Oncology

What You Need To Know About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer treatment

Breast Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, and also the most common cancer among women. The cancer cells in the breast multiply uncontrollably and affect the healthy breast tissues, and can also affect the lymph nodes present under the arms. These lymph nodes help the cancer move to other parts of the body.  Fortis Hospitals is one of the top oncology care hospitals in India with qualified and well-trained oncologists and breast cancer specialists who are adept at tackling any complication arising of this condition.

Risk Factors

The factors that increase the chances of getting breast cancer are:

  • Age: The chances of getting breast cancer increases as one gets older. Most cases of invasive breast cancers are found in women over the age of 55.
  • Family History: If a close relative, like mother, sister, daughter etc. has breast cancer, it doubles your risk of getting this disease.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Breast tissue: Women who have a dense breast tissue, as detected by the mammogram, have a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Early periods: Women who first menstruated before the age of 12 are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Having children at a later age: Women who have their first child after the age of 35 have ran increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Exposure to radiation: If you have been exposed to previous chest radiation, you are at a higher risk of getting affected.
  • Medications: Women who consume postmenopausal estrogen and progesterone medications have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to get breast cancer than men.

Symptoms

Fortis Hospitals is the leading cancer care hospital in Bangalore thanks to its cutting-edge facilities and well-trained specialists. They are experts at diagnosing the signs of cancer lurking in the body and aim to provide the best preventive and curative treatment.

The signs and symptoms vary from woman to woman, but there are some common signs to watch out for. You may notice a change in the way your breast or nipple feels. This may present as a lump or nipple tenderness. Other symptoms can present as a change in how the breast or nipple looks. The frequent symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Inward turned nipple
  • Changes in the texture of the skin of the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Lump or swelling under the arm
  • Breast pain

In many cases, only breast cancer does not cause pain. However, you should always consult your doctor in case of any breast pain or any other persistent and noticeable changes.

Diagnosis

Breast cancer is usually diagnosed by routine screening when the woman approaches  a doctor with the symptoms. Some common diagnostic tests and procedures used to detect breast cancer are:

  • Mammogram: This procedure uses low dose x-rays to detect changes in breast tissue. If an abnormality is detected, the doctor may opt for additional tests. After the procedure, the radiologist reviews the x-rays and additional pictures may need to be taken. Since mammogram is a simple, out-patient procedure, the person will be able to go home immediately following the test.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound creates a picture of the breast tissue using sound waves, and can help distinguish between a cancerous mass and a fluid-filled cyst, which is not cancer.
  • MRI: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging procedure uses magnetic fields to produce a detailed image of the breast tissue. Before this procedure, the patient is injected with a a dye.
  • Biopsy: It is used to find out if an abnormal lump in the breast is cancerous. It involves removing a tissue sample from the area of concern in order to be examined by a pathologist.

Treatment

The treatment facilities offered at Fortis, one of the best oncology hospitals in India are among the most advanced in the country, offering specializ The kind of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, the extent to which it has spread, and the size of the tumour. The common treatment options are:

  • Surgery: The different types of surgery are:
    • Lumpectomy: In this procedure, the cancerous part is removed and the surrounding tissue is left in place.
    • Mastectomy: It involves removing the entire breast.
    • Sentinel node biopsy: The surgeon will remove the lymph nodes that are the first to receive the lymph drainage from the tumour.
    • Axillary lymph node dissection: If the sentinel lymph nodes are found to be affected by cancer, then additional lymph nodes may be removed.
    • Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy: The surgeon removes the healthy breat to minimize the risk of getting breast cancer again.
  • Radiation Therapy: The patient is subjected to powerful bursts of radiation to kill the cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: It is a drug treatment used to kill cancer cells. It is advised after the surgery if there is a high risk of the cancer occurring again.
  • Hormone Therapy: In this method, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone hormones is blocked as these can stimulate the growth of the tumours.
  • Medications: Many therapy drugs target the cancer cells that overproduce a protein called Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) and damage them, while sparing the healthy cells.

Early diagnosis is crucial for the treatment of cancer. Therefore it is imperative that one gets regular health check-ups from qualified healthcare personnel to get a head start in combating this disease. Fortis Hospitals is the leading cancer care hospital in Bangalore which has been at the forefront of the fight against cancer by investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure and latest medical techniques in its aim of purging India from the clutches of this disease.

A healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups etc. are some preemptive measures that can be taken or followed to prevent the occurrence. This includes reducing the intake of alcohol or eliminating it altogether, exercising regularly and having generally healthy eating habits.

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