Breast Cancer Support:  Warning Signs Part 1

The definition of breast cancer

An uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the breast is the definition of breast cancer. Affecting women at a rate of one in eight – that’s nearly a quarter of a million new cases each year — it is the second most prevalent type of cancer (after skin cancer) and shows why billions of dollars are spent on breast cancer support.

woman learning about breast cancer warning, woman in pink holding pink flower

The two most common types of breast cancer

The most common types of breast cancer are the ductal carcinoma, found starting from the ducts which carry milk from the lobules to the nipples, and making up nearly 90 percent of cases needing breast cancer support. This is followed by lobular carcinoma, which starts in the milk-producing lobules, and affects about eight percent of breast cancer victims.

Inherited and acquired risk factors

While it is not yet known how cells become abnormal and ultimately malignant, breast cancer seems to correlate with a combination of risk factors that can be genetically inherited or acquired by a woman. In about ten percent of cases, women with one or more relatives with breast cancer have a higher risk of the affliction.

Acquired characteristics include overall health condition, exercise levels, diet, consumption or abstention of alcohol and weight gain and are all risk factors to contraction of breast cancer.

Female hormones and breast cancer progression

The female hormones progesterone and estrogen are also involved in the development and progression of breast cancer as they assist in the growth and division of cancer cells. Hormonal replacement therapy during menopause can increase a woman’s risk for the need for breast cancer support.

Warning signs of breast cancer

Here are some of the signs and symptoms to check for as they may be possible warnings of breast cancer:

  1. Check for a painless lump in the armpit or breast area.
  2. Watch for a change in the shape and size of the breast.
  3. Be alert to a clear or pus-like secretion from the nipple.
  4. Check for changes in the color or texture of the skin of the breast, particularly the areola.

The occurrence of one or more of any of these warning signs or symptoms necessitates an immediate visit to a physician for an examination. If tests reveal a positive result for breast cancer, the earlier the detection the greater the chance of survival. As time passes and cancer grows, the breast cancer support options become more limited and survival rates grow bleaker. While in cases of detection and treatment in the earliest stages, five-year survival can be as high as 100 percent. Early detection and treatment are credited with the approximately three million breast cancer survivors alive today. In the second part of this article medical procedures and stages of cancer will be discussed.