The female breast is secondary sexual characteristic. It is regarded by the society as a symbol of feminity, beauty and eroticism. The size, shape and appearance differ from one women to another.
The following are the 20 facts about female breast and breast cancer are;
1. The female breast consists mainly of 15-20 lobes of milk-secreting glands embedded in tissue. The ducts have their outlet in the nipple, which is surrounded by the areola, the dark circular pigmented area.
2. The breast contains no muscle, but bands of fine ligaments that weave between the fat and lobules are attached to the skin and determine the breast’s height and shape.
3. The skin over the breast is somewhat smoother, thinner, and more translucent than over much of the rest of the body.
4. The areola contains sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles.
5. The nipple is very sensitive to touch; contraction of its muscle fibres result in erection, which is a sign of sexual arousal or cold.
6. The size and shape vary during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation and after menopause.
7. In most women, the left breast is usually slightly larger than the right.
8. Breasts normally grow for about two to four years after a girl gets her first period.
9. Breast cancer is the second deadliest cancer for women.
Lung cancer is the first.
10. Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by watching their weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding or limiting menopausal hormone replacement therapy.
11. The state with the highest incidence of breast cancer is Massachusetts. According the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 139.5 new cases per 100,000 female residents in the state.
12. The state with the lowest incidence of breast cancer is Arkansas. The CDC reports 101.9 new cases per 100,000 female residents.
14. Ancient Egyptians were the first to document the disease, more than 3,500 years ago.
15. The first radical mastectomy was performed in the late 1800s by William S. Halsted, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins and champion of newly discovered anesthetics.
16. In 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act,
which ensures that a woman’s health plan that covers mastectomy surgery must cover all stages of reconstruction to both the breast with cancer and the breast without cancer, if desired.
17. One in eight women will eventually be diagnosed with breast cancer.
18. Physicians determine the stage of a cancer at the time of diagnosis in order to create a treatment plan and determine the patient’s prognosis.
19. The staging of breast cancer defines the size of the tumor and extent of spread of a cancer. Stage I is a tumor up to 2 cm in diameter with negative lymph nodes. Stage II is a 2 to 5 cm tumor and positive nodes. Stage III is a less than 5 cm tumor, which may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or the chest wall. Stage IV is when the tumor has spread to distant sites.
20. There are several medical terms for breast. Mamm-o as in mammography; mast-o as in mastectomy; maz-o as in “amazon, ” which means “without a breast,” like the Amazon female warriors of Brazil who legendarily cut off their breasts for improved ability to shoot their bows.
British Medical Association
Ganong textbook of medical physiology