Breast cancer is the one of the most researched cancer across the world and new advancements for the treatment are coming up frequently. Breast cancer in India is achieving ENDEMIC proportions now. It is possible to detect breast cancer using MRI mammograms and X Ray Mammograms to detect breast lumps at an early stage, and Breast Biopsy for not only detecting type of tumor but also receptor status. There are Breast Conserving Surgeries, Whole Breast reconstruction for patients who undergo mastectomy, and Conservative Axillary Dissection to prevent lymph oedema onset. There are latest radiation techniques such as Accelerated Partial Breast Radiation (APBI), IGRT and Brachytherapy for treating breast cancer tumors.
Signs and Symptoms
In its initial stage, breast cancer is hard to detect. This is why doctors suggest regular breast examination. Breast cancer symptoms may include:
- Breast lump or lump in the armpit that is hard and has uneven edges
- Any change in the size, shape, or feel of the breast
- Fluid coming out of the nipple
- Bone pain
- Breast pain or discomfort
- Skin ulcers
- Swelling of one arm
- Weight loss
Causes of Breast cancer
There is no specific cause of breast cancer. However, most common causes include:
- Age and gender - Over a period of time, the chances of developing breast cancer increases
- Family history of breast cancer
- Menstrual cycle - Women got their periods early (before age 12) or went through menopause late (after age 55) have an increased risk for breast cancer
- Childbirth - Women who give birth after the age of 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer
- Alcohol use - Consuming more than 1-2 glasses increases your chances of breast cancer
The treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer. In general, breast cancer treatments may include:
- Chemotherapy - done to kill cancer cells
- Radiation therapy - to destroy cancerous tissue. Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy X Rays that destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. About half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy, either alone or in combination with other types of cancer treatment. There are mainly three types of radiation therapy done at Max Cancer Centre to treat cancer – 3DCRT (three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy), IMRT, and IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy). At Max, we use the most advanced NOVALIS TX with EXACT-TRAC & ROBOTIC ON-BOARD IMAGER which is used to track tumors online to enable highly accurate treatments for moving tumors like lung, liver, prostate etc.
- Surgery - is done to remove the cancerous tissue (it involves complete removal of breast lump and nearby structures). Standard surgeries are Mastectomy (Removal of the whole breast), Quadrantectomy (Removal of one quarter of the breast), and Lumpectomy (Removal of a small part of the breast). Reconstructive surgery can be done where breast contour can be restored to near normal with plastic surgery.
- Hormonal therapy - is suggested to women with ER-positive breast cancer to block certain hormones that trigger cancer growth.