Breast Cancer – Symptoms & Causes

Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. This excess growth of cells spreads around the tissue surrounding them. As a result, the body mechanism of that part stops working. This abnormal growth of cells forms a tumor. A tumor can develop in any part of the body. When tumors develop in the breast it is termed Breast Cancer.

So, Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. To understand breast cancer, one should know the structure of the breast. A breast has lobules, ducts, and connective tissues. Milk is produced in the glands called the lobules. This milk is transported to the nipple through tubes called the ducts. These lobules and ducts are surrounded by the connective tissues that hold everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.

The kind of breast cancer depends upon the cells in which it develops. 80% of the breast cancers are ductal carcinomas, i.e. they begin in milk ducts, and approximately 10% of them are lobular carcinomas, i.e. develop in the lobes or the milk-producing glands.


Symptoms of Breast Cancer –

Since people’s bodies react differently, the symptoms of breast cancer can also be different with each individual. Therefore, there are no sure symptoms for breast cancer. There are times that the patient may not have any symptoms, yet be suffering from the disease.

One of the most common or recognized symptoms of breast cancer

  • Development of a lump or mass in the breast or the underarm. This is one of the earliest signs to check for this disease. That’s why monthly breast exams are so important.


Some other underlying warnings that should not go unnoticed are as follows –

  • Change in the breast size or shape – This can happen due to the thickening of certain tissues inside the breast, causing swelling or enlargement of the breast size.
  • Difference in the nipple appearance – There might be differences like swelling, inversion, pulling in either or both of the nipples, or a change in its color.
  • The skin may seem to be peeling off or flaking.
  • Visible changes in the skin texture – The skin may develop dimpling or redness in the nipple area of the breast. Or, the color of the skin may have changed.
  • The breasts may feel irritated or itchy – There might be a feeling of itchiness or dryness on the breast. They might even feel hard or warm to the touch.
  • Discharge from nipples – There might be a discharge from the nipples that is not milk. This discharge can be of blood also.
  • Breast Pain – There might be a sensation of pain in some particular part of the entire breast area.


It is not necessary to develop these symptoms. Also, the experience of any of these symptoms does not confirm breast cancer. It can be due to a reason other than cancer, like eczema, infection, etc.
So it is always advisable to consult a doctor before drawing any conclusions.


Causes of Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is a disease not caused by lack or deficiency of any particular thing. There can be
different reasons for developing this disease. It can be because of the genes inherited, the
environment we live in, or the kind of lifestyle we live, or even a combination of all the above.
The reasons that can act as a contributing factor to this disease are

  • Natural Reasons – There are some natural reasons which are out of control of anyone’s hands
    such as –
    • Gender – Females are more prone to develop breast cancer than men.
    • Start of periods – Women whose periods started at a younger age, less than 12, have
      a higher risk of breast cancer.
    • Menopause – If early periods increase the risk of breast cancer, so does delay in
      menopause. The right age of menopause is around the age of 52.
  • Age – The risk of breast cancer increases with aging. As you grow, the chances of breast
    cancer increase. Studies reveal that 80% of the cases of breast cancer occurs in women who
    are over 50.
    • Breast Density – Breast Density is the ratio of the breast tissue in comparison to the
      fat tissues in the breasts. The higher the breast density, the higher is the risk of
      breast cancer.
    • Family History – If there had been any breast cancer diagnosis in your immediate
      family, like mother, sister, or even daughter, your chances of breast cancer also
      increase. In most cases detected, they didn’t have any family history.
  • Style of Living – A lot depends on the way one lives. Living a sedentary life, with no or very
    little physical activity increases the risk of breast cancer. Obesity, drinking, smoking are also factors
    that may increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Some other reasons
    • Exposure to radiations
    • No, or a delayed, pregnancy (first child past the age of 30 years)