One of the most common cancers affecting women today is breast cancer. Breast cancer has affected thousands of women and has claimed thousands of lives all over the world. Though most women who have breast cancers are over 50 years of age, younger women and men may also get this cancer too. Breast cancer is a type of cancer wherein cells grow and multiply unregulated. Cancer cells first start in the breast which may turn to be malignant and invade surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body.
There are many possible causes of breast cancer, one of which is older age. The risk of acquiring breast cancer is higher when a woman is aged 50 years or more. Another factor is genetics. Women who have a close relative who have breast or ovarian cancers are more likely to develop breast cancers, although majority of breast cancers are not hereditary.
Women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a considerably higher risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. Carriers of another gene known as TP53 also have greater breast cancer risks. Women who have histories of breast cancers may more likely develop the disease again compared to women who have no history of the disease. Women who have certain types of breast lumps may also be prone to develop cancers later on such as atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ. Also, women with more dense breast tissue are also more prone to develop breast cancers.
Women who have increased estrogen exposure, such as those who have periods earlier and those who entered menopause later than usual, have a higher risk of developing breast cancers. This is because they have been exposed to estrogen longer, from the time their periods have started until menopause. Women who are obese are also at high risk for developing breast cancers, especially those who are post menopausal. Women who are taller than average have a high risk for developing breast cancer. Increased alcohol consumption may also lead to increased risks for breast cancers.
Increased radiation exposure in the form of exposure to X-rays and CT scans may raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have been treated with radiation to the chest may also have increased risk for breast cancer. Women treated with hormone replacement therapy, whether combined and estrogen-only HRT therapies may also increase this risk.
Women who worked at night before having their first child are also at a high risk for developing breast cancers. Certain jobs can also predispose one to develop breast cancers, such as bar or gambling occupations, automotive plastics manufacturing, metal-working, food canning and agriculture. Women who had cosmetic breast implants and develop breast cancer may have a higher risk of dying from breast cancer than their counterparts.
Breast cancer may present with various signs and symptoms. These symptoms include a lump in the breast, pain in the armpits or breast which is not related to menstrual period, redness or pitting of the skin of the breast with the appearance like that of an orange, rashes on one or both nipples, swelling or lump in one of the armpits, a thickened area of the breast, nipple discharge which may be tinged with blood, sunken or inverted nipples, changes in the shape and the size of the breasts, and peeling or scaling or flaking of the skin of the breasts.
Vitamin A and Breast Cancer
Vitamin A, also known as retinoic acid, is often found in sweet potato and carrots. This vitamin has been found out by latest research to help turn pre-cancer cells back to normal healthy breast cells. The results are published in the International Journal of Oncology. The research helps explain why some studies have not found benefits of Vitamin A on cancer, because the effect of this vitamin works only on pre-cancerous cells and only works at a very narrow dose.
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