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Breast cancer

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WOMEN'S HEALTH

Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Over the course of a lifetime, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
In breast cancer, cells in your breast begin growing abnormally - often for unknown reasons. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells and may spread through your breast or into other parts of your body. The most common type of breast cancer begins in the ducts designed to carry milk after childbirth, but cancer may also occur in the small sacs that produce milk (lobules) or in other breast tissue.

Yet there's more reason for optimism with regard to breast cancer than ever before. Great strides have been made in diagnosis and treatment in the last 25 years. In 1975 a diagnosis of breast cancer usually meant radical mastectomy - removal of the entire breast along with underarm lymph nodes and skin and muscles underneath the breast. Today, radical mastectomy is rarely performed. Instead, there are more and better treatment options, and many women are candidates for breast-sparing operations, such as lumpectomy.

Emphasis is also being placed on early detection, lifestyle changes and therapies such as tamoxifen that may reduce the risk of breast cancer. In addition, a growing network of agencies and resources exist to help those who have just received a diagnosis, are facing treatment decisions or are living with breast cancer.

It affect the most

The risk of breast cancer increases with increasing age, mostly among females.

Breast Cancer progress

Usually an excess of estrogen stimulates the growth of the tumor.

Causes of Breast Cancer

The causes are

  • Positive family history.

  • Early menarche

  • Late menopause

  • First child after thirty years of age. 

  • Excessive body fat. 

  • Prolonged use of oral contraceptive pills.

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 10 years or more.

  • Oncogenes


S
ymptoms of Breast Cancer

The symptoms are

  • A painless lump in the breast

  • Dimpling of the skin in the area of the lump that looks like orange peel.

  • Inversion of the nipple.

  • A bloodstained nipple discharge.

  • Pain in breast.

  • In Paget's disease: patch of dry, flaky skin on the nipple.

  • A change in the appearance or texture of the breasts.

  • Cachexia 

  • General symptoms:    malaise (weariness)
                                 loss of appetite
                                 fatigue
                                 thirst 
                                
    fever

Staging 

The international TNM classification is recognized for staging:

T- Extent of primary tumor
      T1 to T3 shows the increase in the extent or size of the tumor.

N- Involvement of nodes 
      N1 to N3 shows the increasing node involvement.

M- Presence of metastases (distant spread)
      M0 no metastases
      M1 presence of metastases.

Investigations

The tests conducted are 

  • Mammography

  • Radiology

  • USG

  • CT scan

  • MRI

  • Lymphangiogram

  • Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology [FNAC]

  • Aspiration

  • Biopsy

  • Estrogen Sensitivity

  • Biochemical screening

Treatment measures

Treatment Depends on: TNM stage  

Estrogen sensitivity

  • Includes

  • Surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Hormone therapy, or

  • Most often, a combination of these.

Management of pain through

  • Oral analgesics and localized techniques of pain relief.

  • Antibiotics, in case of presence of infection.

Prognosis

Prognosis is good, if early diagnosis is followed by prompt radical cure. Prognosis worsens with increasing stage of the cancer. 

Prevention

The disease can be prevented through regular self-examination of breasts for lump. If there exists a positive family history of breast cancer then regular mammography should be conducted after the age of 30 years.

Important things one should know about Breast Cancer

One needs to know about the complementary therapies that can help in the healing process

  • Relaxation exercises

  • Meditation

  • Psychological counseling.

  • Family and colleagues support.

Terminal care

  • Psychological support

  • Appropriate nutrition

  • Treatment of cough, pruritis and nausea

  • Family and friend's support

 

Breast cancer  > next > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 >

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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