What is Breast Cancer?

  •   The cancer that develops in the breast tissues is called as Breast Cancer. A mass of tissue is produced when breast cells mutate and grow out of control. Breast cancer can spread to the surrounding tissues of the breast, just as other types of cancer. Additionally, it might spread to other areas of your body and develop new tumors and this is called as metastasis.

       After lung cancer, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the US. It also ranks first among cancer related deaths in women aged 35 to 54.

There are many types of breast cancer such as:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma:This cancer begins in the milk ducts of the breast, penetrate into the duct walls and then spread to the surrounding breast tissue. This is the most prevalent kind of breast cancer, accounting for around 80% of all occurrences.
  • Ductal Carcinoma in situ:It is also known as Stage 0 breast cancer since it regarded as precancerous because the cells haven’t moved past your milk ducts. It is remarkably curable.
  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma:The origin of this malignancy occurs in the lobules of the breast which has spread to nearby breast tissues. 10%- 15% of breast cancer cases are attributed to the invasive lobular carcinoma.
  • Lobular Carcinoma in situ:A precancerous condition which results in the appearance of the abnormal cell growth in the lobules of the breast. It cannot be called a true cancer but can act as marker for breast cancer later on.
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC):TNBC is considered to be one of the most challenging breast cancers to treat and it accounts for almost 15% of all the cases.


What are the signs and symptoms of Breast cancer?

The signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Nipple Discharge
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of the breast
  • A lump or thickening in the breast
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Dimpling.
  • Redness
  • Peeling, Scaling, Crusting or Flaking of the pigmented are of surrounding skin.

What are the risk factors?

  •   There are no known risk factors for women to develop breast cancer but having one or more risk factors does not necessarily indicate the development of breast cancer.

The various risk factors that might increase the risk of breast cancer are:

  • Being a woman:Breast cancer is far more common in women than in men
  • Aging:Aging can result in increased risk of developing breast cancer
  • A personal history of breast conditions:Increased risk of breast cancer is seen if you’ve had a biopsy of the breast which established lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia of the breast.
  • A family history of breast cancer:Or if you have been diagnosed with the breast cancer earlier in one of the breasts, you are more likely to develop again in the other breast.
  • Inherited genes that increase cancer risk:Gene mutations play an important role in increasing the risk of breast cancer as they are usually passed onto children from parents. The most well- known gene mutations are BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes increase the probability of breast cancer as well as other cancer developments by three folds.
  • Radiation Exposure:Receiving radiation treatment to your chest as child or as a young adult lead to increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Obesity:Obesity can contribute in increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Drinking Alcohol:Drinking alcohol increases risk of breast cancer.
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy:Combine estrogen and progesterone which is usually given in hormonal therapy medications, when taken to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause lead to risk of advancing breast cancer.


How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  •   Your doctor will check your breasts and enquire about your family history, medical history and any current symptoms in addition to performing the breast exam. Additionally, your doctor will advise testing to look for abnormalities in your breasts. These tests could consist of:
  • Mammogram:Any abnormalities or alterations in the breast can be found by using these specialized X-Ray photos.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning:Specific dyes are in the PET scan to highlight the questionable spots. This test is performed by injecting a specific dye in the veins while the scanner captures images.
  • Ultrasonography:The inside tissues of the breast are photographed during this test using sound waved. It aids in the diagnosis of breast anomalies or masses.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):To produce clear, detailed images of the structures inside of the breast, magnets and radio waves are used.
  •   If any suspicion is found on the imaging tests, a biopsy can be performed to confirm the presence of the cancer.

How is breast cancer treated?

  •   Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and targeted medication therapy are just a few of the breast cancer treatments available. To determine the right choice of treatment, the position and size of tumor, the test results and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body are used.
  • Breast cancer surgery:An area of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor as well as the cancerous section of the breast are removed during breast cancer surgery. There are different types of surgery depending on your situation including:
    • Lumpectomy
    • Mastectomy
    • Sentinel node biopsy
    • Axillary lymph node dissection
    • Modified radical mastectomy
    • Radical mastectomy
  • Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy sessions before lumpectomy are recommended in order to shrink the tumor. At times it can be given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and decrease the risk of recurrence. Chemotherapy is recommended as a primary treatment if the cancer has spread beyond your breast tissues.
  • Radiation Therapy:It is mostly given after a lumpectomy or mastectomy to kill remaining cancer cells.
  • Hormone Therapy:Few of the types of breast cancer use hormones to grow such as estrogen and progesterone. In such cases, hormone therapy can be used to either decrease the estrogen levels or prevent estrogen from attaching to breast cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy:Your own immune system is capable of targeting and attacking breast cancer cells. This uses intravenous route for the administration of medications.
  • Targeted drug therapy:Targeted drug therapy works best when the cancer has spread to other regions of the body in order to target specific cell characteristic that causes cancer.