Cancer is quickly becoming a pandemic. It is a condition which a group of cells exhibit abnormal and uncontrolled growth. It can also spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream called metastasizing or simply invade other parts if it gets large enough. These aspects differentiate cancers from benign tumors which do not metastasize or invade. Cancer may affect people of all ages – even fetuses can have cancer and causes 13% of all human deaths.
One particular cancer frequently occurs with women: Breast cancer. Although it is closely associated with women, there have been accounts of men having breast cancer as well. The occurrence of breast cancer in women is 100% more likely than that of males however survival rates are equal for both sexes.
Women in the United States have the highest occurrences of breast cancer in the world. Among women in the US, it is the most common cancer and the second most cause of cancer death second to lung cancer. The chances of an American female developing cancer are a staggering 1 out of 8. And the chances of death are 1 out of 35.
The first symptom of breast cancer is a lump that somehow feels different from the surrounding breast tissue. 80% of its occurrences are discovered by women when they feel an abnormal lump when performing self-checks. However medically, the first signs of cancer are detected by a physician via a mammogram. It is best to consult with a doctor when your self checks show positive indications of growth or dimpling in the breasts.
Other signs include changes in breast shape or size, dimples or indentations in the skin, nipple inversion or spontaneous discharge. Pain might also be an indicator of breast cancer although it is not always the case. Pain may also indicate other breast related illnesses like Paget’s disease. Sometimes cancer becomes metastatic. This means that the cancer has spread beyond the original organ from which it originates via the bloodstream. There have been reports of brain tumors forming after a cancerous formation in the breast metastasized and entered the bloodstream reaching the brain.
Primary factors of breast cancer are sex, age, childbearing, hormones, a high fat diet, strong alcohol intake and obesity. Other sources are carcinogens like tobacco smoke or in some occasions, radiation. Most cancers are also hereditary. Though the cause of cancerous growths might not always be pinpointed, it is usually discovered during or after treatment. Cancer is highly unpredictable and mutations change at an exponential rate. The growth of cancer is actually a series of erratic mutations. Each mutation alters the state of the cells. This in turn may either invade other parts of the body or transfer via bloodstream. The latter being more dangerous as the metastasized cancer cell may be hard to detect once it reaches a different organ or location.
Resveratrol, a compounds found in red wine, is found to have regulated estrogen levels and prevented the growth of cancerous tissue due to hormonal imbalance. Too much estrogen in the system, whether male or female, equates to an increased risk in getting breast cancer. Estrogen metabolites form and when they react with DNA in breast cells, the risk of breast cancer increases dramatically. Because of its hormone regulating functions, resveratrol indirectly reduces the risk of having malignant growths in the breast caused by hormonal imbalance. A resveratrol concentration of 10 micromoles per liter was enough to keep estrogen metabolites from reacting with DNA. A typical glass of red wine has between 9 to 29 micromoles per liter depending on fermentation time and type of grapes used.
Resveratrol is a phytoestrogen. These are more commonly called dietary estrogens and are found in plants. There is evidence that suggests that phytoestrogens prevent the formation of breast and prostate cancers which are caused by hormonal imbalances. Cardiovascular diseases and menopausal symptoms are also regulated by the intake of phytoestrogens. Epidemiological studies have shown protective and preventive effects against breast cancer. Although there have been no reports of breast cancer patients benefiting from the intake of phyto estrogen. Resveratrol acts as a preventive measure, not a cure.