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breast-cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast start mutating and form a tumour. It’s the most common cancer in urban areas, and women between the ages of 30 to 50 are at a high risk of developing it. In most cases, cancer hasn’t diagnosed till the later stages and spread into other parts of the body.

Typically, cancer either forms in the lobules glands that produce milk or the ducts that bring the milk to the nipple. But in some cases, cancer can originate in the fatty tissues or the fibrosis connective tissues. Based on cancer’s origin and how far it has spread, breast cancer is categorized into various types:

  • Ductal carcinoma starts in the milk ducts of the breast and can spread into the surrounding tissues. It’s the most common breast cancer, which accounts for 80% of the cases.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ is a non-invasive type of cancer that is still in the early stage and hasn’t spread into the surrounding tissues. However, it can become invasive and spread in nearby tissues if left untreated.
  • Lobular carcinoma starts in the lobules and can spread into surrounding tissues. It is harder to diagnose and accounts for 10% to 15% of the cases.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ is only a marker of precancerous cell growth and can affect one or both breasts. It can be easily diagnosed with breast exams and mammograms.
  • Angiosarcoma starts in blood vessels or lymph nodes in the breast and spread into the surrounding tissues.
  • Paget disease starts in the duct of the nipple and can spread in the nipple’s skin and areola.
  • Phyllodes tumour that grows in the connective breast tissues, which may or may not turn cancerous.

Symptoms:

In the early stages, breast cancer doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, it can cause a lump in the breast and other signs, which include:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Pain in breast
  • Redness over breast skin
  • Swelling
  • Visible changes in the breast’s shape, size or appearance
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling or flaking of the skin
    • If one can feel a lump or see visible changes in their breasts, they should consult with the doctor for prompt evaluation.

      Causes:

      Cancer occurs when cells start mutating and grow abnormally. These cells divide rapidly and form a mass, which becomes cancerous. However, hormonal changes and lifestyle changes can also trigger these accumulations.

      Risk factors:

      Like most cancers, the exact causes of breast cancer is unknown. However, certain factors can significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. These factors are:

      • Ageing, women who are between the ages of 30 to 50 are more prone to breast cancer.
      • Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer.
      • Breast disorders, such as atypical hyperplasia
      • Breast implants
      • Alcohol consumption
      • Menopause
      • Hormone therapy

      Diagnosis:

      Our doctors will ask for the patient's symptoms and medical history to determine the cause or rule out other conditions. They will perform a physical exam to check for any lump or abnormalities in the breasts. If they suspect cancer, they may also recommend several diagnostic tests, which can include:

      • A mammogram to see below the breast’s skin and can help in detecting and evaluating the tumour.
      • Ultrasound can create an image of the tissue to distinguish between a tumour and a benign cyst.
      • Biopsy to remove a tissue sample from the affected area and test it for cancer.

      Treatment:

      Based on the test results and the cancer spread, our doctors develop the most effective treatment plan to remove cancer and reduce the chance of recurrence. While surgery is the most common treatment, additional treatment can also be used to improve the outcome.

      Surgery:

      Our surgeons will remove the cancerous part from the breast along with the surrounding tissues. They can implement various methods to perform the surgery, which are:

      Lumpectomy to remove the tumour and surrounding tissues, which leaves most of the breast intact.

      Mastectomy to remove all of the breast tissues along with the tumour. It is performed to treat the advanced cancers that have spread into the surrounding tissues.

      Sentinel node biopsy to take a sample from the lymph nodes and test it for cancer.

      Axillary lymph node dissection to remove the additional lymph nodes.

      Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy to surgically remove one or both breasts. It is performed to treat advanced cancer and to eliminate the risk of relapse or recurrence.

      Chemotherapy:

      In chemotherapy, our doctors will use a group of drugs to stop cancer from spreading. Cancer cells absorb the drugs faster than normal cells, thus slowing their growth. These drugs can be delivered through a vein or a catheter, depending on the stage of cancer.

      Radiation therapy:

      Our surgeon will use controlled radiation to damage or destroy the DNA of cancer cells. Our radiation oncologist will use a machine to direct the energy beams on the cancer cells. It can be used in combination with chemotherapy if surgery isn’t an option.

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