Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women. It is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in women.Breast cancer is rarely found in men. With increased awareness and early detection, cases of breast cancer have been coming down over the years. Consult the best gynecologist in Noida.
What is breast cancer?
It is the cancer of mammary glands. Cells of mammary glands proliferate abnormally to form a lump or tumour. If not treated it will travel to other parts of the body and proliferate at different sites; this is called as metastasis. The spread is common from one breast to another breast, to lymph nodes. Different types of breast cancer spread at different speed.
Symptoms of breast cancer:
At an early stage, no symptoms can be seen. First indication is a lump or mass in the breast, one can feel it with hands. Other symptoms may include:
- Thickened or hard mass present in your breast
- Change in size or shape of breast
- Change in size or shape of the nipples
- Any form of discharge from nipples
- Red patch around breast or nipples, any skin inflammation
- Any growth in or near under arms
- Peeling, flaking, or scaling of skin in any part of the breast.
What are the causes behind breast cancer?
Genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in the occurrence of breast cancer.
Genetic or inherited breast cancer: Breast cancer is inherited from mother or from maternal relatives. Women with familial history of breast cancer are at higher risk to develop breast cancer.
Nongenetic factors: It may include menstrual or reproductive history of a female, alcohol intake, body mass index, physical activity.
A woman taking birth control pills over the years, or on hormonal therapy for more than five years for the treatment of menopause, women with no pregnancy, girls who have started their menstruation cycle early, women with early menopause, and 50 plus age group of women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Sedentary lifestyle and obesity are another risk factor for developing breast cancer. Women with more breast tissue are more prone to breast cancer. Alcohol consumption and abnormal dietary habits have been found to be causative factors in breast cancer. Consult the best gynecologist in Noida.
How to prevent breast cancer?
Keep your weight in control.
Follow a daily exercise routine.
Avoid consumption of alcohol.
Frequent screening of breast through mammography: women after 40 years of age should do mammograms annually.
Regular breast examination by yourself as well as from gynaecologist if you are genetically susceptible or in presence of any other predisposing factor.
Breastfeeding is the best way to control estrogen which is known to be a causative factor in breast cancer.
Types of breast cancers:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ
- Lobular carcinoma in situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
- Medullary carcinoma
- Mucinous carcinoma
- Adenoid cystic carcinoma
- Papillary carcinoma
- Tubular carcinoma
- Paget’s disease of the breast
Pregnancy associated breast cancer: Pregnancy associated breast cancer (PABC) is breast cancer occurring during pregnancy or within the first 1-2 years postpartum. Delay in diagnosis is common. Treatment is initiated during pregnancy. Surgery and chemotherapy are considered safe after the first trimester. Radiation, anti–HER-2, and endocrine therapy are considered after delivery due to adverse effects to the baby.
Diagnosis breast cancer:
When a woman suspects any mass in breast, she should consult a doctor. Doctor will perform a physical examination of any abnormal tissue in the breast. Doctors will advise imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Mammogram:It is a primary screening test for detection of breast cancer. If doctors suspect false images sometimes, other investigations are performed.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound will show the difference between a solid lump and a fluid filled cyst.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It helps by producing different images to get clearer pictures about tumours or abnormalities in the breast.
Biopsy: A piece of tissue is taken from the abnormal growth and sent to the laboratory for further testing. It confirms which type of breast cancer is developing. Type, size, and site of spread will determine treatment options.
Treatment of breast cancer:
Treatment of cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.
There are several types of surgery depending on the size and location of the tumour. Breast cancer surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. A breathing tube is inserted into your nose and throat. Types of breast surgeries:
Lumpectomy: The tumour or lump is removed along with some of the normal tissue around it.
Mastectomy: The entire breast is removed during a modified radical mastectomy. The entire breast along with some of the lymph nodes inside the underarm and surrounding tissue are removed.
Radiation therapy: In this therapy radiation is used to kill the cancer cells or keep them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a beam machine outside the body that aims radiation at the cancer. Internal radiation therapy also known as brachytherapy uses a radioactive implant or different devices that gives off radiation inside your breast. Sometimes doctors advise radiation therapy after surgical removal of the tumour.
Chemotherapy: After removal of the tumour, chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given to the whole body or sometimes only to the required area.
Hormone therapy: Another alternative treatment is hormonal therapy used after surgery to avoid recurrence of the cancer. Hormones are substances found naturally in the human body. Body uses Oestrogen mainly for the growth and development of the uterus, breast, and ovaries. However, tumour cells have receptors for the hormone oestrogen (ER-positive cancers) or progesterone (PR-positive cancers) which helps tumour cells grow and proliferate. Hormone therapy blocks oestrogen/ progesterone from binding to breast cancer cells so it cannot cause cancer cells to grow. Consult the best gynecologist in Noida.
Targeted therapy: Drugs in targeted therapy reach all parts of the body through bloodstream, so help in preventing growth at other areas of the body. The cells of breast cancer have a growth promoting protein HER-2. HER-2 positive breast cancer grows fast as compared to other breast cancer. Targeted drugs attack HER-2 and prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Immunotherapy: It is also known as Immuno oncology. Immunotherapy is self-induction of the body’s own immune cells to destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs are used in some forms of breast cancer to shrink the size of the tumour.
Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy medications should be taken as per the prescription. These medications and radiation therapy have side effects; doctors should be consulted for new developed side effects. Long term follow-up and screening is required in breast-cancer survivors.
The good news is breast cancer is treatable when diagnosed early and patients can get back to normal life. To know more about breast cancer, book your appointment in Shivalik Hospital, Noida.