Breast cancer a devastating disease threatening women especially above 35 years has several causes such as hereditary, lifestyle, nutrition and some times due to unexplained reasons. Consistent measures are being taken by the government to curb and prevent breast cancer. Many awareness campaigns are also conducted especially in rural India to help women understand the common causes for breast cancer and measures to prevent breast cancer.
Let us discuss some common causes of breast cancer and certain associated risks with breast cancer that would ignite the minds of several novice women to seek measures preventing breast cancer:
- Two fundamental causes of breast cancer are age and family history. Though the causes are unclear in most cases, women above the age of 50 and those women who had a family history of breast cancer are most significantly prone to breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is a condition when a women’s own cell in the breast multiplies and sometimes spreads to other parts of the body. Early detection is always advisable to curb this disease to avoid incurable situations affecting other parts of the body. Breast lumps which are usually benign should be diagnosed to rule out breast cancer. Sometimes, benign tissues transform into cancerous tissues at a later stage resulting in breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is also tuned with the levels of oestrogen and progesterone. These levels rise and fall in a women’s lifetime. Elderly women above the age of 50 who are not exposed to these hormones after menopause are prone to breast cancer. However, even young age women who attain puberty before the age of 12 or have periods for nearly 26 to 29 days are also susceptible to this life threatening disease.
- Alcohol is also a prime cause for breast cancer.
- Women who have been already affected by ovarian cancers and endometrial cancers are prone to breast cancer.
- If a woman does not breast feed, then she is likely to develop breast cancer. Risk factors are high in such women. It is a boon to become a mother and it is the nature created by the almighty that a mother needs to breast feed her child offering mutual benefits to the mother and child. The infant gets us substitutable nourishments from mother’s milk and a mother by breast feeding can prevent breast cancer. So, women should never violate this nature’s law and get mutually benefited by breast feeding. Earlier several myths associated with breast feeding prevailed but due to the awareness campaign initiatives and advice from doctors, all these myths have been broken.
- Obesity is another cause for breast cancer in women and it’s the underlying cause for almost all disorders and diseases today irrespective of gender. Hence, women should ensure measures to control obesity through proper diet plans,exercises, yoga and meditation, a healthy diet rich in carotenoidssuch as tomato, leafy vegetables, whole grains are some of the nutritious diets that help to prevent breast cancer.
- Birth control pills are also a shocking cause for breast cancer. Women subject to birth control pills for many years are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Exposure to certain radiation also leads to breast cancer. Hence, less radiation mammography are availabletoday to diagnose breast cancer.
- Women who have already suffered from breast cancer are likely to be prone to the risk of being affected again.
Breast cancer medications and treatment:
Breast cancer treatment varies with the stages of breast and type of breast cancer. Usually two types of treatment are practiced – local treatments and systematic treatments. Local treatments involve surgery and radiation therapies. Surgical treatments involve mastectomy (removing the whole breast) and lumpectomy (removing only that portion affected by cancerous cells).
Systematic therapies involve oral drugs such as:
- Chemotherapy treatment–in this treatment several medicines are involved such as capecitabine, carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, gemcitabine, paclitaxel, vinorelbine.
- Hormone therapy treatment reduces the rate of the disease being spread. Breast cancer medications used in hormone therapy treatment include evista, nolvadex and fareston which referred to as selective oestrogen receptive modulators (SERM), anti-oestrogenmodulators such as faslodex, aromatase inhibitors such asarimidex, aromasin and femara, LH-RH agonists such as zoladex and lupron. This breast cancer treatment has less side effects unlike chemotherapy where the side effects are a bit more comparatively.
- Targeted therapies are another form of breast cancer treatment that directly impact the cancer cells causing breast cancer. Breast cancer medications in this treatment include Herceptin and perjeta which are monoclonal antibodies, lapatinib which are tyrosine kinase inhibitors and parp inhibitor therapy which is also a kind of targeted therapies. The side effects of targeted therapies are nausea and vomiting.
The percentage of 5 year survival rate for women affected by breast cancer varies with stages of breast cancer – 99% survival rate for stage 0 and 1, 93% survival rate for stage 2 and 72% survival rate for stage 3 breast cancer.
Women need not panic about breast cancer today as effective advanced medications and treatment are available to diagnose and treat breast cancer. Thanks to the medical advancement. Medications can prevent breast cancer only to a certain extent. But women have a greater responsibility to prevent breast cancer enlightening themselves to detect breast cancer at an early stage and ensure ways to prevent breast cancer proactively and curb this disease.