Breast cancer is a collection of cancer cells (malignant tumours) arising from the cells of the breast. Although breast cancer predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men.


Cancer begins in the cells which are the basic building blocks that makeup tissue. Tissue is found in the breast and other parts of the body. Sometimes, the process of cell growth goes wrong and new cells form when the body doesn’t need them and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. When this occurs, a buildup of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth or tumour.

Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumours develop in the breast. These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumour and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body. When cancer cells travel to other parts of the body and begin damaging other tissues and organs, the process is called metastasis.


The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast. In addition, the following are possible signs of breast cancer.

  • Thickening or lump in the breast that feels different from the surrounding area.
  • Nipple discharge with blood or redness.
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Changes in the skin of the breast
  • Lymph nodes changes
  • A rash around or on the nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
  • Itching around the breast nipple


Some of the most common types of breast cancer are as follows:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (CDIS): This early-stage breast cancer has not spread and therefore has a very high cure rate.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: This cancer starts in the milk duct of the breast and spreads to other surrounding tissues. It is the most common form of breast cancer.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: This breast cancer starts in the milk-producing glands of the breast. Approximately 10% of invasive breast cancers are invasive lobular carcinoma.



There are many risk factors that increase the chances of developing breast cancer. Although these risks are known, the major cause of breast is not known.


What do scientists actually know about the cause of breast cancer?


Cancer grows when a cell’s DNA is damaged, but why or how that DNA becomes damaged is still unknown. It could be genetic or environmental, or in most cases, a combination of the two. But most patients will never know exactly what caused their cancer. However, there is a certain established risk for factors that are associated with breast cancer.

The following are risk factors for breast cancer.

  • AGE: The chance of breast cancer increases as one gets olds.
  • FAMILY HISTORY: The risk of breast cancer is higher among women who have relatives with the disease.
  • PERSONAL HISTORY: Having a breast cancer diagnosis in one breast increases the risk of cancer in the other breast.
  • WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH CERTAIN BEING (NON-CANCEROUS) BREAST CONDITIONS HAVE AB INCREASED RISK OF BREAST CANCER: These include atypical hyperplasia, a condition in which there is an abnormal proliferation of breast cells but no cancer has developed.
  • MENSTRUATION: Women who started their menstruation at a young age (before 12) or went through menopause later (after 50) have a slightly increased risk.
  • BREAST TISSUE: Women with dense breast tissue.
  • RACE: African- American women tend to have more tumours that are aggressive when they do develop breast cancer.
  • Having no children or the first child after age 30.
  • BREASTFEEDING: Breastfeeding, especially for one 1year appears to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer.
  • BODY WEIGHT: Women who become overweight or develop obesity after menopause may also have a higher chance of developing breast cancer. High Sugar intake may also be a factor.
  • RADIATION EXPOSURE: Undergoing radiation treatment for different cancer may increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • HORMONE TREATMENTS: Studies have shown that oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), specifically estrogen-progesterone therapy (EPT), is related to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • LACK OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • POOR DIET: A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • BEING OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for breast cancer. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause.
  • DRINKING ALCOHOL: Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for breast cancer. The more alcohol you Consume, the greater the risk.
  • RADIATION TO THE CHEST: Having radiation therapy on the chest before the age of 30 can increase your risk for breast cancer.

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