Breast Cancer- Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
What is breast cancer?
As the name suggests, cancer that develops in the cells of the breast is called breast cancer (tumour). It is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in women. Over the period of last few years, advanced medical facilities have helped in early detection and treatment of breast cancer, overall reducing breast cancer-related deaths.
Breast cysts are non-cancerous lumps found in one or both breasts. They are common and occur naturally due to changes in breast with aging and hormonal changes.
What are the causes of breast cancer?
Causes of breast cancer may be:
• Hereditary or family history
• Environmental triggers
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Some commonly seen signs and symptoms of breast cancer are:
- A thickening or a lump within the breast, which feels different from the neighbouring tissue
- A change in the shape, size or appearance of the breast
- Dimpling or pitting of the skin of the breast, making it appear like an orange peel
- Inverted nipple, which was earlier not inverted
- Dark pigmentation or flaking and peeling of skin around the nipple or anywhere on the breast
- Change in colour of the breast skin like redness
Who is more prone to develop breast cancer?
Presence of some factors may increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of such factors are:
- Women, especially those who had their first child after 30 years of age
- Older age
- Past medical history of breast conditions or cancer in one of the breast
- A case of breast cancer in the family, such as sister, mother or daughter, particularly at a young age
- Women on post-menopausal hormone therapy
- Prolonged exposure to radiations
- Early start of period (at younger age) or late age at menopause (ending of the period)
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Genetic factors: certain gene mutations called BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been linked with breast cancer
Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Unhealthy Diet: A diet with high saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Being Overweight: You are at increased risk if you are obese or have already gone through menopause.
- Drinking Alcohol: The more the consumption of alcohol, the greater the risk.
- Radiation Therapy or HRT: Undergoing radiation therapy for breast before the age of 30 years or taking prescribed combined hormone replacement therapy for menopause can increase your risk for breast cancer.
Some Precautions to Avoid Breast Cancer are as follows:
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Be physically more active, exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
- Eat healthy food and avoid too much alcohol consumption.
- Avoid smoking.
- If possible, try to breastfeed.
- Avoid the use of birth control pills, particularly if you smoke or above 35 years of age.
- Go for regular screening every year, especially after 40 years of age.
What Are The Possible Treatments For Breast Cancer?
Some Best treatments which is provided at Yashoda Multi Speciality and Cancer Institute that breast cancer doctors here uses to remove or destroy cancer within the breast and nearby tissues include the following:
- Surgical Process: There are two types of surgical processes used by the oncologist for the removal of the tumor from the body
- Mastectomy: It is a skin-sparing surgery that removes the whole breast with a tumor.
- Lumpectomy/ Breast Conservation Surgery: Removal of a lump around the breast with 1 cm axillary lymph clearance.
- Breast Reconstruction Surgery: Reconstructive Surgery helps in correcting deformities and restoring normal function after cancer-related treatments. The goal of the surgery is to achieve the best possible repair outcomes for treatment-related damage. It is done along with or after mastectomy/ lumpectomy.
- Radiation Therapy: Involve the use of high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. Advanced Radiation therapy used for breast cancer treatment consists of:
- Single Dose Intra-operative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
- 3D Conformal Partial Breast Irradiation (CPBI)
- Chemotherapy: Involve the use of potent medicines to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone Therapy: Use of hormonal drugs like estrogen to prevent hormones from fuelling breast cancer growth.
- Targeted Therapy: This therapy focuses on cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.
- Immunotherapy: This therapy involves the use of medicines that prompt the body’s immune system or natural defenses to destroy cancer.
The doctor may suggest the patient get chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy along with surgery or radiation. During other forms of treatment, this approach will kill the cancers left behind