Breast Cancer, Signs, Causes, Complications, Stages and Diagnosis

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer with the highest rate of death among cancers and seen with age group of 45-55 years. Male breast cancer too occurs and accounts 1 % of all cancer death.

Symptom and signs

  • Formation of lumps and swelling in the breast.
  • Swelling in the armpit.
  • Change in the shape of the breast.
  • Fluid discharge from the breast.
  • Redness throughout the breast.
  • Inverted nipple.
  • Spontaneous single-nipple discharge.
  • Feeling of itching, burning and pain.
  • Pitted skin on nipple.
  • Continuous skin irritation
  • Unusual breast pain
  • Tenderness of the breast
  • Bone pain in the latter stage.
  • Breathlessness, headache and weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss at a high speed.
  • Breast is excessively warm to touch.
  • Breast skin ulcers in the advance stage


As the person gets older, the incidence rate of breast cancer increases.

  • Increases the risk when relative like mother, sister and daughter were diagnosed.
  • Early commencement of menses and menopause are too responsible for it.
  • Exposure to carcinogenic radioactive rays and harmful chemicals.
  • Hormonal replacement.
  • Pregnancy at the latter stage.
  • Late birth to kids and not feeding the offspring.
  • More risk among Smoker and Drinker.
  • Second part is at threat if one side is treated with breast cancer.
  • Obesity, especially in postmenopausal women.
  • Using oral contraceptive for a longer period.


  •  Major skeleton side effects happened after treatment like Hormonal therapy, Chemotherapy, Radiation and bisphosphonate therapy.
  • Bone mineral density lessens after Hormonal therapy.
  • Chemotherapy leads to ovarian failure.
  • Rib problem may be experienced after radiation therapy.
  • Jaw problem occur after bisphosphonate therapy.
  • Slight swelling is observed in the breast after radiation.
  • Skin colour becomes dark after radiotherapy.
  • Fracture of breastbone.
  • Arm swelling may happen due to radiation therapy.
  • Fracture of chest wall along the breast and chest pain.
  • Nipple replacement
  • Radiation therapy causes skin burn, difficulty in swallowing, hair loss and weight loss.
  • Chemotherapy causes constipation, mouth sores and nausea too.

Risk Factor

  •  Women as getting older or age over 60 have greater chance.
  • Cancer in one breast increases the risk for other.
  • Cancer with near and dear ones like mother, sister and daughter.
  • Direct family members having cancer of ovary, cervix, uterus or colon increases the risk.
  • Genetic change like BRCA1, BRCA2 etc.
  • Past breast biopsy.
  • Excessive radiation therapy before 30 years means higher the chances at the later years.
  • Women without children.
  • Beginning of menstrual period at quite early stage and menopause after 55
  • Black women are lesser prone than white one.
  • Obesity with excess fat intake after menopause.
  • Women who has low physical activity.
  • Alcoholic women have greater chances.
  • Heavy use of estrogen and progesterone.
  • Birth control pills appear to slightly increase the risk


Staging is related with treatment module and survival rates.

  •  Stage 0: Sometimes abnormal cells and many doctors don’t consider it as cancer.
  • Stage I:   Cancer cells spread beyond the origin point.
  • Stage II: Here tumor is between 2 to 5 cm and spread to lymph nodes under arm.
  • Stage III: is an advanced one where the tumor is more than 5 cm, swelling of breast may be experienced, spread to the lymph nodes above and below the collarbone.
  • where the cancer spread to other parts of the body.


  • Mammogram- is used to detect precancerous cells which may be lump or tiny speck of calcium.
  • Ultrasound:  show the lump is whether solid or liquid or both.
  • MRI: diseases tissue can be found out easily.
  • Biopsy- some affected body part is taken out to know cancer.
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy:  Here cells are taken out from a thin needle.
  • Core biopsy: Wide needle is used to get the sample.
  • Skin biopsy:  a portion of skin is taken for sample.
  • Surgical biopsy: Removes a sample of tissue.
  • Hormone receptor tests: Hormone therapy is for treatment purpose.
  • Positron Emission Tomography: radioactive substance like glucose-8-fluorodeoxyglucose is to diagnose the disease.

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