What is Breast Cancer? - Causes and Symptoms

what is breast cancer? causes and symptoms

In this article, you’ll know what is breast cancer? And its causes and symptoms.

What else could be the worst condition for a woman having breast cancer? It is one of the most painful feelings ever, the one can feel.

It is not only a pathetic condition for one who is suffering from it but also is horrible for the entire family or the other one who is intimately associated with the affected one.

But what actually is Breast Cancer?

Mammals have developed mammary glands to nurture their infants. Mammary glands are the modified form of sebaceous glands that develop in both sexes.

They arise from the elevated ribbons of ectoderm called milk lines. These milk lines have future tissues for milk at one or more sites.

Later on, these patches enter the dermis and spread under it. During developmental progress, each nipple develops from each patch.

At the sexual maturity of female mammal the sex hormone increases in number causing juvenile duct to expand and branch. During pregnancy, sac-like structures develop at the terminal of the duct called alveoli.

Humans have a single pair of nipples in the thoracic region.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The affected part of the breast swells and looks different from the rest part of the breast. The swollen part is called a lump.

At an early stage, it is difficult to observe this lump but as this grows up, it can be felt by touching with fingertips.

The very first stage of breast cancer can be diagnosed by the mammogram. In mammograms, the low energy radiations are passed through the breast.

The masses which are responsible for breast cancer are detected though the X-ray images.

Other Symptoms

The other symptoms of breast cancer include the thickening of the breast tissues with the neighboring tissues, swelling in nipples, severe pain in breast, rashes in or around the nipples, etc.

Another type is Paget disease of the breast. Around half of the women are detected with this having a lump in the breast as well.

Inflammatory breast cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer. It is symbolized by the red areas showing up on the breast.

Inflammatory breast cancer comes up due to the blockage of the lymph vessels. This cancer is somehow dangerous also because if it does not come up with the lump then detection may occur later.

Causes of Breast Cancer

The Causes of breast cancer can be categorized into two forms:

  • Preventable Causes
  • Non-Preventable Causes

Preventable Causes:

These are the causes which one can avoid from it e.g. drinking alcohol, consumption of tobacco, eating unhealthy food, etc.


According to research and studies, the intake of alcohol is one of the major causes of breast cancer.

According to studies eleven in one thousand women are detected with breast cancer who consume one alcoholic beverage daily. This risk factor increases with age.


Modern studies have shown that women who take low dietary fibers have less risk of breast cancer.


A study has revealed that high amounts of calcium lower the cancer risk by 33%.

Vitamin D

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center women with low intake of Vitamin D show more aggressive growth of tumors.

Lack of Exercise

Obesity is the most common reason for breast cancer. Therefore lack of exercise increases the risk of cancer

Passive Smoking

Passive smoking increases the risk of breast cancer by 70%. This risk increases when passive smoking is practiced during puberty because at this age the breast cells are most sensitive to carcinogens.

Breast Feeding

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of cancer.


Women who expose themselves to radiations for treatment or any other activity become more responsive to breast cancer. This risk is more increased at a young age.

Non-Preventable Causes

Those factors from which one cannot prevent e.g. progress of age, biological sex, etc.

The main risk factor of breast cancer is being female. In older age, it is more risk to have breast cancer than lower age. A 50 years old woman has greater chances of cancer than 20 years old.


It is seen that breast cancer is inherited from older ones to their younger ones.

Medical Condition

A certain medical condition also increases the risk of breast cancer. For example, a diabetic patient is more responsive to breast cancer. Hormonal therapy for menopause also increases the risk of breast cancer.

Detection of Breast Cancer

There are many methods for the detection of this type of cancer in which most of the common is a biopsy in which an affected part is cut and examined under a microscope. The other methods include mammography and other tests are suggested by the examiner in severe cases like MRI or Ultrasound.

Prevention and Treatment:

Breast cancer can be avoided by improving lifestyle. Positive changes to health can reduce the chances of breast cancer. Proper lifestyle includes maintaining a proper healthy weight, less consumption of alcohol, enhancing physical activity, and breastfeeding. These improvements have positive effects on health, lowering the risk of cancer in varying percentages among different countries.


The medication was considered to be helpful in breast cancer but later was rejected due to the side effects and other complications. Therefore this type of treatment is definitely not recommended at first.


Surgery performed to remove the affected tissues or sometimes a whole breast, sometimes a part of it.

Hormonal Therapy

Sometimes cancerous cells need estrogen hormone for their growth. Certain chemicals that block the production of estrogen hormones are used for this purpose.


The lymph nodes are passed through the radiation in case if the microscopic cells are

remain after the surgery

Psychological Effects of Breast Cancer

People suffering from breast cancer do not feel the same illness. It varies from person to person. Different factors are matters in this case.

Pink Ribbon and Awareness of Breast Cancer

In early ages, breast cancer was considered to be shameful for women. If she fell prey to it she had to suffer from it patiently and silently without any care. But later the feminist movements raised awareness and seek help from the government officials. Now the Pink Ribbon symbolizes breast cancer internationally.

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