Breast Cancer in Women

In this article, we will talk about breast cancer symptoms, treatment, and others.

Breast Cancer

A health condition when cells in the breast grow abnormally and uncontrollably is called breast cancer. Moreover, there are many types of breast cancer, and it depends on the cells in the breast that turn cancerous. This condition may begin in any part of the breast. Ducts, lobules, and connective tissues are the three main components of a breast. The glands which produce milk are called lobules. Tubes that transport milk to the nipple are known as ducts. The connective tissues consist of fibrous and fatty tissue and hold everything together. Commonly, breast cancer starts in the lobules and ducts.

This condition may spread outside the breast lymph and blood vessels. Metastasis is when the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Causes of Breast Cancer

The exact cause of breast cancer is not known. In any case, some factors that may increase the risk of this cancer in females are hormonal, environmental, lifestyle, and other factors. Check some examples below:

  • Early menstruation
  • Late menopause
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Alcoholic misuse
  • Inherited genetic changes
  • Long-term use of combined hormone therapy
  • First pregnancy after 30 years
  • Obesity after menopause
  • Growing age

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer

People think that breast lumps are the only symptom of breast cancer, but it is not true. Check some common symptoms of breast cancer below:

  • Changes in breast shape and size
  • A rash or sore on the nipple
  • Pain in a specific area that does not disappear
  • Lumps inside the breast or underarm region
  • Inversion of the nipple or any other part of the breast
  • Visible veins on the surface of the breast
  • Redness, swelling, or darkening of the breast
  • Dimpling of the skin on the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts out of the blue

How Does a Breast Cancer Lump Feel?

Breast lumps do not always feel the same. That’s why you should consult a doctor to determine whether it is a symptom of breast cancer or not. Check below some characteristics of a breast cancer lump:

  • Irregular edges
  • Hard mass
  • Grows over time
  • Does not move when pushed
  • Is painless
  • Usually appears in the upper outer portion of the breast

Furthermore, not all lumps are cancerous and not all cancerous lumps have characteristics listed above. A cancerous lump may feel soft, tender, and rounded and can appear anywhere in the breast. In some circumstances, this lump may be painful. Some females may also have fibrous and dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissues make it difficult to determine breast cancer on mammograms.

Can Males Get Breast Cancer?

This health condition occurs mostly in women but a man also may have it. Many people overlook the fact that men also have breast tissue. Thereby, they also can develop this type of cancer. In the U.S. breast cancer in males is very rare, just 1 out of 100 diagnoses is found to be breast cancer in a male.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

A rare health condition that commonly develops in the soft tissues, obstructing lymph vessels in the breast skin is called IBC. The breast becomes tender, warm, red, itchy, and firm usually due to an increase in blood flow and white blood cell accumulation. Inflammatory breast cancer fluctuates from other types of breast cancer including symptoms, treatment, and prognosis.

In this case, the term “inflammatory” does not mean what is happening inside the breast but only how the breast looks. In case an infection or injury makes a breast inflamed, it leads to red, itchy, swollen, or tender but the causal factor is not inflammation.

Screening for Breast Cancer

Screening for breast cancer begins in the following age group, according to the American Cancer Society. Examples include:

  • Optional mammograms begin at age 40
  • Annual mammograms for females aged between 45 and 54
  • For women older than 55 years old, mammograms once every two years.
  • MRIs and Mammograms for some females at elevated risk of breast cancer

What Types of Healthcare Providers Should I Consult?

If you have a suspicion that you may have breast cancer, you should consult a general doctor or OB/GYN. Different healthcare professionals may play important role in the breast cancer treatment. Check below some physicians that you may consult:

  • Radiation Oncologist – This doctor specializes in the treatment of cancer by using radiation to contract tumors and destroy cancer cells.
  • Surgical Oncologist – A medical professional who uses surgery to determine the stage and treat cancer and help to lessen cancer symptoms. This category of doctors also performs biopsies and certain surgical procedures to remove a lump or a breast.
  • Medical Oncologist – This category of physicians uses chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy to diagnose and treat cancer.

Check below the treatment options available to treat breast cancer:

  • Surgery
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Side Effects Associated with These Treatment Options


Short-term pain or discomfort may occur in the treated area. Weakness of the muscles of the arm or firm breast skin also may appear. If you experience surgery that involves lymph nodes, you may notice swelling of the arm. This health condition is also called lymphedema.

Radiation Therapy

Breast pain and irritation may be noticed in a patient who experiences radiation therapy. These adverse effects usually appear after two weeks of beginning the treatment and may last up to 6 months. In addition, you may experience fatigue at the end of the treatment.

Targeted Therapy

Negative effects of this procedure are usually mild but severe side effects also may occur. For example fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting rashes, mouth sores, and others.


Chemotherapy medicines may cause adverse reactions such as vomiting, sore mouth, nausea, fatigue, constipation, nerve damage, decreased blood counts, diarrhea, and others. For more details, talk to a doctor.

Hormone Therapy

If you experience hormone therapy for breast cancer, some adverse effects may appear. Examples include:

  • Mood swings
  • Low libido
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Vagina dryness, irritation, or discharge
  • Hot flashes

Additionally, muscle and joint pain and an increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones) also may cause Aromatase blockers.

Pain management, nutrition therapy, oncology rehabilitation, and naturopathic support are some ways to manage side effects due to breast cancer treatment options. Usually, healthcare professionals may help you to avoid or prevent adverse reactions.


All treatment options listed above can negatively affect a female’s ability to have a baby. For example, chemotherapy affects how ovaries work and decreases the number and quality of eggs. These drugs may also cause infertility in women who have not reached the pre-menopausal phase.

However, radiation therapy destroys cancer cells by ceasing or reducing their growth and division. If you plan to become pregnant, it is advised to get alternatives to maintain fertility before you begin breast cancer treatment. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the treatment be successful?

However, no one can guarantee you cancer treatment success. On the other hand, the chances of success are more than you may believe. According to studies, most females with breast cancer survive for more than five years in the U.S.

Are there foods to help in the breast cancer treatment?

Yes, foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids can help in cancer treatment. For example fish, nuts, and seeds. In any case, it is advised to talk with a doctor if you want to add these foods to your diet for cancer treatment.

Is it possible to reconstruct read breast after mastectomy?

Plastic surgeons can reconstruct real-looking breasts with implants or tissues from your body (such as muscle or fat). Consult with a healthcare professional before any plastic surgeries.

Leave a Reply

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

You were not leaving your cart just like that, right?

Enter your details below to save your shopping cart for later. And, who knows, maybe we will even send you a sweet discount code :)