Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is most common in women and has the second highest occurrence in India. The average incidence rate varies from 22-28 in urban areas to 6 per lakh women in rural areas. Women above the age of 50 are most susceptible for cancer. In developed countries around one in eight women develop breast cancer at some stage in their life.


It starts as cancerous cells present at the lining of a milk duct or milk gland (lobule) in one of the breasts. This phenomenon is commonly known as lobular breast cancer. Women should regularly conduct self-examination of the breast and on noticing any lump or change must consult the doctor if necessary. This will help facilitate early stage breast cancer treatment. If the cancer is diagnosed at the first stage, outcomes are better.

Symptoms

Generally, lumps in the breasts warrant a medical opinion/treatment by breast oncology specialists. Most breast lumps aren't cancerous. The most common symptoms in women are:

  • A painless lump or thickening in the breast

  • A spontaneous discharge of blood from the nipple

  • Retraction or indentation of nipple

  • A change in the size or contours of the breast

  • Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast

  • Mass below the arms

  • Changes in the size or shape of a breast

  • Dimpling or thickening of the skin on a part of a breast

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Causes

  • Includes menarche(the 1st occurrence of menstruation), late age at menopause and first childbirth at late stage

  • Shorter duration of breastfeeding

  • A family history of breast cancer increases the risk. If a woman has a mother who has suffered from breast cancer, her risk increases by three times. If a woman has a sister with breast cancer, the risk increases by 2-3 times.

  • Obesity( which contain fat cells called adipocyte, that are susceptible to cancer)


A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell and multiple to many.

Treatment

The treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy depending on the stage of the disease. The treatment depends on:

  • The size and shape of the tumour

  • The grade of the cancer cells in the tumour

  • Age of the patient

  • If the patient has reached menopause or not.

  • General health and personal preferences for treatment.

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