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Breast cancer is a form of cancer which develops from the breast tissue. Breast cancer is indicated by signs such as a lump in the breast, changes in breast shape, fluid flowing from the nipple, dimpling of skin, or the development of red scaly patches. Breast cancer is a fatal form of cancer in women and immediate diagnosis is required on observing the symptoms.
Diagnosis of breast cancer
Other than the regular breast screening, the diagnosis of breast cancer involves the following steps and methods:
- Seeing your general practitioner (GP): It is very important to visit your GP soon after noticing the symptoms of breast cancer. Your GP will examine you properly and in case your symptoms need more assessment, he/she will refer you to a breast cancer clinic.
- Mammogram and breast ultrasound: You will be required to have a mammogram, as recommended by a specialist breast unit. This is an X-ray of the breasts. An ultrasound scan may also be required. Breast ultrasound should be undertaken only if you are less than 35 years of age. This is because, young women have denser breasts and a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in the diagnosis of breast cancer. In ultrasound, high frequency sound waves are used for obtaining an image of your breasts. It is observed to notice any abnormality or lumps. A breast ultrasound is also important for determining whether a lump is solid or contains liquid.
- Biopsy: In this diagnosis process, a sample of the tissue cells is taken from the breasts and tested under a microscope to find out if it is cancerous. A scan and needle test for the lymph nodes present in your armpit is also done to check whether they have also been affected. A biopsy is undertaken in several ways, depending upon the condition and severity. A needle aspiration biopsy is used for testing a sample of your breast cells without the removal of the tissues. This is the most common form of biopsy and it is also used for draining a small fluid-filled lump or benign cyst. During the process, you will be given a local anesthetic. Usually, a needle biopsy is carried out guided by an X-ray, ultrasound and an MRI scan as well. This helps in distinguishing it from non-invasive changes such as ductal carcinoma in situ.
Another form of biopsy used for the diagnosis of breast cancer is called vacuum assisted biopsy or mammotome biopsy. In this process, a needle gets attached to a suction tube, which helps in obtaining the sample and for clearing the bleeding.
My wife aged 28, diagnosed with breast cancer with stage 3B. Initially, they have given 5 neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed with modified radical mastectomy with LD flap reconstruction on 9th of this month. Surgeon, told that everything is fine and there was no treatment for 1 month but our doctor told there is large gap after surgery and started 6 chemo cycle yesterday and told as the wound is wet the disease will come back. He also told that as the gap is large he cannot give radiation therapy. Again today he told he can start radiation after 2 weeks. I am unable to understand her situation.
Can Physiotherapy Cure cervical disc prolapse and L5 S1 Disc bulge.I am suffering from Neck pain for the Past 6 years
Age 51 years male. Slip disc happened jan'2010 and get to normal after 4 years doing only exercise till now and used lumbo scrarol belt when out of home. Due to filling uneasy during walking, a tmt brace protocol suggested. Is it ok to do the test.
Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. Mainly it occurs in females but less than 1% of all the breast cancer cases develop in males. The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. It can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs and to the brain.
With more reliable early detection methods as well as the trend towards less invasive surgery, there is hope that even more women with breast cancer will be treated successfully and will go on to resume their normal lives.
Signs & Symptoms
It is painless, especially, during the early stage. Watch out for the following changes in the breast:
- A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the axilla.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A change in the colour or appearance of the skin of the breast such as redness, puckering or dimpling.
- Bloody discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the nipple or areola such as scaliness, persistent rash or nipple retraction (nipple pulled into the breast).
Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.
Being a woman puts you at risk of getting breast cancer. There are certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of them have been listed below:
- The risk increases with age; most cases of breast cancer develop after the age of 50
- Genetic alterations in certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of breast cancer
- Being overweight
- Early menarche (onset of menstruation before the age of 12)
- Late menopause (after the age of 55)
- Never had children
- Late childbearing
- No breast feeding
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for a long period of time
However, most women who have breast cancer have none of the above risk factors. Likewise, not having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.
Early Detection and Screening
More treatment options are available when breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and hence the chances of recovery is also higher. So regular breast screening is important for early detection even if there are no symptoms. Following are the ways of screening:
- Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Perform BSE once a month about a week after your menses are over. If you no longer menstruate, choose a date each month which is easy to remember e.g. your date of birth or anniversary.
- Clinical Breast Examination: Get a breast specialist to examine your breast once a year if you are 40 years and above.
- Mammogram: Go for a screening mammogram once a year if you are 40 to 49 years old and once every two years if you are 50 years and above even if you do not have any symptom. It is not recommended for younger women (less than 40 years of age) as they have dense breasts, making it difficult for small changes to be detected on a mammogram. So ultrasonography of the breasts is advisable to them.
Types of Breast cancer
- Non-Invasive Breast cancer: These are confined to the ducts within the breasts. They are known as Ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).
- Invasive Breast cancer: It occurs when cancer cells spread beyond the ducts or lobules. Cancer cells first spread to the surrounding breast tissue and subsequently to the lymph nodes in the armpit (Axillary lymph nodes). These cells can also travel to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs or brain and hence known as metastatic breast cancer.
Making A Diagnosis
If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, you should see a doctor immediately. He will examine you clinically and may ask you to undergo some tests so that a definitive diagnosis can be made. Further, the staging work up is done to find out the stage of the disease and management accordingly.
Treatment of breast cancer may include various methods such as surgery with or without breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Treatment options offered, depend upon the number of factors such as the stage of cancer and likelihood of cure, your general health and your preference. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am 38 years old man having back pain lasting for 20 days from mild to severe in left hip side. In consultation to orthopedic surgeon and after MRI one doctor told me the disease sciatica and another its slip disc. MRI of LS SPINE report says the result of AP diameter L1-L2=15, L2-L3=08, L3-L4=15, L4-L5=10 , L5-S1=09 Impression: 1) Degenerative DISC DISEASE with generalised disc bulge at L3-L4. Please tell.
I have a Acl tear in my left knee doctor advised for an operation should I go for it I am a athlete and 21 year old male.
Cancer of the kidneys is amongst the ten most common types of Cancer. There are many types of renal cancer with Renal cell carcinoma being the most common amongst them. Renal cancer is said to be triggered by a genetic mutation but the cause for this mutation is yet unknown. While kidney cancer appears suddenly in some cases, in others it is inherited from the parents. Here are 4 things you should know about cancer of the kidneys.
Along with a mutation of the genes which is beyond our control, some lifestyle factors can also increase a person’s risk of suffering from renal cancer. Some of these factors are:
An early diagnosis can make the treatment of renal cancer much easier than if it is left undiagnosed. Hence, it becomes important to recognise the symptoms of this disease. Common renal cancer symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- A lump on either side of the abdomen
- Persistent pain on one side of the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms are common to a number of other diseases as well and hence if you experience them, it is best to get yourself checked out by a doctor. In order to confirm a diagnosis, your doctor is likely to ask for blood tests, urine tests, an ultrasound and a CT scan or an MRI. In most cases, your doctor will also schedule a biopsy to check for cancer cells in the kidney tissue.
Stages of kidney cancer
Once cancer has been diagnosed, your doctor will need to determine the extent of damage caused in order to find the best form of treatment for the disease. Stages of kidney cancer are determined by the size of the tumour and on how much it has spread from the original location. There are four stages of kidney cancer.
Stage I – When the cancer cells are restricted to the kidneys and the tumour is no bigger than 3” in diameter
Stage II – The tumour has grown bigger in size but is still restricted to the kidney
Stage III – The tumour may be big or small but has spread to at least one lymph node or has affected the blood vessels
Stage IV – The cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs or the tumour has grown through the fatty layer and outer fibrous layer of the kidney.
Kidney cancer can be cured easily if detected in the early stages by removing the tumour and adjacent tissue or the entire kidney if need be. Removing one kidney is not fatal as a person can live a healthy life with a single kidney.