Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and it also has the unique distinction of being one of the most visibly promoted cancers in terms of awareness and treatment options. Its ubiquitous nature means that it has, unfortunately, touched the lives of too many individuals. The good news is that there are an infinite amount of resources available to those who are afflicted by breast cancer. It is one of the most researched forms of cancer, and as such, the support network is powerful. Breast cancer survivors are some of the most awe-inspiring individuals, and their voices resonate deeply.
Cancer is a mysterious disease, and the exact origins of it are unknown in many cases. There are some risk factors, however, to every type of cancer, and breast cancer is no exception. Gender is one of the primary risks—unfortunately, being a woman already puts you automatically at risk for breast cancer. Genetic factors also play a role, as close to ten percent of breast cancers are thought to be the result of a genetic mutation in the body. Family history is another component to the genetic risk, as it’s more likely that you’ll develop breast cancer if a close relative has also had it. Furthermore, if you’ve had other issues with your breasts or breast tissue, you may be prone to developing it.
Breast cancer begins as a malignant tumor in the cells of the breast. It occurs far more commonly in women, but it can develop in men as well. Cancer can spread easily in the breasts through the lymph nodes, which are immune system cells. It is in this way that the cancer can spread to other parts of the body as it can easily enter the bloodstream. Whether or not the cancer has spread will naturally affect the type of treatment administered. If cancer has not spread, the malignant tumor can sometimes be easily removed via surgery. If it has spread, treatment will typically be far more aggressive and cover other parts of the body.
Treatment for breast cancer, like all other cancers, will depend on the severity of the case and how far it’s spread. Surgery is always the first option considered if it’s at all possible. If the tumor is contained to one area, surgery or radiation can often eradicate the cancer. Often, however, a balance of different therapies is required. Chemotherapy is the use of cancer killing drugs to reach all parts of the body where cancer might have spread, and might be a necessary treatment option. Additionally, there are several alternative methods to treating breast cancer, such as hormone therapy or targeted therapy.
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