Cancer, also termed as a malignant tumor, is a group of diseases characterized by the abnormal cell growth with a power to spread to other parts of the body. Not every tumor is cancer; remember that, the possible signs and symptoms of cancer include sudden swelling, abnormal breathing, endless coughing, unexplained weight loss etc. There are various types of cancer that affect the human body such as blood cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, bone cancer, adrenal cancer etc. In this article, we will discuss breast cancer. More specifically, what the various factors associated with it are.
It is the development of cancer from the breast tissues. The signs associated with it are a lump in the breast, a change in the breast shape, skin dimpling, ejection of fluids from nipples, or a red scale patch of the skin. On the long term the sufferer may have bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, problem in breathing and yellow skin. The risk factors of breast cancer include obesity, lack of physical exercise, consumption of alcohol, ionizing radiation, hormone replacement therapy during menopause and also having children at a late age or not at all. Many recent studies prove that in 5-10% of breast cancer cases, the cancer is inherited from a person’s parents. This cancer generally develops in cells from the milk ducts lining and the lobules which supplies the milk. There are two types of cancer development; one is from ducts known as ductal carcinomas and the other one from the lobules, termed as lobular carcinomas.
Recent studies prove how exosomes released by tumor cells contain protein and micro RNA (mRNA) molecules which are capable of transforming neighboring cells into tumor cells.
What are Exosomes?
Exosomes are basically the small vesicles ejected by all cells. They contain proteins, messenger RNAs and micro RNAs. At the start, it was thought that it only functioned as cellular waste warehouse, but in recent studies it has been proven that it could have an important role as a messenger between cells and many groups. It can also play an important role in the treatment of various diseases, including cancer.
Exosomes from tumor cells of breast cancer are different in size and composition from healthy body cells. According to Alberto Villanueva, who is the head of the research group of chemo resistance and predictors of tumor response and stoma environment, “The tumor exosomes contain specific proteins such as TRBP, Dicer and Ago2, are able to process mRNAs that can change the normal cells into the tumoral cells?” However, this transformation depends upon the Dicer protein that can behave as a marker for the existence of tumor cells or as a therapeutic agent.
Human Samples And Mice Sample
The researchers have performed the isolation of exosomes from tumors and from the blood of the patient suffering from blood cancer, and also from mice blood with human tumors grown after breast implantation in mice.
Classification of the Breast Cancer
The breast cancer is classified into the following categories. The description includes these factors.
- Histopathology – The breast cancer is classified chiefly by its histological presence. The breast cancer is derived from the lining of ducts or lobules, and known as ductal or lobular cancer.
- Grade – Grading means the comparison of the breast cancer cells to the normal breast cells. Normal cells in breast can be differentiated based upon shapes and forms that show their function as part of that organ while cancerous cells lose this differentiation.
Stage – It is based on the size of the tumor, whether the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes present in the armpits or not. The larger size, nodal spread and metastasis have a larger stage number and a worse diagnosis. The various stages are:
- Pre-cancerous stage.
- Within the breast or lymph nodes stage.
- Metastatic cancer stage which has a less chance of diagnosis.
- Receptor Status – The receptors present on the surface and in the cytoplasm and nucleus of the breast cancer cells. The cancer cells may or may not have three important receptors; estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2.
- DNA assays – The DNA testing of various types including the DNA microarrays have compared both normal cells and breast cancer cells. The particular change in the breast cancer can be used to classify the cancer in many ways, may help in selecting the most relevant treatment for that DNA type.
How can we Prevent Breast Cancer?
The most important and common question is: how can we reduce the risk of breast cancer. If the women maintain a healthy diet which results in a healthy weight, consume less alcohol, perform exercise and breastfeed their children properly, chances of breast cancer can be reduced. The advantages of proper exercise such as jogging and walking are observed at all age groups including the postmenopausal state.
A number of people advise that removal of the breasts which has been diagnosed with the lump or lesions, but the proof or evidence is not strong enough to support this painful procedure in any case except those with the highest risk. Selective estrogen receptor modulator such as tamoxifen, reduces the chances of breast cancer, but also increases the risk of thromboembolism and endometrial cancer. The benefits of breast cancer reduction continue for the five years after completing the course of treatment with these medications.
How can we Treat Breast Cancer?
What if someone is suffering from breast cancer and that person needs treatment? Below are the modes of treatment available to patients in different breast cancer stages:
- Surgery – It includes the physical removal or extraction of the tumor, along with some of the surrounding tissues. The procedure is known as mastectomy, and it also includes a biopsy of one or more lymph nodes during the surgery. The removal of the whole breast is known as mastectomy, removal of quarter of the breast is known as quadrantectomy, and only the small part is known as lumpectomy.
- Medication – The drugs which are used after and with the surgery are known as adjuvant therapy. The aspirin used may reduce the mortality from breast cancer.
- Radiation – It is administered after the surgery to the space of the tumor bed and lymph nodes, in order to destroy the microscopic tumor cells that may have survived the surgery. Radiation can decrease the risk of reoccurrence by 50-70% when done with correct dose and combined with suitable medications.
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