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All about Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Signs & Treatment

Apart from Pelvic cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer among women in India. According to a research report published in 2007, nearly 1,00,000 women in India suffered from breast cancer every year. Nearly half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer were less than 45 years. However, by 2017, India became the third largest population of breast cancer patients and this number increases by 5% annually, in numbers the amount of registered cases of breast cancer every year increases by 1-1.4 million women.

It must be noted that breast cancer mortality rate is 1.7 times higher than maternal mortality rate and according to some future predictions by 2025, 190- 260 women per hundred thousand women will be suffering from breast cancer, and the age range for developing breast cancer would range from less than 35 years to more than 53 years.

Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Signs & TreatmentWhat is Breast Cancer?

Our bodies are made up of multiple cells which keep on dying and reproducing themselves to sustain us. According to some researchers, each cell of the body is replaced by a new cell in a time span of seven years, that is the human body changes every seven years, to make matters simple, the functionality of each cell depends on the organ it is originating from.

This constant renewal also means that some older cells go into an automatic suicide mode to make space for the new cells being created to replace them. Usually, each organ creates just enough cells to sustain itself as well as create an attachment or communication line with other cells of the body.

The body develops cancer when the outside environment interacts with cancer susceptible cells of a body which leads to a genetic mutation.

This genetic mutation disables the auto-suicide function of cells, leading to the presence of excess cells in the organ. These excess cells can either lead to the development of a tumor or spread and invade the functions of other organs of the body.

If left unchecked, these cells can spread and inhibit the functions of other cells and body parts, thus cancer is also known as a terminal disease.

Breast cancer develops in a body when the cells of the breast get mutated and continue growing, they either form a tumor and are contained to one breast, or spread to the other breast, lungs and other internal body parts, in the latter case, where cancer spreads to other organs, the patient is at higher risk of a relapse, such cancer also has a comparatively lower survival rate.

Also Read:   The Top Five Most Dangerous Cancers Affecting Women

What Should Everyone Know About Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer is the development of malignant lump in the breast(s). Generally, the most common symptom of breast cancer is the presence of a lump in the breast, but, it is not important that every lump on the breast converts to breast cancer. Other signs of breast cancer may include itchiness, change in breast size, discharge, inversion of nipples and breast pain.

If you feel any of these symptoms, it is always safe to go for a diagnostic test. Awareness drives and dedication from certain research and development bodies have led to advances in breast cancer treatment, thus, if caught in the initial stages, breast cancer can be cured. The most effective form of treatment is surgery to remove the affected area, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

However, complete treatment is only possible for a certain type of breast cancer, depending on the type of cancer a patient is suffering from, breast cancer can relapse in the other breast.

While there is no clear cause for breast cancer, some experts believe that genetics can play a role in the development of breast cancer among patients, therefore, if a close relative is a survivor of breast cancer, it is imperative to get regular screenings for breast cancer for early detection.

1. Is Breast Cancer Genetic?

A very small population of patients diagnosed with breast cancer suffer from it due to genetics. While there are several causes of breast cancer, it is believed that some genes are passed down in the family, this hereditary exchange increases the risk of development of breast cancer in such individuals. However, just because someone is at the high-risk zone, doesn’t mean that the individual will definitely develop breast cancer, just their probability to suffer from breast cancer increases.

A genetic test confirms the susceptibility of an individual’s body to breast cancer. Most cases of hereditary breast cancer are caused either by BReast CAncer 1  (BRCA1) gene mutation or BReast CAncer 2 (BRCA2) gene mutation, other common mutations also include a mutation in the protein TP53, PTEN, BRIP1 and so on.

Researchers from Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK published a research report in March 2018, where they have identified 110 genes as at risk genes in the development of breast cancer.

2. Does Breast Cancer Hurt?

It is not necessary for breast cancer to hurt. In fact, sharp pain in breasts could be indicative of other diseases too. However, development of cancer on the lymph nodes can cause unbearable pain. Patients may also feel pain if cancer spreads out and invades other organs. The pain caused by cancer on lymph nodes is generally unbearable and spreads to the arms of a patient. It is also interesting to note, that non-invasive cancer can be painless.

History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

October is the designated breast cancer awareness month and the disease is symbolised by a pink ribbon. The history of using ribbons goes back to the 19th century the United States of America. Grieving women would tie yellow ribbons to trees in memory of their loved ones lost to war. It was a form of silent support. During the 1990s, this ribbon tradition was adopted by an activist art group called Visual AIDS. Visual AIDS launched the red ribbon for creating awareness about HIV-AIDS. The red ribbon grew to become a global symbol.

A breast cancer survivor Charlotte Hayley launched the peach ribbon to urge more research and funds for breast cancer treatment. However, it was the Susan G. Komen foundations, which took inspiration from Visual AIDS and launched the pink ribbon to create awareness about breast cancer. Later the Breast Cancer Foundation established the pink ribbon as the colour for breast cancer awareness.

October 1986, was observed as the first-ever breast cancer awareness month, and by 1991 the pink ribbon was established as a global symbol of breast cancer. The year 1992 was observed as the “Year of Pink” to spread awareness about breast cancer.

Despite several reported cases of breast cancer, the disease remained a hushed-up topic in India for a long time. The spread of the disease and instances of development of breast cancer in women below 30, especially young mothers started a conversation. Today, India has an alarming number of breast cancer cases, and the instances are on a steady rise. It is imperative that women know how to spot the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

Signs and Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

The most common indicator of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. However, not all lumps are cancerous. Lumps could also be indicative of breast infection, fibroadenoma, fibrocystic breast disease, or damaged tissue in the breast. Most women miss out on other early signs of breast cancer which are:

  • Persistent stabbing pain, throbbing or discomfort in the breast even after the menstrual cycle
  • Change in breast size
  • Sharp pain in the nipple

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

Most women under the age of 30 dismiss these signs as part of hormonal change or stress or other bodily changes. However, we strongly suggest that if these signs persist, plan a visit to your healthcare provider.

As a result of years of spreading awareness about breast cancer, there is a wealth of data available to women about the disease. While breast lump is the most obvious symptom of breast cancer. Other signs  include:

  • Orange peel texture of breast(s)
  • Change in colour of the breasts
  • Inverted nipples
  • Scaling of the breasts
  • Skin dimpling
  • Nipple discharge
  • Crusting around nipple
  • Change in size of an existing, so far benign lump
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes present in the armpit
  • Visibility of veins on the breast surface
Early Signs of Breast CancerSymptoms of Breast Cancer
Persistent stabbing pain, throbbing or discomfort in the breast even after the menstrual cycleOrange peel texture of breast, skin dimpling, scaling, change in skin colour
Change in breast sizeInverted nipples, nipple discharge or crusting around the nipple
Sharp, needle like pain in the nippleChange in the size of benign lump

Major Causes and Risk Factors of Breast Cancer:

Cancer is a disease which does not have any documented causes, nobody can clearly identify why certain bodies develop cancer. However, cancer is caused due to a genetic mutation which disables the body’s ability to destroy old cells. This inability leads to the unregulated multiplication of cells in one part of the body. These cells then spill out and spread to other organs, interfering with their normal functions, which ultimately affects to the functioning of the body as a whole.

While there are no identified concrete causes of breast cancer, some of the conjectured causes and risk factors include:

1. Age:

Breast Cancer at some point was more common among women of menopausal or postmenopausal age. As a woman ages, she becomes more at risk of developing breast cancer.

2. Menstrual Health History:

Women who started their menstruation cycle before the age of 12 or had their menopause after the age of 55 are at risk of developing breast cancer.

3. Presence of Lumps in Breasts:

Women who have benign breast lumps or other breast conditions, also come under the risk population for breast cancer.

4. Genetics:

As covered in the previous section, hereditary breast cancer is a possibility is around 5% of all breast cancer patients.

5. Delayed Pregnancy:

Any woman who hasn’t had a full term pregnancy by the age of 30 is at risk of developing breast cancer. However, this view is contested by some scientists who claim that a woman is at risk only, if she has a first full-term pregnancy after the age of 35.1 

6. History of Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer like any other type of cancer has a high relapse probability. This means that if a woman has received treatment for breast cancer in her past, she is at risk of developing it again.

7. Lifestyle:

One of the major causes of breast cancer is the modern era lifestyle. Weight gain, lack of exercise, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, and occupational demands of working at odd hours, all contribute to elevating the risk of breast cancer.

Types of Breast Cancer:

Breast Cancer is typified based on the nature of the cancer cells as well as the origin of the cancer cells. Thus, all in all, there are four major types of breast cancer. Before we embark on the journey of understanding the types of breast cancer, we need to understand the prerequisites for typification.

1. Nature of Cancer:

Non- Invasive Breast Cancer: Cancer cells can be “in situ” that is, they are contained around the point of origin. Breast cancer caused by such cells are also known as “non-invasive breast cancer.”

Invasive Breast Cancer: When cancer cells multiply and spread out to or invade nearby body parts of the breast then the breast cancer is known as “invasive breast cancer.” The breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes and hence, the first sentinels to fall are the lymph nodes of the underarms.

2. Origin of Cancer Cells:

Lobular Breast Cancer: Breast cancer which develops and spreads from the lobules inside the milk ducts of the breast is known as Lobular Breast Cancer.

Ductal Breast Cancer: Cancer which originates and spreads from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast and body are known as Ductal Breast Cancer.

Now that we have established a brief understanding of the factors to consider while typifying breast cancer, here are the types of breast cancer:

3. Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS):

Cancer develops in the milk ducts but remains contained to the point of origin. In-Situ is non-invasive in nature. While the breast cancer may be contained in the milk ducts during the initial stages; if left untreated, cancer may become invasive.

4. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC):

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma as the name suggests spreads outward from the milk ducts. It is the most common type of breast cancer and is also known as Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) type of Cancer. Invasive ductal breast cancer is also known as cancer of No Special Type (NST).

5. Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer:

Invasive Lobular Carcinoma/Breast Cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the world. Cancer cells originate from the lobules of the breast and spread outwards to other body parts.

6. Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ (LCIS):

Lobular Carcinoma In-Situ is a non-invasive, abnormal growth in the lobules of the breast. It is generally misrepresented as DCIS because they are both non-invasive. LCIS is different because the tumor in the lobules is benign in nature, it, however, increases the risk of cancer development.

7. Medullary Breast Cancer:

Medullary breast cancer on physical examination doesn’t feel like a lump. In fact, it feels like the spongy part of the breast. It is generally diagnosed through a mammogram.

8. Tubular Carcinoma:

Tubular Carcinoma is rare, amounting to only 2% of all diagnosed cases. It is named such because when observed under a microscope, its cell structure resembles the structure of a tube. Cancer does not form a lump in a breast and passes most physical exams, as it may feel like the spongy parts of the breast. It is detected through a mammogram and is generally diagnosed in women over the age of 50 years. It responds well to hormonal therapy.

9. Paget Disease:

Paget disease is a rare disease affecting the nipple and dark skin around the nipple and is often misdiagnosed as other skin diseases. Paget disease generally comes along with a lump in the breast, which could be in-situ or invasive. Generally, it is difficult to diagnose this disease, and an accurate diagnosis of invasive carcinoma is reached only when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

10. Mucinous Breast Cancer:

Mucinous carcinoma is named thus, because of the production of mucus in cells. However, this mucus formation also leads to an easy and favourable diagnosis.

Breast Cancer Stages:

Once a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, the process of staging helps the healthcare provider in understanding the biology of the cancerous cells. Initially, this staging was based on just three factors, this system of staging was called the TNM system of staging. As of 2018, other factors have been added to the staging process to give a more accurate understanding of cancer. We will discuss the staging process, before discussing the stages, the following table is a brief understanding of all factors taken into consideration:

Tumor (T)The first indicator taken under consideration is the size of the tumor.
Lymph Nodes (N)The second factor to be considered is the status of the lymph nodes and the spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes.
Metastasis (M)Metastasis or metastatic breast cancer is generally, considered as the fourth stage of breast cancer. The cancer here has spread to nearby organs including bones, lungs, liver and other distant organs.
Estrogen Receptor Status (ER)This indicates if the cancer cells have a receptor for estrogen and their response to the protein. Some cancer cells need hormones to grow, and most cancer cases show positivity to estrogen reception, it is even more prevalent in women of older ages. Such cases can be treated with hormone therapies.
Human Epidermal Receptor Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2)Almost a fifth of newly diagnosed cases are HER2 positive. HER2 is a protein, produced by cancer cells in some breast cancer cases, it helps in predicting the growth and spread map of the cancer.
Tumor Grade (G)Tumor grade is the study of the cancer cells to ascertain their similarities to normal cells. The cells are studied under a microscopic and depending on their size, multiplication rate and similarity to normal cells, they are divided into 3 grades:
Grade 1: The growth of tumor cells is slow, and they resemble normal cells.
Grade 2: The growth rate of tumor cells are slightly higher and they have started showing signs of differentiation from normal cells.
Grade 3: The growth rate of tumor cells is at an alarming pace, and the cells look abnormal.
Progesterone Receptor Status (PR)Progesterone receptor status indicates the positivity of the cancer cells to the hormone name progesterone. While commonly ER positive cancer cells are PR positive too, there are instances when the cancer cells are positive for one and negative for other. Hormone therapy is an effective therapy for hormone positivity.

Defining a stage for breast cancer helps in determining the treatment plan as well as predict the survival rate. Now, that we understand the factors considered before defining a stage of breast cancer, let us understand the stages of breast cancer:

1. Stage 0 Breast Cancer:

Stage 0 breast cancer is the earliest stage of cancer. Here the cancer cells have been detected on points of origin like lobules, milk ducts or the nipples (Paget’s disease), these cells haven’t invaded other regions of the breast yet. Stage 0 cancer is generally considered akin to DCIS or ductal carcinoma in-situ, however, some health care providers also include lobular carcinoma in-situ in the list of stage 0 cancer. If cancer is diagnosed at this stage, treatment is easy with a high survival rate.

2. Stage 1 Breast Cancer:

Detection of cancer at stage 1 is also highly treatable with a good survival rate. At this stage, cancer shows some signs of spreading to the lymph nodes and can be divided into types:

  • Stage 1A: The stage 1A breast cancer is where the size of the tumor is equal to or smaller than 2 centimeters and it seems to have spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 1B: The stage 1B breast cancer is diagnosed when there is no tumor or lump in the breast, but the cancer cells are present in clusters, spreading from the breast to the lymph nodes

3. Stage 2 Breast Cancer:

Stage 2 breast cancer is an indicator that the cancer is growing and is at the middle stage. It has grown within the breast or nearby lymph nodes. Type 2 breast cancer has been divided into two types:

  • Stage 2A: Stage 2A breast cancer is invasive cancer. A patient is diagnosed with type 2A cancer when one of three conditions is indicated. i) There is no presence of a tumor but less than 4 lymph nodes show signs of cancer development. ii) The tumor is larger than 2 cm but less than 5 cm and has not yet spread to lymph nodes. iii) The tumor is smaller than 2 cm and less the 4 lymph nodes also show signs of cancerous growth.
  • Stage 2B: Stage 2B is an advanced stage of 2A, but the advancement is not enough to categorise the cancer as stage 3. A patient is diagnosed with stage 2B when one of the two conditions is visible i) The tumor is more between 2 cm- 5 cm and has also spread to the lymph nodes. ii) The cancerous tumor is more than 5 cm in size but hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes.

4. Stage 3 Breast Cancer:

Stage 3 breast cancer is considered as an advanced stage cancer and earlier survival rate at this stage was really low. However, in the 21st century, effective treatment is available for stage 3 breast cancer, which is divided into 3 types:

  • Stage 3A: Stage 3A breast cancer is the mildest form of stage 3 cancer, a patient is diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer under three conditions; i) The tumor is less than 2 cm and cancer has spread to any 4-9 lymph nodes ii) The tumor or lump is larger than 5 cm and cancer has spread to lymph nodes near to the underarms or breastbone. iii) The tumor is larger than 5 cm and clusters of cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3B: Stage 3B is the intermittent stage, where the presence of a tumor (any size) is detected along with the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes, as well as chest wall or breast skin.
  • Stage 3C: Stage 3C cancer is the middle ground between stage 4 cancer and stage 3 cancer. Its specifications do not completely put in the stage 4 category, but it is the closest to the final stage cancer and is identified by these conditions; i) There is no presence of a lump or tumor but cancer has spread to 10 or more lymph nodes. ii) The absence of tumor but cancer has spread to a moderately distant organ like the collarbone. iii) An absence of tumor but cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of underarms or breastbone.

5. Stage 4 Breast Cancer:

Stage 4 breast cancer is also known as the last stage breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer. Cancer at this stage has spread to distant body parts like bone, liver, lungs, and brain and may cause symptoms like jaundice, seizures, nausea, bone pain and so on. This stage of cancer is considered as incurable, however, more and more research is being done to extend a woman’s lifespan by treating stage 4 breast cancer as a chronic disease. The treatment would thus include managing the symptoms of the disease.

Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis:

Regular self-examination is the first step to detecting breast cancer, this self-examination could mean feeling the breast for lumps, skin changes, nipple inversion, foul-smelling nipple discharge and so on. If the patient detects any suspicious changes, she should immediately consult a doctor. Depending on the patient’s description of the problem, the doctor may conduct one of the following tests:

1. Physical Breast Exam:

Depending on the patient’s accounts, the doctor may do a physical examination of the patient’s breast. If the doctor either by touch or look detects alarming changes, she may ask the patient to plan for other tests.

2. Mammograms:

Mammograms are breast X-Rays, generally prescribed by the doctor to take images of the breast from different vantage points. Mammograms are very accurate in detecting DCIS, however, they are criticised for being ineffective at detecting cancer in its early stages, especially for younger women who have dense breasts.

3. Breast Ultrasound:

Breast ultrasounds work like sonar and use sound waves to detect changes in the breast. They can accurately predict if the lump in the breast is a solid mass or a cyst. Breast ultrasounds are accurate in identifying fibroadenoma.

4. MRI Scan:

MRI scans do not use any kind of radiation to create any kind of image of the inside of your breasts. Instead, MRI uses radio and magnetic waves to create an image. A patient’s breast is administered with a dye before the MRI scan. This dye helps in identifying problem areas.

5. Biopsy:

If a suspicious mass is detected on the breast of the patient, the doctor may advise a follow-up test. This test is known as Biopsy, which is an accurate method of determining cancer, its site, and grade.

During a biopsy, the doctor extracts a sample from the suspicious area in the breast. The doctor uses a needle-like substance to do the extraction. A scanning device is used as a guidance tool for the extraction.

This extracted sample is sent to the labs for further tests, which accurately reveal the biology of cancer.

Staging Breast Cancer:

Once appropriate tests confirm breast cancer. The doctor tries to establish the stage of cancer. He/she can ask the patient to plan for one or more of the following tests to determine the stage:

  • Blood tests like CBC
  • Bone Scan
  • Screening tests for the other breast
  • CT scan
  • PET scan

Latest Development in Cancer Screening and Diagnosis:

Years of advocacy and demand for better healthcare has led to robust breast cancer research programs. Such research programs have led to many scientific breakthroughs in diagnostic sciences as well as treatment procedures. Some of these recent developments in breast cancer research are:

  • In 2017, scientists in France discovered that dogs can be trained to detect breast cancer. It was discovered that breast cancer cells have a particular smell, which dogs can sense. The training for such dogs lasts for 6 months. Initial, six months training sessions were held with German Shepherd, who produced 100% results.
  • Japanese and American Scientists have developed a sensor, which is thinner than a plastic kitchen wrap by half. This sensor can be fitted into gloves. This first of a kind sensor can detect changes in pressure, even when it is twisted like a piece of cloth.
  • American scientists discovered a new blood test which can study DNA changes to predict early-stage cancer development. The test was accurate for 62% participants, in a 200 participant experiment. This test can detect early-stage cancer, thereby, reducing the risk of aggressive treatment.

Is Breast Cancer Preventable?

To prevent breast cancer, one must understand the cause of breast cancer. So far, scientific research has not been able to identify the cause of the development of breast cancer. However, there are some identified habits and lifestyle patterns, which increase the risk of development of breast cancer. These could be managed to reduce the risk of development of breast cancer:

Maintain a healthy BMI with a moderate to an intense workout plan for 4 hours per week.

  1. Eat vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.
  2. Quit alcohol and/or smoking
  3. If possible, breastfeed for a year
  4. Emergency contraceptive pills have severe side effects, avoid them. Also, try and avoid birth control pills after the age of 35 years.
  5. If there is a family history, plan for regular screening.

Treatment Available Breast Cancer:

Modern medicine looks towards allopathy to provide proper treatment for breast cancer. However, India has recognized alternative treatment approaches for diseases too. This, in turn, means that scientists in India are looking at more than one option of imagining treatment. Here is a comprehensive list of all major treatment options for breast cancer:

Mainstream/Modern Medicine:

A good treatment plan for breast cancer depends on many things like the stage, the grade of cancer, the size of the tumor or lack of it, hormone reception and so on. Breast cancer treatment should be planned in detail with a health care provider. The doctor prepares a treatment plan from one or more the options mentioned below:

  • Surgery:

Surgery is performed to remove the cancerous parts from the body. In cases, where cancer has spread but does not indicate the formation of a lump, the entire breast, or entire affected area is removed. However, where there is a formation and development of a lump, the lump and its nearby tissues are removed, to save the entire breast.

  • Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy are a set of drugs used to kill cancer cells by inhibiting their growth. The treatment process is painful and chemotherapy has many side effects like nausea, hair loss, fatigue and so on.

  • Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy is the process by which the affected area is subjected to high energy waves, which kill off the cancer cells.

  • Hormonal Therapy:

Hormone therapy inhibits the ability of hormones like estrogen in contributing the growth of cancer cells. Side effects may include dryness in the vagina.

  • Targeted Therapy:

Targeted therapy is a form of immunotherapy. The body is exposed to certain chemicals which strengthen the immune system in killing off the cancer cells.

Ideally, surgery is followed by a mix of any of the therapies mentioned. This post surgery treatment is planned to kill off any leftover cancerous cells.

Also Read: Four Best Cancer Treatment Hospitals In Mumbai


Homeopathy was introduced by Dr. Hahnemann who believed that “same cancels same”. Over the years, homeopathy has been subjected to severe criticisms from medical practitioners. Despite the claims that homeopathy is placebo medical treatment, the medicine has flourished in India. This support led to the path-breaking revelations made public by the Banerji Protocol. This experimental cancer treatment, recorded studies of patients, who displayed complete cancer regression with homeopathic medicine.

In 2012, the American Homeopath, in its 8th volume, published a detailed compilation of several such successful experiments. This report and discussion were compiled by Dr. Mueller, who concluded, that low concentration homeopathic drugs, do have a negating effect on cancer cells. He also asserted that more and more patients are now turning towards alternative medicine to prevent the damaging side effects of mainstream treatment.

A simple search on the internet would present a patient with names of many homeopathic drugs, claimed to cure cancer. We are not naming any drugs here, because homeopathic treatment is highly individual. Thus, one drug cannot be subscribed to every case.

Please consult a homeopathic doctor, before taking any medication.


Ayurvedic treatment focuses on healing the body as a whole. However, it seems like breast cancer has no name or recognition in Ayurveda. This does not mean that Ayurvedic/Herbal remedies cannot be used to treat breast cancer. Ideally, herbal and mainstream treatment can be mixed together. Herbal medicines can focus on building the body’s strength and endurance of mainstream medicines. Some of the popular natural ingredients prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to help deal with breast cancer include Asparagus, Ashwagandha, Amla, Curcumin, Guggul, and Giloy.

Also Read: Proven and Surprising Health Benefits of Ashwagandha


Yoga may not be a treatment option for breast cancer but Yoga can help build the body’s strength and stamina post breast cancer treatment. Yoga is an intense yet relaxing exercise routine, which means that yoga reduces stress as well as weight. Both of which have been named as causes for the development of breast cancer in women. Stress can even lead to a relapse of cancer in the human body. There are several yogic poses, which can help improve breast health as well as immunity. Consult a yoga instructor for the correct procedure, breathing pattern, and duration for practising these poses.

Breast Cancer in Men:

Male breast cancer is a rare form of cancer and adds up to almost 1% of all breast cancer cases reported. Generally, men above the age of 60 years are at risk of developing male breast cancer. Since the disease is rare, there is very little to no research done on the disease. However, according to one proposed study at NCBI, USA the instances of male breast cancer are increasing and need to be studied.

SymptomsRisk Factor
Formation of LumpsGenetic: Presence of male breast cancer in a close relative like father or brother.
Changes in Nipples like inversion or crustingKlinefelter’s Syndrome: Baby boy is born with higher levels of estrogen than normal.
Positive Estrogen Receptor Status
Genetic Mutation

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Since male breast cancer is a very rare disease, diagnosis through physical examination is rare. Most of the times, the lumps would be assumed as something other than cancer.

Therefore, accurate diagnostic tests include biopsy, ultrasound, and mammography.

The treatment plan for male breast cancer is similar to those for breast cancer in women, that is surgery, followed by chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Breast Cancer Myths:

Myth: Breast cancer is hereditary.

Fact: Only 1/3rd of all breast cancer cases are hereditary. Breast cancer can develop in anyone, however, women with a family history of breast cancer through generations or in close relatives are at a higher risk. This in no way means that other people cannot have breast cancer.

Myth: Breast cancer is caused by breastfeeding.

Fact: Women who breastfeed may feel lumps on their breasts but those lumps are caused by other factors or infection. In fact, development of breast cancer who breastfeed is rare, only about 3% cases of breast cancer are of women who breastfeed.

Myth: A body that carries BRCA genes can develop breast cancer.

Fact: All bodies carry the BRCA gene as they help in the multiplication of essential cells. When the BRCA gene is mutated, it causes breast cancer. The cause of this mutation is unknown, thus everyone is susceptible to breast cancer.

Myth: Deodorants, Bras, Cellphones, Hair Colour cause breast cancer.

Fact: There is no scientific proof available that deodorants, bras, cell phones or chemicals in hair dyes cause breast cancer.

Myth: All breast cancer patients find a lump during self-evaluation.

Fact: While the most common breast cancer is where a patient may find a lump, it is not true for all breast cancer cases. In fact, in some cases, the breast feels normal, but cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes.

Myth: Breast cancer cannot develop before or after a certain age.

Fact: Breast cancer can develop at any age, though it is rare, there have been cases of breast cancer development in teenagers as young as 13 years old, to women as old as 90 years old.

Myth: Men can’t get breast cancer.

Fact: It is rare but men can and do develop breast cancer, although the population at risk is beyond 60 years of age.

News on Breast Cancer:

Study Proves Over Sleeping Causes Breast Cancer

– 23rd Nov 2018

A recent study by the University of Bristol found that people who get up early had lower risks of breast cancer than that of nocturnal people. The study also stated that sleeping early and getting up early can lower your risks of developing breast cancer. The study was presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in 2018 the research question that built this research was on an investigation of whether the sleeping position of a person can cause breast cancer. However, the study further found causal relationships between sleeping for longer hours and breast cancer.

Though these causal relations between the two were identified, that women who slept for more than seven to eight hours had higher risks of developing cancer or any other disease every extra hour of sleep. Also, those people who slept early and had woken up early had lower risks of developing breast cancer.

However, researchers of this study believe that they have certain implications that may impact the sleep habits of the general population and lower the risks of women having breast cancer. Since nocturnal working is associated with worse physical and mental health, the study proves that even oversleeping can be dangerous, especially for women and this lead to breast cancer.

Breast Cancer May Increase the Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency:

The Menopause, recently posted the results of a study conducted by Machado, Murilo R.M., et al. from Botucatu Medical School, Sau Paulo University. The study was designed to understand the impact of postmenopausal breast cancer on vitamin D deficiency. The group of researchers studied a group of over 200 postmenopausal women from Brazil, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and were seeking help. The researchers were not only trying to understand the impact breast cancer has on vitamin D levels in the body, but also on obesity.

A normal level of vitamin D was set and samples were taken. The researchers revealed that not only postmenopausal women with breast cancer showed signs of more signs of weight gain and obesity than the control group.

Similarly, postmenopausal women with breast cancer also showed 1.5 times higher risk of displaying a deficiency in Vitamin D levels. The explanation being that maybe Vitamin D helps deter the progress of cancer, leading to lower levels of vitamin D in the body. However, the researchers remained inconclusive on the role vitamin D may have on the incidence of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Can Be Caused By Air Pollution:

– 24th July 2018

Canadian scientists conducted tests with over 90,000 women in Canada and discovered that young women living in highly polluted areas are more prone to developing breast cancer. Scientists believed that air pollution either makes the breasts denser or activates the gene mutation which leads to breast cancer. Scientists have been suggesting green and fresh foods, along with exercise for women to prevent the development of breast cancer in them. The bigger solution obviously would be reducing air pollution but that is a distant dream.

It seems that developing countries, especially, India should take this study and threat seriously. In recent years, Delhi has become one of the most polluted cities in India, leading to several breathing disorders in its citizens. A fire in a garbage yard in Mumbai had choken it for almost a week. Other metro cities, even Bangalore are choking up faster than one could think of clearing the air. This couples with India’s population burden, especially, with the average age being less than 35 years, put Indian women at a huge risk of developing breast cancer at an epidemic rate.

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