According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence rate of breast cancer in Indonesia reaches up to 40 cases per 100,000 population in 2012.
There are two types of breast cancer namely invasive and non-invasive breast cancer. Invasive breast cancer may spread to other body parts. The invasion occurs through the lymph gland (a small gland useful to filter out bacteria from the body) or bloodstream.
About 80% of breast cancer diagnosis shows that invasive breast cancer occurs to the milk ducts. This figure makes it the most common type of breast cancer. Other types of invasive cancer includes lobular invasive breast cancer which begins on the milk-producing glands (lobules), inflammatory breast cancer, and Paget' s disease of the breast. These types of cancer are also known as secondary or metastatic breast cancer.
Non-invasive breast cancer is mostly found through mammography as it rarely shows lump or oftentimes is referred to as "pre-cancer" . It is benign in nature, develops in the breast ducts, and does not spread to other body parts.
Symptoms: Painful sensation on the breast or armpit occurs outside the period cycle. Lump or thickening breast skin as well as nipple discharge (usually accompanied by blood discharge). Other symptoms include change in size of one or both breasts, change on nipples shape, as well as puckering breast skin. The patient may also feel itchiness and find rashes around the nipple. Lumps or swelling may also be found on the underarm.
Causes: The root cause of breast cancer still remains unknown. Each patient may develop the condition out of various reasons. One of the risk factors is having nuclear family (mother, older sibling, younger sibling, or child) suffering from breast or ovarian cancer. However, generally breast cancer is not a hereditary disease. It is caused by specific genetic mutation known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 increasing the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. In such condition, the types of cancer may be passed on to the children.
Cancer risk level may also increase along with the aging. Women aged above 50 and having experienced menopause are vulnerable to breast cancer. Women suffering from obesity after experiencing menopause are also at greater risk of developing breast cancer as they are exposed to increased estrogen production. Additionally, research found that the risk of developing cancer is three times higher on alcoholic beverage consumers.
Diagnosis: necessary measures to take to find out whether a woman is suffering from breast cancer are:
- Mammography. To detect the presence of cancer
- USG. To find out whether the lump on the breast is solid or contains liquid
- Biopsy, breast cells sampling and examination to discover whether or not the cells are cancerous. During this procedure, biopsy specimen will also be examined to determine if the cells are cancerous, their malignancy, as well as the reaction to hormones.