Dr. Harish E

Consultant - Surgical Oncology

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Reviewed by

Dr. Harish E

Consultant - Surgical Oncology

Manipal Hospitals, Mangaluru

Breast Cancer: Know More About it

Reviewed by:

Dr. Harish E

Posted On: Nov 21, 2022

Cancer care hospital in Mangalore

The most prevalent invasive malignancy in women is breast cancer. It is also the main reason women die of cancer. Male breast cancer accounts for a share of new cases each year, despite the fact that the percentage of cases is substantially lower than that of female breast cancer.

Fortunately, breast cancer treatment has advanced significantly. One of the most important elements in a successful course of therapy is being watchful and keeping an eye out for breast cancer's early warning symptoms. Positive outcomes are frequently achieved when breast cancer is discovered early before it spreads significantly. Visit our cancer care hospital in Mangalore to have the best treatment.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in breast tissue. Usually, breast cancer develops in the ducts or lobules of the breast. The milk is produced by lobules, and ducts are the channels that carry it from the glands to the nipple.

Additionally, cancer can develop in the breast's fatty tissue or fibrous connective tissue. The uncontrolled cancer cells frequently spread to neighbouring healthy breast tissue and are capable of reaching the lymph nodes beneath the arms. Once cancer has reached the lymph nodes, it has a route to go to other bodily regions like bone, lung, liver and brain.

Signs and Symptoms

A breast lump, a breast area with thicker tissue, or an area of thickened tissue in the armpit is frequently the earliest signs of breast cancer. Other symptoms include:

  • Breast or armpit pain is not affected by the menstrual cycle.

  • Changes in colour, such as redness in the breast skin or pitting that resembles the orange surface

  • A rash on one nipple or around it

  • Nipple discharge may or may not be bloody.

  • An inverted or sunken nipple

  • A change in the breast's size or shape

  • Scaling, flaking, or peeling of the breast or nipple skin

Causes of Breast Cancer

When abnormal cells in your breast proliferate and grow, breast cancer develops. However, specialists are unsure of the precise trigger for this process to start in the first place. However, there are a number of risk factors that could raise the risk of having breast cancer, such as:

  • Age: People with an age group of 55 and above.

  • Sex: Mostly female

  • Family history and genetics

  • Using tobacco and alcohol

  • Obesity

  • Radiation exposure

  • Hormone replacement therapy 

Stages of Breast Cancer

The staging process explains the extent of cancer in the body. The size, location, and extent of the tumour, as well as whether the disease has spread to other parts of your body, all play a role in this decision. The primary phases of breast cancer are:

  • Stage 0

The illness has no invasiveness, indicating that it hasn't emerged from your breast ducts.

  • Stage I

The adjacent breast tissue has become infected with cancerous cells.

  • Stage II

At this stage, tumours may or may not impact the adjacent lymph nodes and range in size from 2 to 5 cm.

  • Stage III

Cancer has already spread past its original site at this time. It might have expanded to neighbouring lymph nodes and tissue, but it hasn't reached distant organs.

  • Stage IV

The bones, liver, lungs, or brain are among the organs where cancer has metastasized outside of the breast.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

  • Triple test

  1. Clinical examination.

  2. Imaging: Mammogram/ Ultrasound/ MRI

  3. Biopsy – Trucut/ FNAC

The doctor will check the breasts of the suspect and enquire about their family history, medical history, and any current symptoms in addition to performing the breast exam. Additionally, the doctor will advise testing to look for abnormalities in the breasts. To know more, consult with our oncologist in Mangalore Some of the tests include:

  • Mammogram

  • Ultrasonography:  younger patients with dense breasts.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): For strong family history/ genetic mutations.

The healthcare provider might do a breast tissue biopsy if they notice anything worrisome on the imaging tests. The sample will be sent to a pathology lab for examination.

  • Metastatic workup:

To identify the spread of disease doctor will consider few tests like

  1. CT scan/ PET scan

  2. Bone scan

Treatment and Management

There are numerous breast cancer therapies available. The position and size of the tumour, the outcomes of the lab tests, and whether the cancer has spread to other regions of the body are just a few of the variables that will determine the best treatment. The treatment plan will be customised by the healthcare professional to meet the individual’s needs. Some of the common treatment approaches are:

  • Surgery: It includes lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, axillary lymph node dissection, modified radical mastectomy, and radical mastectomy.

  • Chemotherapy

  • Radiation therapy

  • Hormones therapy

  • Immunotherapy

  • Targeted drug therapy

Prevention from Breast Cancer

While breast cancer cannot be completely prevented, a few lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of breast cancer, like

  • Healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, healthy eating habits, reduce fat intake.

  • The addition of vegetables and fruits in your diet helps in maintaining healthy body weight.

  • For new mothers, it is advisable to breastfeed their child at least for one year. 

  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

Early detection of Breast Cancer

There are several things one can do to lessen their chance of finding it when it is well advanced. For instance,

  • Getting routine mammograms

It is recommended for individuals undergo a baseline mammogram at the age of 35 and a screening mammogram every year once they reach 40.

  • Examining the breasts every month (self-breast examination) after 20 years of age

The individual may become accustomed to the shape and texture of their breasts and become more perceptive to changes.

  • Having breasts examined by a healthcare provider

It needs to be done once every year at the age of 20 and once every three years after the age of 40.

Dr. Harish E

Consultant - Surgical Oncology

KMC Hospital, Mangalore

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