Hematology and Oncology
You must have heard about the pink October! It’s the month for breast cancer awareness. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with favorable outcomes if detected early. This demands the utmost importance of spreading awareness and knowledge about breast cancer. When the breast cells enlarge or multiply uncontrollably, they form a mass or tumor that results in breast cancer. It is a common dilemma In females, but it can occur in males as well. It is not very frequent before the age of 50 years in women. It can be benign or malignant. The malignant tumors can grow, invade, and spread to adjoining areas of the breast. They can travel through the blood and form new growths in different locations, resulting in active metastasis.It is better to know more about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of breast cancer so that you can evaluate yourself and get help at the first signs! Treatment depends upon the type of cancer, the stage at which it is presented, the patient’s age and preferences, and some other factors. It usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, etc.
Get yourself aware of the following risk factors for breast cancer;
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer. It is a common cancer among US women estimating 268600 cases every year. 42000 women die due to breast cancer every year. The incident increases dramatically with age and is highest at menopause. It is more common in the left breast than in the right breast.
You may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms for breast cancer;
Most breast cancers are a type of carcinomas described as adenocarcinoma. They are:
Cancers arising in the epithelium of mammary ducts are called ductal carcinoma. There are two types of ductal carcinomas.
There are many Subdivisions of invasive ductal carcinoma.
1. Medullary carcinoma
2. Mucinous carcinoma
3. Tubular carcinoma
4. Papillary carcinoma
5. Cribriform carcinoma
It is characterized by spreading into lymph nodes and other body parts. It is also called invasive or infiltrating Lobular carcinoma.
Lobular carcinoma in situ is not cancer, just the beginning of abnormal proliferation.
These breast cancers are not very common. In this type of Cancer, cells block the lymphatic drainage in the breast. Due to which the skin swells, and inflammation occurs. The skin appears wrinkled like the skin of an orange. These cancers can spread abruptly.
Genetic or hormonal types of breast cancer: With the advent of hormonal therapy, breast cancers can also be divided into different types based on the type of hormonal/protein receptors. For example;
The purpose of awareness programs is to diagnose any suspicious lumps in your breasts and consult your physician if you feel the need to do so. Your doctor will then obtain your history, asking about your symptoms, risk factors, past medical and surgical history, any medications you might be using, and will examine you and your breasts to find the physical evidence of the disease. The approach usually adopted includes the three steps;
Further testing includes;
Screening: Along with self-examination, cancer screening can be done using a mammogram (X-ray of the breast ), which is the best screening method. It is recommended to start screening by mammogram of females at the age of 45-54 annually.
When you are under treatment, your doctor will try to achieve certain goals. The first goal is to completely eradicate cancer cells in the body, which is only possible when the cancer is benign or not widely spread. Another target is to avoid the recurrence of cancer. And this can be achieved by certain drug therapies. Some specific factors will be considered when choosing the treatment plan.
Types of treatment
a) Lumpectomy: Removal of the lump only (also called breast-conserving surgery)
b) Mastectomy: Removal of the breast
Side effects of treatment: Treatment may have the following side effects:
Due to the advancements made in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, the death rates have been decreased to 39% from 1990 – 2015. The average life expectancy of five years for patients with non-invasive cancers is 90%, and it is 99% for the invasive cancers that are limited to the breast only.
Following lifestyle changes need to be made to prevent yourself from getting the tumor;
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 13, 2023.
What Is Breast Cancer? | CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/what-is-breast-cancer.htm
Breast Cancer: Current Perspectives on the Disease Status | SpringerLink - https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-20301-6_4