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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!
Dr. breast cancer h to chemo. ke ilawa koi Option hai because chemo cant. Be tolerated and wound h bhar so Dr. says operation not available
Is spect scan and bone scan are same or different. Dr. advice for spect scan. Having prb of disc dessication at l4l5s1 level from last 4 years worse. Sitting standing problem. Walking pain worse. Only feel good while sleeping. Is it necessary spect scan. .i already did mri. which shows disc dessication and scoliosis toward left side. Left leg paining.
Dear sir, my age is 36 years I have hypothyroid and using 75 mg tablets, recently I have taken mri the report is: posterior disc osteophytes at multiple levels, causing bilateral moderate neural foramen encroachment at C5-6 level, bilateral minimal neural foramen encroachment at 6-7 level. C 5 -6 disc disc shows posterior protrusion along with osteophytes causing bilateral moderate neural foramen encroachment. C6- 7 disc shows bilateral paracentral protrusion along with osteophytes causing mild thecal sac impingement and bilateral minimal neural foramen encroachment. Please tell me what is the problem and what care I have to take.
I am 19 years old and I am having lower back pain (disc herniation l4-l5. I suffer pain everyday. What shall I do?
I am 27 year boy I have back pain l4 and l5 disk light move. I there any full relief treatment means contact me sir. Back pain person do sex fully or not. After two month marriage fixed so im tired.
I am an advocate and have got sitting job for long hours and walking job too. I am suffer from slip disc. Any treatment?
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here's what you should look for:
Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:
Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Step 2: now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: while you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Step 5: finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
How and why of breast cancer?
Breasts have milk producing glands as well as connective tissue including fat, fibrous tissue, nerves, blood vessels, etc. Milk produced in the glands reaches the exterior through a network of ducts. Most cancers develop in milk producing glands and ducts and later continue to grow and spread to lymph nodes in armpit as well as distant organs.
Warning signs and symptoms:
Given the high incidence of breast cancer, knowing the symptoms helps in early identification. Read on to know more. Pay extra attention if there is a family history.
- Appearance of a lump in the breasts or the armpits
- Any change in the size, shape, or contour of the breasts
- Presence of a watery or bloody discharge from the nipple
- The breast or the nipple turning red
- Sudden thickening of breast tissue or skin that continues for a while
- Change in the feel or look of the skin (dimpling, puckering, scaliness, reddishness, warmth, etc.)
- Hardening of the tissue under the breast skin
- Difference in appearance or feel of one area in comparison with other areas
The presence of any of these or a combination of these symptoms should be an indication for a detailed check-up. As mentioned, early diagnosis helps in improving outcome. Treatment is also easier with early stage of disease. It is also good to know risk factors, which also indicate if you need to watch for symptoms.
- Family history: Breast cancer can run in families, and if you have close relative(s) with breast cancer, watch out for symptoms. Family member or self have a positive test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Family history of other cancers Age Women over the age of 40 years are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Hormones: Increased use of estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Therefore, women who have used birth control pills for long time or are on hormone replacement therapy are at greater risk.
- Abnormal gynaecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones are more predisposed to developing breast cancer. For instance, girls who have start of menstrual cycles before age of 12, get pregnant after 30, and reach menopause after 55. Women with menstrual irregularities including cycles earlier than 26 days and later than 29 days are also likely to have hormonal issues and are, therefore, at higher risk of breast cancer.
- Other factors: Smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity also increase the chances of a woman developing breast cancer."