BREAST CANCER AND WHAT IT ENTAILS | Dr. Yeibake Weriwoyingipre Silver

Hello, people! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast tissue. It occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a tumour. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affects both women and, although less common, men as well.

In 2020, breast cancer accounted for nearly 12% of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 7.8 million women worldwide. Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy among women in Nigeria, a lower-middle-income country, accounting for 22.7% of all new cancer cases. It also has the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any country, with 12,000 deaths in 2018.

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing breast cancer, including age, family history, genetic mutations (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2), hormonal factors, previous radiation therapy, and lifestyle choices (such as alcohol consumption and obesity).

Common symptoms of breast cancer include the presence of a lump or thickening in the breast, changes in breast size or shape, nipple abnormalities (such as inversion), nipple discharge, and skin changes (such as dimpling or redness).

Regular breast screenings, such as mammograms, can help detect breast cancer at an early stage when it is more treatable. Self-examination and clinical breast examinations are also important components of early detection.

If breast cancer is suspected based on symptoms or screening results, further diagnostic tests, such as biopsies, are performed to confirm the presence of cancer cells and determine the specific type of breast cancer.

Treatment for breast cancer may involve surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy. The specific treatment plan depends on factors such as the stage and type of cancer, as well as individual patient characteristics.

After completing initial treatment, ongoing follow-up care is important to monitor for any signs of recurrence and address any potential long-term side effects. Supportive care services are also available to help individuals cope with physical and emotional challenges.

It is important to rely on accurate and up-to-date sources of information, such as reputable medical websites or healthcare professionals, for comprehensive information about breast cancer. For specific questions or concerns, it is always beneficial to consult with a healthcare provider who can provide personalized guidance and support.

Dr. Yeibake Weriwoyingipre Silver
Senior Registrar, 
Paediatrics, WACP.

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