As per WHO, every year, there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer. Prevention and early detection are the only ways of battling this disease, successfully.
Here are the signs, symptoms and treatments of breast cancer:
One may notice all or a few of the following –
Visible signs of breast cancer:[i]
- A lump in the breasts is the most common indicator of breast cancer even though breast cancer cells can be found in the body up to two years before the formation of the tumour itself.[ii] Mammography is the only authentic method of diagnosing breast cancer even before the tumour appears.
- Discharge from breasts despite no lactation.
- Dimple formation in either breast.
- Small, round, firm lumps or swollen lymph nodes in the armpits or near the collar bones.
- Either nipple may reverse inwards; get itchy or develop a sore[iii]
- Breast skin may look bluish or red as if bruised.
- Sudden and unexplained swelling of the breast
- Extremely dry and scaly skin around the breast.
- Breast skin gets an orange peel texture. [iv]
Symptoms of breast cancer:[v]
- Pain or tenderness in the breast(s).
- Sudden weight loss.
- Pain in the vagina.
Breast Cancer Treatment:
The treatment of breast cancer varies depending on the stage and the type of cancer; the age of the patient and sensitivity to hormones.[vi]
The major treatment methods include[vii] –
- Surgery: there are two options-
- Lumpectomy (if only the malignant tumour has to be removed).
- Mastectomy (if the entire breast has to be removed). The latter takes place if the cancer is detected in the advanced stages. A breast reconstruction surgery is recommended post-mastectomy, keeping in mind the patient’s emotional wellbeing and the practicalities of resuming a normal life.
- If the cancer has spread to the sentinel lymph nodes, several nodes may be removed from the armpit, as well, to prevent the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.[viii]
- Radiation: This therapy uses high energy waves to terminate cancer cells. It can be done both internally and externally.[ix]
- Chemotherapy: Heavy drugs are given orally or intravenously to destroy the cancer cells. It may be used before the surgery if the tumour is too big. Post-surgery it may be implemented to reduce the chances of cancer from recurring. [x]
- Hormone Treatment: Breast cancer caused due to high estrogen levels are treated by this method. It may or may not be followed by surgery.[xi]
If you have noticed any of the aforesaid symptoms; are a woman above the age of 40 years; have a family history of breast cancer; have experienced early menarche and/ or late menopause; or take oral contraceptives[xii], then get your mammography now and consult only the best medical experts at Regency HealthCare today! Why only Regency HealthCare? Because we believe in enriching lives by ensuring wellness.