Breast Cancer is a very common affliction amongst women. The malignant tumor or the cancer cells in the breast multiply uncontrollably and affect the healthy breast tissues as well as the lymph nodes present under the arms. This results in the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to prevent this condition. Kingsway Hospitals is a large, multi-specialty hospital with a superlative cancer treatment programme and facility. thanks to its state-of-the-art infrastructure and qualified personnel who are skilled in treating all types of complex cases.

Types of breast cancer

Breast cancer is categorized into Invasive and Non-invasive (in situ). Invasive cancer is the type of cancer in which the cancer cells spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the body, while Noninvasive breast cancer is when the cancer has remained in its place of origin and not spread to other areas yet.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for getting affected by breast cancer are:

  • The risk of getting affected by breast cancer increases with increase in age
  • In case of a family History, that is, if a close relative like mother, sister, daughter etc. has breast cancer, it increases the risk of getting affected by this disorder.
  • Consuming alcohol frequently and in large quantities also increases the risk of getting this disease.
  • Women who have a relatively dense breast tissue are more likely to get affected.
  • Women who had their first periods before the age of 12.
  • Women who have had their first child after the age of 35.
  • If a person has been exposed to chest radiation before, then that person is at a higher risk of getting affected.
  • Consuming postmenopausal estrogen and progesterone medicines.

Symptoms

Some of the signs of breast cancer are:

  • Change in the breast shape and size
  • Inward turned nipple
  • Changes in the texture of the breast
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Lump or swelling under the arm
  • Pain in the breast

Stages of Breast Cancer:

The stage of the cancer depends on many factors, such as tumor size, involvement of lymph nodes, the type of cancer and the spread of the cancer to other areas of the body.

Stage 0: In this stage, the cancer cells show no evidence of having spread into neighbouring breast tissue or beyond the duct or lobule.

Stage 1: An an early stage of invasive breast cancer, in this phase, the tumour is less than 2 cm in diameter, and have not spread to regions beyond the breast.

Stage 2: It is divided into two sub-stages. In Stage 2A, the tumour is a maximum of 2 cm in diameter and has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. If the tumour is 2-5 cm in diameter, then it will not have spread to any lymph nodes. On the other hand, in Stage 2B, either the size of the tumour is 2-5 cm, and has spread to underarm lymph nodes, or, the tumour is larger than 5cm but has not spread to underarm lymph nodes.

Stage 3: In Stage 3A, the tumor is lesser than 5cm in diameter and has spread to the underarm lymph nodes, or, it is larger than 5cm and the underarm lymph nodes are not adhered to each other. In Stage 3B, the tumor may be of any size and has spread to the skin of the breast or chest wall. And lastly, in Stage 3C, the tumor will have spread to the lymph node regions above or below the clavicle and the chest wall.

Stage 4: It is a medistatic cancer, that is, it has spread to other organs and parts of the body.

Diagnosis

Our experienced breast specialists employ the following diagnostic tests and procedures used to detect breast cancer:

Mammogram: This procedure involves the use of x-rays to detect changes in breast tissue.

Ultrasound: An ultrasound creates a picture of the breast tissue using sound waves and helps distinguish between a cancerous mass and an ordinary fluid-filled cyst.

MRI: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging procedure uses magnetic fields to produce a detailed image of the breast tissue.

Biopsy: It involves removing a tissue sample from the area of concern in order to be examined by a pathologist.

Treatment Of Breast Cancer:

The type of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, the extent to which it has spread, and the size of the tumour. Treatment of breast cancer requires cutting-edge infrastructure and facilities. The common treatment options are:

Surgery: This includes the various types of surgery such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, axillary lymph node dissection and contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.

Radiation Therapy: The patient is subjected to radiation to kill the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: It uses drugs to kill cancer cells and is usually performed after surgery if there seems to be a high risk of recurrence.

Hormone Therapy: The body’s production of estrogen and progesterone hormones is blocked as these can stimulate the growth of the tumours.