Cancer is basically uncontrolled multiplication of cells. Once the cells multiply, they also spread to other areas by means of blood or lymph. Breast is one of the common organs affected by cancer and has gained attention in the recent past. In breast cancer, there is an uncontrolled multiplication of the cells within the breast and this usually manifests as a lump.
“Early detection of breast cancer in women can increase chances of survival by 98 per cent“
Signs And Symptoms
The commonest mode of presentation of breast cancer is an asymptomatic lump. Most often, the lump is painless but this is not a deciding factor. Some lumps may be so small that they may not be felt by the hand and can be seen only on a mammogram. On the other hand, some lumps when ignored can grow to such an extent that they present with skin involvement and ulceration.
In recent years, there has been a lot of emphasis on early detection of breast cancer. Breast screening of normal women without any complaints is recommended by way of mammography. Mammograms can detect lumps that are 1/16th the size of lumps detected by clinical examination. Annual mammograms are recommended for all women who have crossed the age of 40.
In younger women, breast ultrasound is preferred as the information given by a mammogram will be less because of the dense breasts.
Early detection of breast cancer in women can increase chances of survival by 98 per cent. Early screening can be done at Apollo Spectra and this should be followed up with a visit to our experienced doctors, who can then guide you correctly.
The treatments available for breast cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Depending on the stage of the disease anyone or combined treatment modalities may be required. Earlier, the only surgery that was performed for breast cancer was a mastectomy in which the entire breast was removed. But now, more and more attempts are being made to preserve the breast in suitable patients. There are many options available within chemotherapy and radiation also.
We cannot pinpoint specific factors in most women who develop this disease. There are certain instances of breast cancer running in families, but this does not mean that just because a close relative has breast cancer, one is likely to get it too. Most women who have breast cancer do not have a family history of it. If there is an unusually high incidence of breast cancer within the family then certain genetic tests may have to be done to look for mutations.
Similarly, there are other risk factors like use of oestrogen replacement pills after menopause, early menarche, late menopause and not having breastfed children. These factors too are known to predispose women to breast cancer, but need not be present in each and every one suffering from this disease.
The incidence of breast cancer is on the rise. Awareness will help women detect the disease early and reduce the burden of treatment and improve the treatment results.