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Home >> Specialities >> Cancer Care >> Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer is listed among the top three cancers affecting women worldwide. In India, 1 out of every 28 women is at risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast Cancer can affect females, as well as males, however, it is rarely seen in the latter. The highest incidence is seen in middle-aged women, with the median age being 62. Women below 45 years of age do not fall in the high-risk category and have very little chance of developing the malignancy.

What is Breast Cancer?
The term Breast Cancer is used for any malignancy that develops from the cells that make up the breast tissue. This can happen in any part of the breast but is most likely to originate within the ducts and lobules. There are several different types of breast cancer, which are graded on a scale of 1 to 3. Inflammatory Breast Cancer and angiosarcoma happen to be the most aggressive types of Breast Cancer, whereas invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma are the most common ones. The earlier the patient is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat Cancer as it can spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and metastasize to other areas of the body as well.

What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?
The symptoms of Breast Cancer are easily noticeable and can be detected with self-examination. These include:

  • Presence of a lump on the breast or armpit 
  • Unexplained swelling in some parts of the breast 
  • Thickening of the breast tissue that appears like a mass 
  • Dimpling of the skin on the breast
  • Redness or development of flakes near the nipple
  • Unexplained pain in any part of the breast
  • Abnormal nipple discharge 
  • A visible change in the shape and size of the breast 

When should you see a Specialist?
It is advisable to see a specialist as soon as you detect any of the above-mentioned symptoms. All these just point towards the possibility of you having breast cancer but are not definitive. In order to confirm whether a patient has breast cancer or not, doctors perform some physical examinations and tests. The sooner you consult a specialist, the quicker you will be diagnosed leading to better treatment outcomes.

What causes Breast Cancer? 
Although there is no specific cause that can be pinpointed, it has been found that breast cancer is the result of mutations in the DNA of the cells found within the breast. These changes disrupt the normal growth and multiplication of the cells and make them grow at a much faster pace. The abnormal cells bind together to form a mass, known as a tumor. There are several factors that are known to cause such changes in the DNA. These include:

  • Advanced age
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of any cancer
  • Defected genes 
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals, toxins, and radiation
  • Having a high BMI 
  • Having early periods or delayed menopause
  • Not planning pregnancy early 
  • Not having a baby 
  • Going for hormone therapy after menopause

Modalities used for the diagnosis of Breast Cancer 

  • Physical examination
  • Mammogram
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Biopsy 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Treatment options available for Breast Cancer

  • Surgery (procedures like Lumpectomy, Mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, and axillary lymph nodes dissection)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted drug therapy 
  • Immunotherapy 

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