Abnormal growth of the cells uncontrollably in the breast forms lumps, which may lead to tumors. It is necessary to detect and treat these as soon as possible to stop the spread of the disease to other body parts. Breast cancer can be of various types like –
- Paget’s disease
- Ductal carcinoma
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Lobular carcinoma
- Hormone receptor positive breast cancer
- Her-2 positive breast cancer
- Triple negative breast cancer
- Recurrent breast cancer
- Male breast cancer
Breast cancer symptoms
vary in all of these types of cancer. And the medical practitioner will decide the treatment plan per the type of cancer and the affected area.
In terms of visibility and awareness Breast Cancer stands head and shoulders above the rest. All over the world efforts have been made by government health departments and their counterparts in the private sector to help create awareness of Breast Cancer. The pink ribbon is now an internationally recognized symbol of Breast Cancer awareness. Traditionally tagged as a female-oriented disease (the numbers concur), there is nevertheless a significant number of men who suffer from this cancer to warrant the extension of education and awareness to the male population. There are many Signs of Breast Cancer to look out for if one is to beat this pestilence.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Unhealthy weight
- Family history
- Increasing age
- Mutation in genes brca2 and brca1
- Previous radiation exposure
- Dense breasts
- Lack of exercise
Traditionally one is advised to feel for strange lumps in the breast that look different from its surrounding tissues.. This indeed could be an indication of Breast Cancer or, as is often the case, a benign lump. There are however various other signs to look out for and schedule early screening in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
A general swelling of the breast, with or without the presence of a lump, is one such indicator. A breast discharge (other than milk) is another sign to look out for. Pain in the nipple and in the breast itself point to a mammary disorder that may (or may not) point to cancer. One should also be on the lookout for inward-turning nipples, thickening of nipple or breast skin, scaliness and redness. Enlargement of pores and change in skin texture (dimpling, for example) around the breast area are also possible Signs of Breast Cancer. Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast may point to cancerous growth.
Also, Be on the lookout too for a pain in one spot that does not go away and, sometimes, a lump in the underarm area. Change in the breast shape, size and appearance also can indicate the presence of breast cancer. It is necessary to reiterate that these changes do not necessary mean that one has Breast Cancer. They could be, indeed often are, benign breast conditions. Only a doctor can determine this.
Test To Diagnose Breast Cancer
Physical examination: Something suspicious seen in a mammogram or any changes felt in the breast calls for a physical examination. The test includes checking both breasts and lymph nodes above the collar bone and arms.
Mammogram: An application of a low-dose x-ray called a mammogram is used to find the small changes not felt during physical examination.
Ultrasound: If the mammogram picks up changes in the breast, it can necessitate an ultrasound to confirm the presence of any cancerous cells.
Biopsy: On suspicion of breast cancer, your doctor removes some breast tissue and sends it to a pathologist who checks this under a microscope for further confirmation of breast cancer.Scans: After confirmation of breast cancer, there can be a necessity for a few more scans like the CT scan or MRI scan. It will ascertain where the cancer is present in the breast and whether it has spread to other areas.
Regular self examination (checking for lumps) and mammography screenings provide a fairly accurate early warning system against Breast Cancer. In this one respect Breast Cancer differs from most cancers in that early detection is possible, making any remedial action taken that much more effective. Detecting Breast Cancer in pregnant or nursing women poses a bit of a challenge. This is a time when a woman’s breasts will naturally grow bigger and sometimes lumpy through normal hormonal changes. The breasts may also become denser making the detection of small lumps that much more difficult, even using mammography. It is therefore recommended that women examine themselves before giving birth, during pregnancy and after giving birth. The importance of Clinical Breast Exams (CBE) by a health professional during this period cannot be gainsaid.
Staging Breast Cancer
Once the doctor has detected breast cancer, it is essential to find out the stage of the cancer. Knowing which stage the cancer is helps decide the prognosis and the best available treatment options.
Then some tests are necessary to determine the stage of breast cancer. The cancer stages range from 0, which is non-invasive, to IV, which is metastatic.
The doctor may recommend all or some of these tests. Every patient has different stages, and which tests are essential is decided by the condition of the disease. The symptoms and conditions of stage 3 breast cancer vary drastically from that of stage 1. The grade of cancer, tumor markers like the her2, progesterone and estrogen receptors, and proliferation factors get considered while grading cancer.
Treatment Of Breast Cancer
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and surgery are the traditional fall-back treatments for most cancers. These methods are by their very nature intrusive and do sometimes conform (due to their debilitating effects) to that old chestnut of the cure being worse than the disease. In this age credible and efficacious alternatives do exist. Alternative or Integrative Treatments have produced positive results that bypass the ravages occasioned by the more traditional methods especially chemotherapy.
Not all cancers are curable. And there is always a chance of relapse. And many a time, even though the person is free of cancer, there can be other complications and side effects because of the treatments, like lymphodema, early menopause, hair loss, nerve pain, or mental stress and anxiety. The doctor needs to check for these and provide relevant treatments for them through other specialists.The quality of life may get degraded due to these side effects and the treatment procedures. A patient needs palliative care which helps improve the quality of life.
When the patient is young, the loss of a breast may affect mental well-being. But there is nothing to worry about when you have the process of breast prostheses. It is a synthetic breast or a part of it that the patient can wear under the clothing. It replaces the breast in part or a whole that got removed. The doctor will recommend this after the breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy to patients who are concerned about the look after losing a breast. This prosthesis has the shape and feel of a natural breast. They get attached to the skin, or the patient can wear them in special pockets made in the bra, activewear, or sleepwear.
We are always glad to discuss Integrative Treatments with you. Please get in touch and a Patient Representative will walk you through the process.