Malignant tumors, if not controlled, can lead to death. Accordingly, timely care and management of cancer is critical to survival. Numerous external and internal factors are responsible for the promotion and proliferation of cancer cells. External factors such as tobacco consumption, infectious organisms, exposure to chemicals and radiation, and poor nutrition may induce the uncontrolled propagation of cancerous cells. On the other hand, various internal features that lead to the development of cancer include genetic mutation, metabolic and hormonal alterations, and immune status. These factors may function alone or in conjunction with a combination of other factors to initiate the proliferation of cancer.
Most cancer cells eventually become a lump or a mass of cells called a tumor. Breast cancer originate in the breast tissue, which is comprised of the glands, or lobules, that produce milk, the ducts that joins the lobules to the nipple, and connective, fatty, and lymphatic tissues. Breast cancer can be detected during screening examinations well before the development of symptoms.
A mammogram detects masses or lumps in the breast and categorizes them as cancerous or noncancerous. Early detection is beneficial for the prevention of mortality due to breast cancer. When breast cancer is suspected on the basis of a mammogram report, CBE, or breast imaging, samples of breast tissue are examined using microscopic analysis in order to establish a definitive diagnosis, verify the extent of the spread of cancerous cells, and characterize the pattern of the disease Awareness of the importance of BSE and CBE during routine visits to wellness facilities plays a vital role in breast cancer screening.
Women with no family history of breast cancer are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women having affected first-degree relatives which includes ones parent, sibling, or child. This risk is increased when the first-degree relative is younger than 50 years of age. The chances increase further with a greater number of first-degree relatives that have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Research shows that screening mammography for women between 39 and 69 years of age reduces breast cancer mortality. Mammography and CBE play a vital role in breast cancer detection for susceptible populations of women. For women with a familial risk of breast cancer, regular mammograms, CBE, or BSE are recommended for those under 50.
In some cases, risk of breast cancer may not be related to family history. 64% of women aged 40 to 49 who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer denied family history of breast cancer compared to 63% who had a history of breast cancer in their family. These findings imply that family history may not be a contributory factor for breast cancer among younger women. Nevertheless, the general consensus is that woman between the ages of 40 and 50 years should have regular breast exams.
Breast cancer is considered the most prevalent non-skin cancer in females and has emerged as the second leading cause of mortality among women in United States. Although immense progress has been made in screening procedures and mammography practices for the general population, lesser screening rates are seen in various female subgroups. Breast cancer is predominantly burdensome for African American women. Statistics from 2007 to 2009 revealed that the lifetime probability of developing invasive breast cancer was lower for African American women (10.87%, or 1 in 9) compared to 12.73% (1 in 8) for European American women. On the other hand, 3.25% (1 in 31) of African American women die of breast cancer compared to 2.73% (1 in 37) of European American women. Thus, while European American women develop cancer at higher rates than African American women, the mortality rate is higher in the latter group.