The breast is made up fat, ducts, lobules, blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lobules produce the milk which is then carried by small tubes (ducts) into about 12 to15 bigger tubes (ducts) which open into the surface through the nipple.
Both breasts in women are usually unequal and even the sizes vary with the period of the monthly cycle; they are a bit bigger and slightly painful about a week to the menstrual period.
The breast has its share of blood vessels and lymph vessels, while every one hears about blood vessels, only a few really hear about lymph vessels but they are very important. They form part of the system in the body that fights against all forms of diseases including cancer. The lymph vessels carry lymph which a clear fluid from the breast tissue to lymph nodes in the armpit and these nodes could become swollen when there is infection or cancer involving the breast. 

BREAST CANCER1. Q. What is breast cancer?
    A. As said above, the breast is made up of fat, lobules and ducts among others. Most of the breast cancers result from abnormal growth of cells of the lobules and ducts. In a few cases the abnormal growth may be from the fat and connective tissue.
The cells in our breasts like in other parts of the body are always replacing themselves, new cells being produced as the old ones die off; this is done in a balanced way by genes within the cells. 
However this balancing mechanism can fail resulting in more cells being produced than required resulting in a swelling or tumor. If the cells are normal and do not destroy other organs around them, then the tumor is not harmful and not cancerous. However if the cells are abnormal and invade nearby organs, then the tumor is cancerous.  

breastcancer12. Q.  How common is breast cancer?
A. Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women, with over one million women developing breast cancer world-wide every year.
While it also affects men, the number is quite small compared to women. In the developed world where records are better kept, it is one in nine women is likely to develop cancer in her life time. 


breastcancer23.  Q. How likely am I to get breast cancer?
A. There are several risk factors associated with breast cancer, a risk factor is something that increases one’s chance of developing a disease. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age and off course with sex (female). Other risk factors include previous treatment for cancer in one breast, family history of breast cancer, lack of breast feeding, age of first delivery, race (less common in black women) and consumption of hormones for a long time.     


breast cancer test4.  Q. How can I prevent breast cancer?
      A. Breast cancer can be prevented in the following ways:
            a. Healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables with minimal fat intake
            b. Regular exercise
            c. Moderate alcohol intake
            d. No smoking
            e. Maintaining appropriate weight
            f. Oestrogen binding drugs
            g. Removal of the breasts


breastcancer35.  Q. When do I get screened for breast cancer?
A. Women aged above 40 years are advised to do screening by mammogram every three years, but it is okay at 50 years and above. The exposure to x-ray is quite harmless and it helps to pick up breast cancer very early.


breastcancr6.  Q. What are the benefits of screening?
A. The benefits of screening include early detection and treatment. Several lives are saved yearly through screening.  


breast feeding7.  Q. Is there any relationship between breast feeding and breast cancer?
A. There is a slight advantage in breast feeding a baby, more in women who breast fed at early age and for a long time. They are less likely to develop breast cancer.

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