Breast cancer is cancer that begins in the breast after cells begin to mutate and grow uncontrollably. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women all across the world and the incidence is continuing to rise year after year. The rate of carcinoma of the breast is the highest in Delhi out of all states at about 41 per 100,000 women. There is significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer in Delhi over the past decade.

Breast cancer cells usually form a breast tumor which can be seen on an x-ray (called Mammogram) or can even be felt as a lump.

Did you know that breast cancer happens to men as well? However, it occurs almost entirely in women.

If you’re feeling a lump in your breast and are worrying whether this is a symptom of breast cancer, you must remember that the majority of breast lumps are in fact benign and non-cancerous. So before worrying and searching for the best cancer hospital in Delhi or the best cancer specialists in town, take it easy.

While even non-cancerous breast tumors are abnormal, they will not spread outside your breast and are not a threat to your life, however, there are many types of breast tumors and some forms of benign breast lumps can put a woman at risk of getting breast cancer. Make sure to get any new breast lump checked by a health care professional to determine if there is indeed a breast tumor if it is benign or malignant and if you are at risk of getting breast cancer in the future.

Symptoms

For early detection of breast cancer, it is very important to be aware of the normal breast structure and about the changes that can happen in case of breast cancer.

The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump that is usually painless but can be painful, usually hard with irregular edges but can be soft and round. So make sure to consult a health professional if you have any new breast mass or lump formation. However, there are a few types of breast cancer that do not form a lump in the breast even in the advanced stage.

Some other symptoms of breast cancer are swelling of a breast even without any lump, dry and red skin on the breast and nipple, skin dimpling, nipple discharge, swollen lymph nodes under the arm or collar bone; this happens when cancer has spread to those parts.

The most common types of breast cancer are ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and invasive carcinoma while other less known breast cancers are phyllodes tumors and angiosarcoma. A breast cancer diagnosis can be confirmed with a biopsy, after which ancillary testing is performed. Breast cancer cells are tested for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and Her-2.

Aakash Healthcare ranks among the best cancer hospitals in Delhi with specialists with vast experience in dealing with all types of cancers.

How does breast cancer spread?

Breast cancer spreads if the cancerous cells mix into the blood or lymph system, from where they are transported to other organs and parts of the body.

Our lymph system is a network of lymph vessels across the body that connects lymph nodes in different parts of the body. Lymph fluid is carried via lymph vessels away from the breast and through their cancer cells enter lymph vessels and spreads to the draining lymph nodes. In case breast cancer cells have spread into the lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that the cells have also traveled and spread to other parts of the body via the lymph system.

The breast cancer stage depends on the number of lymph nodes with breast cancer cells, the more they are the more likely it is cancer will be found in other organs. Typically, surgery is needed to remove these lymph nodes to determine whether the cancer has spread.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

By “risk factor” we mean anything that further increases the chances of developing any disease. However, being exposed to a risk factor, or factors, does not necessarily mean a person will surely get the disease.

This is also true for breast cancer and there are some risk factors that you can’t modify (called non-modifiable risk factors) like your family history and the natural ageing process. There are also some risk factors that you can control like not drinking alcohol excessively, exercising regularly, and keeping your body weight in check. It has also been found that women who don’t have children or have them after 30 are at slightly higher risk as well as women who don’t breastfeed. Some birth control methods also heighten the risk of getting breast cancer. There are no certain means to prevent cancer, let alone breast cancer, but if we keep track of our bodies, stay healthy, and look out for any potential danger, we can go a long way in beating breast cancer.

Also, Read : Cancer prevention 6 tips to reduce your risk

with Dr. Parveen Jain

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