What does breast cancer feel like? Someone might ask such question, it might sounds like a death wish.As breast cancer is one of the deadliest cancer in the world. Millions have died because of it and another millions suffering from its effect. However there are also those who succeeded in battling the cancer and live to tell the tale. In this article we will take a look the cancer.
How it form, how it’s graded and hopefully it would be informative on what does breast cancer feel like without actually need to get the cancer itself.
Breast Cancer the Introduction
Cancer generally occurred as abnormal cellular division in a tissue. The abnormal cellular division in cancer today remains not fully understood. However scientist specializing in cancers suggested that there were several factors that can contribute to the formation of cancer cells namely genetic factors, exposure to hazardous substance such as radioactive or carcinogenic chemical substances and lifestyle which introduces the former to the victim. Breast cancer however are not limited to woman but also man although case for later are rare due to less developed breasts.
What Does Breast Cancer Feel Like
Breast cancer begin with unusually rapid cellular replication at breasts area. Particularly at breast lobules or other part of the tissues. It replicate rapidly and formed mass. The size of the mass become the basis of classification of the cancer stages. There are however several classification scheme for the cancer as follows :
- Based on histopathology : This classification system, classify cancer based on its origin. There are two kinds of breast cancer in this system, ductal where the cancer cells are drived from breast duct tissue. Lobular is the cancer that originates from mutated breast lobular cell.
- Based on appearance : This system is also called as grade or grading, it compares the appearance of the cancer cell relative to the normal cell. Cancer cells will progressively losing its specialty and become more and more different to normal breast cells.
- Based on TNM system : This classification system grades breast cancer with observation of the Tumor, its spread to lymph nodes and whether the cancer’s cells already metastasized where its cells already spreading to other part of body.
Risks and Symptoms
The risk of contracting breast cancer are depend on many factors. Research and scientific debates are still ongoing on this subject. However there are some factors that already considered clear enough as a sign of breast cancer namely :
- Age : There is correlation between age and risk of breast cancer. Scientific studies shows that older women in the range of 40-50 years old are in higher risk of breast cancer compared to younger 20 years old women.
- Heredity : Women with record of having family member with breast cancer are on higher risk of contracting breast cancer.
- Prior cancer record : Women with prior cancer record are in risk of contracting breast cancer. This is because possibility of undetected cancer cells that not killed by previous treatment settled and developed in breast tissue.
- Environmental hazards : Some examples includes radiation, exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. They increased risk of breast cancer
- Unhealthy lifestyle : smoking and alcoholism have been long considered as progenitor to cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer however often not readily apparent. However some signs and abnormality can be seen at breast inspection. Some signs are Lumps, dimpling of the skin, change in skin color. Excretion of transparent body fluid from nipple and inverted nipple could the sign of breast cancer. What does breast cancer feel like ? It might not readily apparent at early stage. The victim might live it’s usual life.
Detection of Breast Cancer
What does breast cancer feel like ? Obviously one should aware of its symptoms and seek medical assistance fordetection of possible cancer. Fortunately today there are many techniques available and various NGO (Non Government Organization) that advocates their use. Most common technique used however would be described below.
This screening method can be done by oneself or with help of expert. It involves visually examining the breast for any sign of lumps or abnormalities. The process continued with palpitation of the nipple, and breast. This method of test however is not supported by scientific evidence and might provide false positive result. However this test was once widely recommended.
In this screening method, medical expert will use mammography equipment, a device that operate in similar manner as x-ray machine, albeit in lower power. The purpose is to search for any possibility of abnormally dense tissue that might indicate cancer. A downside of mammography is that it performs poorly as the X-ray is not able to penetrate dense breast tissue, a characteristics of woman below 40 years old. Usually after anomaly is found, the patient is sent back home and called back after 1-2 weeks for secondary observation. Sometime however a biopsy would be performed.
There’s a controversy regarding mammography that it might not be really useful in early detection of breast cancer. Recommendation however is that mammography shall only be used for women who have risk of contracting breast cancer. Thus it’s recommended for women with age of 40-50 years old.
Ultrasound imaging is usually used for accompanying mammography. Especially to penetrate dense breast tissue. It’s based on reflecting property of tissues when exposed with high frequency sound. The machine will then construct image based on the reflected sound wave from the tissue. This machine is also the one used to check pregnancy.
Molecular Breast Imaging
This detection method is currently undergoing research and show promise of accuracy comparable to more expensive MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) This detection method however requires radioactive agent which might have cancer risk.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Currently the most accurate method to diagnose breast cancer. However it’s very expensive and require special equipment. The patient must also be metal free as the MRI machine can violently pull any metal object that attached to the patient. Due to nature of the cost of this diagnostic method it’s only recommended on high risked women or to diagnose woman that already undergo breast implant which may hide cancer from more conventional system.
Breast Cancer Treatment and Management
Breast cancer treatment or basically any other cancer treatment relies on how advanced the cancer is. Early stage cancer where the mass is localized and not spread would able to be treated successfuly with minimum side effect. Later stage would be more difficult especially for those case where the cancer already spread to other organs, combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy is required to eliminate any cancer cell. In very advanced stage however the cancer might no longer be curable. Instead treatment is concentrated toward alleviating pain and improve the living quality of the patient.
That’s all about What Does Breast Cancer Feel Like from us, may be useful. See also: Causes, Risks and Signs of Throat Cancer