Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most universal cancer found among women. It is a major health problem in many parts of the world especially prevalent in developed countries.
As a result of large-scale screening of women considered at higher risk, a greater number of breast cancers have been ascertained and dealt in recent years, even in cases where the women underwent no symptoms. About 1,82,000 to 2,00,000 women are afflicted by the cancer each year in the US alone and around 43,300 of them die. One in eight women either have catch breast cancer in her lifetime. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 19,000 new cases are diagnosed in Canada each year, and 5,300 Canadian women die from the disease annually. The rate of incidence increases with age and women 75 years and older are at the highest risk. There has been a lot of breast cancer research and scientists are learning more about detecting and treating it.
The survival rate of women has also increased significantly as compared to earlier times. Breast cancer usually has four stages starting from zero.
Stage Zero: Cancer cells are present in the lining of a breast lobule or a duct but havenâ€™t spread to the surrounding tissues.
Stage One: Tumours are very small and measure less than two centimetres.
Stage Two: Tumours measure between two and five centimetres and the lymph nodes may come under the influence of the tumour. The cancer hasnâ€™t diffused to any other part of the body.
Stage Three: Tumours are larger than five centimetres and the lymph nodes are usually influenced, but still no signs of the cancer spreading.
Stage Four: Breast tumours can be of any size. The lymph nodes are affected and the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.