Breast Cancer Treatment: Causes, symptoms and Risk Factors

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Breast Cancer- Types, risk factors, causes, symptoms and treatment

Breast cancer - It is a type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breast. The process starts

Breast Cancer- Types, risk factors, causes, symptoms and treatment

Breast cancer - It is a type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breast. The process starts when there is uncontrolled growth of cells. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but breast cancer in men is not that common.

It’s important to understand that most breast cysts are benign and not malignant breast cancer. They are not life-threatening.

Types of Breast Cancer

There are many different types of breast cancer but the commonest ones include ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive ductal carcinoma. The less common ones are Lobular carcinoma, phyllodes tumours and angiosarcoma.

Breast Cancer Symptoms and signs

Any of these abnormal breast changes should be reported to your doctor:

  • * A lump or thickening in the breast area that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • * Swelling of the breast or part of the breast
  • * Any difference in size, shape, color or appearance of a breast in comparison to other breast
  • * A newly inverted nipple
  • * Any nipple discharge
  • * Any peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the breast skin or around the nipple
  • * Redness of skin or dimpling of skin

Breast Cancer Causes

Breast cancer develops when some of breast cells develop potential to grow out of control and divide rapidly. Most noteworthy, these cells distribute more speedily in comparison to the healthy cells and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. These cells may spread through your breast to the lymph nodes in underarm and other parts of the body.

It is anticipated that breast cancer is most likely to be produced by a complex interaction of the genetic makeup and environmental factors. Epidemiological research has identified factors like; hormone, lifestyle and environment may increase the risk of breast cancer. 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations (like BRCA 1/2) passed through generations of a family (mother to daughter/son).

Breast Cancer Risk factors:

Some of the risk factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:

  • Being female: Women are most likely to develop breast cancer than men. 1 in 8 females develops breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Increasing age: As you age, the risk of breast cancer increases.
  • History of benign breast conditions: You have an increased risk, in case of lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia of the breast in the previous biopsy.
  • History of Breast cancer: If you have had breast cancer in one breast earlier, there is an increased risk of developing cancer in the same (remaining breast) or in the other breast.
  • A family history of breast cancer: Your risk of breast cancer increases if your mother, sister, brother or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age.
  • Radiation exposure: Your risk of breast cancer increases if you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult.
  • Beginning of period at early age: Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Experiencing menopause at an older age: You are more likely to develop breast cancer if you develop menopause at an older age.
  • Conceiving your first child at an older age:  Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk.
  • Woman who has never been pregnant: Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer.
  • Obesity: Obesity increases risk of breast cancer particularly in post menopausal females.
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy: Taking hormone replacement therapy medications increases the risk of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Prevention & Early Detection

You should make lifestyle modifications to reduce breast cancer risk and should undergo regular breast cancer screening (as per the advice of your doctor):

  • Drink alcohol in moderation: Avoid alcohol, even if you choose to drink, limit the amount.
  • Exercise frequently: At least aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight else ask your doctor about healthy strategies to lose.
  • Include a healthy diet: A diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may decrease the risk of breast cancer.
  • Consult the doctor about breast cancer screening: Discuss with your doctor when to begin breast cancer screening examinations and tests.
  • Breast Self-examination: Know your breasts by occasionally inspecting them.

If you have family history of Breast cancer, you should discuss with your doctor regarding the options to reduce your risk such as:

  • Preventive medications: such as estrogen depleting treatment to reduce the risk of breast cancer
  • Preventive surgery: like risk reducing mastectomy (removal of healthy breasts) only in case of an extremely high risk of breast cancer like genetic syndrome.

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

Refer to the best oncologist doctor to diagnose breast problems

  • Breast Ultrasound/USG: It uses sound waves to make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast, called sonograms
  • Diagnostic mammogram: Doctors may advice for a diagnostic mammogram if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The MRI scan will deliver detailed pictures of areas inside the breast
  • Biopsy: This is done if Mammogram or MRI reveals a suspicious lesion in a breast. It removes the suspicious tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked under a microscope and do more testing on it.

Breast Cancer Treatment

Generally, there are three options to treat breast cancer:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Systemic therapy like Hormone therapy, Targeted therapy, Chemotherapy or Immunotherapy.

Breast cancer treatment includes a combination of surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. Some of the mentioned treatments are local, targeting just the area around the tumor, whereas, others are systemic, targeting the whole body with cancer-fighting agents.

The average cost of Breast Cancer Treatment in India varies based upon the molecular profile of breast cancer, stage of cancer & type of therapy needed.

< Today, cancer care is experiencing a paradigm shift. It is not only about the treatment but it is about comprehensive care, which requires dedication, commitment, expertise, advanced infrastructure, state of the art equipment and highly skilled doctors. The oncology team at Aakash Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital brings together the brightest minds in Surgical, Medical and Palliative Oncology and provides tailor-made care to individual patients. The team certainly can be called as the best oncology team in Delhi-NCR with the finest oncologists in the team.



Dr. Parveen Jain
Senior Consultant & HOD
Medical Oncology

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