Breast cancer is a global disease and the most common type of cancer among women. According to the WHO estimates, over 1.5million women get affected each year. In 2015, it was estimated that over 570,000 women died of this disease across the globe. The risk factors of having breast cancer varies amongst women. This is due to several factors associated with the disease.
Breast cancer develops from breast tissues.
Early stage symptoms may include, change in breast shape, lump in the breast, fluid coming out from nipple of affected breast, a newly inverted nipple or a scaly patch of skin. Late stage symptoms may include shortness of breath, swollen nymph nodes, bone pain and change in skin colour.


For the majority of women presenting with breast cancer it is not possible to identify specific risk factors this is according to IARC, 2008.
Family history and mutation can result in a very high risk of breast cancer. These factors are rare and account for a small portion of the overall breast cancer burden. Other factors that may increase the risk of breast cancer includes:

  • Reproductive factors

Prolonged exposure to endogenous estrogens, such as early menarche, late menopause, late age at first childbirth can increase the risk of breast cancer. Exogenous hormones also exert an increased risk of breast cancer. People who engage in oral contraceptives and hormonal replacement therapy are at higher risk of breast cancer compared to people who do not. According to Peto 2001, the difference in  breast cancer incidence between developed and developing countries can partly be explained by dietary effects combined with late first childbirth, lower parity and shorter breastfeeding. The adoption of unhealthy western lifestyle in developing countries has also been a determinant factor in the increased level of breast cancer. Other factor that may increase the risk of breast cancer includes:

  • Acohol Use
  • Obesity
  • Overweight 
  • Poor exercise


Breast cancer control has been promoted by WHO through comprehensive national control programmes across the globe. The methods of control involves prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. Other control measures are public awareness and advocating for appropriate policies and programmes are important strategies of population-based breast cancer control.

Early detection

This is the corner stone of breast cancer control. Early detection improves breast cancer outcome and survival rate.
Methods of Early detection

  • Awareness of early signs facilitates early treatment and diagnosis.
  • Screening test which aims at identifying individuals with abnormalities related to cancer.
According to WHO research, a screening programme is more complex undertaking than early diagnosis programme.

Early diagnosis

This strategy remains an essential early detection plan, especially for developing and underdeveloped countries where the disease is diagnosed in late stages and the available resources are very limited. According to Yup, 2008. There is some evidence that this strategy can produce "Down Staging" (increasing in proportions of breast cancers detected in an early stage) to stages that are more acceptable to curative treatment.


Effective prevention of non-communicable diseases could have a positive impact in reducing the incidence of breast cancer in a long run.


Early diagnosis and prevention are the best ways to avert this deadly disease. However, when it has been developed to full scale cancer your doctor is in the best position to recommend the kind of treatment. It is advisable to go for check up at least once in every three months except your doctor says otherwise.