BREAST CANCER: Overview, Risk factors, Symptoms, and treatment

As we all know, October is a month of raising awareness about Breast Cancer. So, in this article let us discuss everything that a human being (man and woman both) needs to know about this disease from its basic introduction, risk factors, and symptoms to all the myths and taboos associated with this disease.

Overview of Breast Cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (men can also get diagnosed with breast cancer) worldwide but its occurrence has been most commonly observed in the United States. Around 12 percent of the total population of women is affected by this cancer during their lifetime. It is an uncontrolled cell-division of the cells present in breast tissue. This is caused by a mutation in BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes which are also known as Breast Cancer genes. The name depicts as if this gene is responsible for causing cancer but its role is opposite. BRCA gene is responsible for producing tumor-suppressing proteins. Mutations in BRCA genes can lead to breast cancer because these mutations in these genes lead to the formation of an altered protein that does not perform the function properly. So, this might lead to the formation of the tumor.

Risk factors associated with breast cancer.

Mostly, the causes of breast cancer are mostly unidentified but there are certain risk factors that are associated with it. These risk factors are as follow.


One of the most commonly observed risk factors that are associated with breast cancer is growing age. Women in the elderly age group have relatively more chances of developing breast cancer than the women who are relatively young (I.e. a woman at 70 has a 4 percent chance of acquiring this disease while a woman at 20 has a 0.06 percent chance of getting the disease

Radiation exposure.

Radiation exposure is also one of the leading risk factors for breast cancer. If you are undergoing any sort of radiation treatment, there are chances of developing it later in your life.

Previous history of breast lumps or other breast diseases.

If you have hyperplasia or non-cancerous breast lumps, there are chances that it might convert into breast cancer later in life. Also, for a woman, if you are previously diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a possibility that they might develop it again in their lifetime.

Inherited genes.

Another one of the leading risk factors for breast cancer is the inherited gene. The woman who has a previous family history of breast cancer of BRCA (either 1 or 2) mutations are more prone to breast cancer during their lifetime. That’s why women who have this inherited mutated gene under mastectomy.

Estrogen exposure.

Prolonged exposure of estrogen also increases the chances of developing breast cancer.

Women who are unable to conceive or women who never breastfed.

Women who have never given birth or they are unable to conceive also have more chances of getting breast cancer than those who have given birth. Moreover, breastfeeding and suckling reduce the chances of getting breast cancer.

Alcohol consumption.

Higher alcohol consumption also has a significant role to play a risk factor causing breast cancer.

Oral contraceptives and hormone therapy.

The use of oral contraceptives also slightly increases the chances of getting breast cancer. Similarly, hormone replacement therapy is also associated with the increased chances of acquiring breast cancer.

Early menarche and late menopause.

If a girl has got her periods at her earlier age (I.e. she was less than 12 years of age), she gets more prone o the development of breast cancer later in life. Late menopause is also one of the most commonly observed risk factors associated with breast cancer.

This was all about different risk factors that are associated with breast cancer. Now, let’s move onwards to its symptoms.

Different symptoms of breast cancer.

One thing that you need to know is that pain in the breast (except if it is constant and prolonged) is not a symptom of breast cancer. You might never feel pain in your breast or lump that you notice in that area but there are chances that you have breast cancer. Moreover, its symptoms usually vary from a person to person. Some of the commonly observed symptoms of breast cancer are listed below.

  • Prolonged pain in armpits.
  • Redness in the area around areola.
  • Rashes around the sides of the nipples.
  • Inverted nipples.
  • Change in the shape of the breast.
  • Peeling of skin around the nipple.
  • Any lump inside the breast.


Diagnosis of this type of cancer can be done by the following methods in a hospital setting.

  • MRI.
  • Mammography
  • Ultrasound.
  • Biopsy.


This has to be clear that there are several methods that are the part of treatment procedure for breast cancer. The treatment that is given to the patient varies depending upon the health condition of the patient. The methods that are used for treatment are as follows.

  • Targeted drug therapy.
  • Surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy)
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Hormone blocking therapy.

Myths related to breast cancer.

These are the following myths that are associated with Breast cancer that has not reality basis. Some of the majorly misunderstood facts are as follows.

  • It is only found in females, males do not get this disease. (both males and females have BRCA genes and both could develop but the ratio of the female is higher because of biological differences) 
  • If you don’t have any family history of this cancer, you will never get it. (having a family history of breast cancer increases the chances of getting it but it does not mean that not having a family history eliminates its chances.)
  • Wearing a tight bra causes breast cancer. (wearing or not wearing a bra has no link.)
  • Using an underarm, antiperspirant, or deodorant causes breast cancer. (there is no such evidence.)
  • All types of breast cancer have one treatment that is mastectomy. (treatment varies depending upon the deal condition of the patient.)
  •  After the removal of breast tissues, a woman loses her femininity. (femininity has nothing to do with the removal of breast tissues.)

This was all you need to know about Breast Cancer. October is a month for raising awareness about this disease, spread the word, and let people know what this disease actually is. For more such content, stay tuned.