family history. Although indeed family history increase your risk of getting the cancer, in fact, only 10-15% of all breast cancer cases are believed to be caused by inherited gene mutation. About 80% of women who are diagnosed with the disease do not have family history of the disease.
5. What factors can increase my risk of getting the cancer?
The disease may be caused by many factors including sex, age, race, as well as childbearing and breastfeeding. Women aged 55 or older or those who give birth for the first time after the age of 30 have higher chance of getting the cancer. In the U.S., Caucasian women are also more prone than African American women. On the other hand, women from Native American, Asian, and Hispanic origins have lower risk.
6. Does it also occur in men?
The disease can also occur in men, although very rarely. However, breast cancer cases in men tend to be more serious due to late diagnosis.
7. I am diagnosed with this cancer recently. Can it be cured? What are my odds of surviving?
The chance of survival from the disease depends greatly on what stage it is at. The earlier it is detected, the more likely it can be cured. Thanks to modern medical technology, new diagnostic techniques offer more accurate diagnosis. A patient may undergo treatments such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery depending on the type and stage of the cancer.
7 FAQs About Breast Cancer