Breast Cancer in Children: A Growing Concern for Future Generations
Breast cancer in children is a growing concern. Early detection and parental vigilance are vital in safeguarding our future generation.
Children, regardless of gender, hold the key to our future. While breast cancer awareness among adults has rapidly spread worldwide, the detection of this disease in children is a recent development. Vigilance and careful observation by parents are essential to protect children from breast cancer.
Breast Cancer in Children: Breast cancer is a disease caused by malignant (cancerous) cells in the breast, and it can affect both boys and girls.
Initial Condition: In children, fibroadenomas are commonly detected in the early stages.
Fibroadenomas are usually benign and non-cancerous lumps or rope-like formations in the breast. They consist of glandular and connective tissue and are typically felt on the outer surface of the breast. Although women in their 20s to 50s are at higher risk, this symptom can be experienced by women of all ages. There is a potential risk of cancer if fibroadenomas transform into phyllodes tumors.
Recently, fibroadenomas have also been identified in children, but no cases have been recorded in Bangladesh so far.
Understanding Phyllodes Tumors:
Phyllodes tumors are formed due to abnormal cell division and can grow rapidly, becoming cancerous. They are considered a special form of fibroadenomas (malignant form). Fortunately, 75% of women with fibroadenomas are cured and avoid breast cancer, but 1 in 4 cases may develop phyllodes tumors later.
Note on Fibroadenomas:
It is essential to recognize that fibroadenomas are not cancerous; they merely serve as an early sign. Therefore, it is incorrect to assume that someone has breast cancer solely based on the presence of fibroadenomas. However, in very rare cases, fibroadenomas can grow rapidly and become large phyllodes tumors, leading to breast cancer.
Breast cancer in children can develop through three stages:
- Tissue Stage
- Lymphatic System Stage
- Blood Stage
Cancer spreads rapidly through these three stages.
Factors Leading to Breast Cancer in Children:
Breast cancer in children can originate from cancer cells elsewhere in the body. For example, if a child has leukemia, cancer cells can travel through the blood or lymph to the area around the breast and later develop into breast cancer. Additionally, breast cancer cells may spread to the bone, appearing as "bone marrow cancer," a process known as metastasis. Children who have had other cancer cells in their bodies since childhood are at a higher risk of developing this disease.
Children at Greater Risk of Breast Cancer:
- Children who have exhibited previous signs or symptoms of cancer.
- Children whose mothers had breast cancer, as it can be genetically transmitted through BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes.
- Children who have previously received radiation therapy for another cancer are also at greater risk.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Children:
- Lumps (a kind of wheel) under or next to the breast.
- Inward breast lumps.
- Appearance of dimples (orange in color) on the breast skin.
- Skin turning red.
- Bleeding from the nipple.
It is important to note that in many cases, not all these symptoms may be present, and research is ongoing to explore various manifestations.
Several diagnostic methods can aid in early detection:
- Family history: Genetic transmission of breast cancer can occur from mother to child through BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes.
- Physical examination: Mothers with knowledge of breast health can assist in self-examinations.
- MRI (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Provides accurate visualization.
- Ultrasound: Used for identifying cancer cells via the sonogram method.
- PET Scan: Identifies cancer cells based on the body's metabolism rate.
- X-ray of the chest.
- Biopsy: Involves taking cells from a potential site for laboratory observation.
- Mammography: Special X-ray for detecting abnormal changes and presence of lumps in the breast.
- Close observation of fibroadenomas to monitor for any transformation into phyllodes tumors. If required, surgically remove the tumor from the breast.
- Radiation therapy.
- Measures to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Avoid self-medication based on online medical advice, as it can be dangerous. Consult expert doctors for proper monitoring and tests. Specialist doctors should be consulted to avoid any potential risks associated with breast cancer. Raising awareness and parental vigilance can help protect the future generation from breast cancer.
What's Your Reaction?