The aim is to assess a complete knowledge about breast cancer as it is incredibly important and also for early detection as “Early detection is the key to Prevention.
This article will go through the following points:
What is breast cancer?
- Signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
- Progression and stages of breast cancer.
- Risk factors that you cannot change.
- Risk factors that you can change.
Statistics says, if you are a woman, you have 1 out of 8 chance to get breast cancer.So, it is very important to check your breast regularly and for that, breast self-examination is very important to know what an individual’s breast actually looks like- its actual shape, size, colour, and contour.
What is breast cancer ?
Cancer that is formed in the cells of breast is known as the breast cancer. It is the disease in which some of the cells in the breast begin to grow uncontrollably invading the surrounding tissues. Breasts are paired structures located on the chest beneath the skin. Outside the breast is nipple, surrounded by dark circle areola, large network of lymph nodes and vessels around the breast.
Breast are present both in male and female but prominent in female, made up of fatty tissue, memory gland, and ducts Fluids get drained from breast to lymph nodes.
Most of the breast cancer starts in ducts of breast but can grow in any other part. Cancer cells can grow, multiply and from cancerous tumours and spread to the lymph nodes.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
In early stages there may be no symptoms in directing breast cancer but as the cancer grows, there are changes that both women and men should watch out for:-
- Lumps or mass or swelling
- Skin irritation
- Change in size or shape
- Change in colour or feel of the skin and there might be scaly nipple.
- Nipple discharge, erosion ,tenderness, inversion of nipples.
If you found any of such symptoms then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible since early finding has as much of 78% of survival rate.
Progression and stages of breast cancer
Stages of breast cancer refers to extent of the disease. It is based on the several factors including
1. Size of tumour
2. Lymph node involvement
3. Invasive or non invasive
4. If spread to areas beyond breast
|Stage 0||non invasive breast cancer|
early stage of invasive breast cancer
Tumour no larger than the size of 2 cm in diameter
no evidence of Cancer cells spread beyond breast
Invasive breast cancer
Tumour more than the size of 2 cm in diameter spread to lymph nodes under the arm Or between 2-5 cm but do not spread to the lymph nodes
Tumour is either between 225 cm, spread to under arm lymph nodes
tumour is larger than 5 cm but has not spread to underarm lymph nodes
Locally advanced cancer
No larger than 5 cm in diameter but has spread to under arm lymph nodes growing into each other and forming clumps
Larger than 5 cm diameter and under arm lymph nodes are not adhered to one another or any other tissue
Tumour is of any size and has spread to the skin of breast or chest wall and may include lumps in skin of breast or swelling of the breast
Tumour is of any size and has also spread to the lymph node areas Above and below the
skin of breast
|Stage 4||Distant Metastatic Cancer that means the cancer has spread to other organs of the body|
Risk factors that you can’t change includes
- AGE: the chance of getting breast cancer raises as a women gets older
- GENES: there are two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 that greatly increase the risk of testing positive for women who have family members with breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
- Personal fact: Onset of menstruation before the age of 12 or going through Menopause after the age of 55 years.
- Other risk being
- using hormone replacement therapy called menopausal therapy
- taking birth control pills
- drinking alcohol
- having child after 35 year of age
Risk factors that you can change
women who are not much physically active have higher risk of breast cancer
- Limit alcohol don’t use Tobacco
- Maintain healthy body weight
- Be physically active
- Limit post menstrual hormone therapy
- Protect yourself from Sun
- Get regular medical checkup
- Some cancer fighting foods that include
- Vitamin D
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Folate rich food
Breast self examination
Examine yourself once a month (4-5 days after your periods).
Menopausal women and pregnant women– examine your Breast on the same date every month.
Examine your Breast in 5 steps
Look for any change in your breast and nipples.
Observe shape, colour, size, and contour.
stand in front of a mirror use your index, middle and ring finger for examination.
Gradually keep increasing the pressure in a circular motion following a simple u shaped path
Motion should be
Start from the armpit move to your bra line then onto your breast- bone and finally to the collarbone to complete the examination.
Check yourself in different positions- use the right hand to check your left breast and left hand to check your right breast.
look out for
1. lumps 2. swelling
3. thickening 4. dimpling
5. discharge by squeezing nipples
6. persistent pain 7. loss of contour
8. redness 9.puckering
|Step 4||Any changes must be reported to your doctor as early as possible|
|Step 5||for women over 50 years routine check for Mammogram is important since only early detection saves lives|
In an attempt to achieve early diagnosis for early treatment to achieve high recovery rate, screening is very necessary.
Mammography – a technique that involves X-rays of breast, is done in screening
Biopsy– for further laboratory examinations.
1. Surgery : Surgeries depend upon the size and the location of tumour which includes:
Total or simple mastectomy
Modified radical mastectomy
2. Radiation therapy : This therapy includes the radiations to kill the cancerous cells or keep them from growing it includes
External beam radiation
Internal Radiation therapy
3. Chemotherapy : This therapy includes certain drugs to kill the cancer
4. Hormone therapy : Studies have shown that females who get approx 5 years of hormonal treatment with tamoxifen as a medical procedure for beginning phase ER-positive breast tumours have diminished dangers of breast tumour growth repeat, and decreased danger of death at 15 years.
4. Targeted therapy