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Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. In US, it is the second most common cancer to affect women, the first one being skin cancer. The disease has been such a dreadful one that the first thing which crops up on the minds of those diagnosed with the same, is whether they would survive. Nowadays, medical science has made such rapid progress in diagnosing the disease and then coming up with various treatment options, that ones who are diagnosed with cancer have high chances of survival as compared to those, who had to bear the brunt of the dreaded disease and lose their battles due to lack of advanced medical treatment.
Now, we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on breast cancer:
1. Which age group of women is most likely to get breast cancer?
Breast Cancer most often occurs in women who are above 40 years and risk tends to increase with age. There are certain risk factors, some of which can be controlled, which are related to lifestyle, environment, diet, while some factors cannot be controlled, top of which is age.
2. What are the signs and symptoms?
Outward signs of breast cancer are very rare. In case any outward sign does occur, the most probable ones include a lump, area around the nipple having a thickened feeling or skin around the nipple having rashes. Still, even if you come across these signs, they don’t always necessarily mean you have breast cancer, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor as and when you come across these signs.
3. Can breast cancer be prevented?
Unfortunately there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but precautions on the part of women can definitely reduce the risk of getting engulfed by the disease. Lifestyle and environmental factors play huge role in influencing cancerous cells within a person’s body. So, maintaining healthy lifestyle and staying away from alcohol and fatty, spicy foods would go a long way in ensuring that you do not invite the risk of cancer.
4. How often should I do a breast self exam?
Breast Self Exam should be done at least once a month. You can look for any changes in the tissue, changes related to size, shape or a feeling of lump, inversion of nipple, reddish tinge on the breast skin.
5. Is breast cancer inherited?
All kinds of cancers involved changes in a person’s genes. If a woman’s mother, sister or daughter had suffered from cancer, then there is always a chance that the woman would also suffer from the same.
6. Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?
Use of birth control pills for more than five years lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, though due to the low amount of hormones in pills nowadays, the risk is comparatively small.
7. What is preventive mastectomy?
Preventive Mastectomy refers to the removal of one or both breasts so that risk of getting breast cancer is reduced. Women who are at a high risk of breast cancer go for this option.
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C5-6diffuse posterior disc bulge causing thecal sac indentation. C6-7 right para central protrusion indenting the right existing nerve root c2-3'c3-4'c4-5-unremarkable. Impression mild degenerative changes my problem is sir due to this problem my both shoulders are paining too much especially. Right one and they have become two weak.
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Breast Cancer can be detected at various stages. Some women might feel a difference in their breast area, with a lump or kind of a skin rash around the nipple or they could see that their nipple has become inverted, so then the treatment procedures would be different. The different stages of cancer and their respective treatment procedures are discussed below:
Stage I Breast Cancer - Treatment
In this case, breast cancers are at their nascent stage, either they have not spread to the lymph nodes or might have spread to only a small area. Treatment options are as follows:
- Surgery: The main treatment for breast cancer in stage I is surgery. These types of cancers get treatment with either breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. There are some cases when breast reconstruction can also be done along with the surgery to get rid of cancer.
- Radiation therapy: When doctors feel the need to do a breast construction surgery, then radiation therapy is normally given after surgery. This helps in lowering the chance of cancer getting relapsed. Older women, aged close to 70 years, should go for breast reconstruction surgery without radiation therapy, provided the following conditions are true:
- The lump was 2cm or less across and it has been completely removed.
- None of the lymph nodes removed contained cancer.
- The cancer is either ER or PR-positive and hormone therapy is conducted.
- Chemotherapy and other drugs: Women who have either ER or PR-positive hormone receptor, doctors would recommend them to go for hormone therapy. The therapy is given for 5 years. In case the tumor is larger than 1cm across, adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended.
Stage II Breast Cancer-Treatment
This is the stage when cancer has spread to some nearby lymph nodes. The treatment methods followed are:
- Surgery and radiation therapy: This second stage of cancer gets treated with breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. The lymph nodes nearby get checked either with a sentinel lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node dissection. Women, on whom BCS have been conducted, get treated with radiation therapy after surgery.
- Neoadjuvant and adjuvant systemic therapy: This is another method followed for treating stage II cancer. It is a good option for women with large tumors as they shrink the tumor before conducting surgery. Chemotherapy, HER2 targeted drugs and Hormone therapy all form part of treatment in this stage II.
Stage III Breast Cancer – Treatment
In stage III breast cancer, the size of a tumor is more than 5 cm, with cancer spreading on to the nearby lymph nodes. The treatment procedures followed are:
- Neoadjuvant therapy: Generally the stage III cancers are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is also given after surgery, followed by breast reconstruction surgery.
- Starting off with surgery: Another treatment option for this stage is to get started off with surgery. The tumors are quite large and they even grow on to nearby tissues, which means women need to get a mastectomy. Women having large breasts can even go for Breast Reconstruction Surgery, in case cancer has not spread on to the nearby tissues.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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."
Hi, My age 54 have problem in l1, l2,l3, l4 and in l5 bulged I am under treatment. I saw in my MRI report letting large haemangioma is seen in l1 body when I checked in new it tells it is not cancerous and it may be cancerous I am worried when I asked my doctor he said nothing to worry right now there is no problem because of this please tell me what it is exactly whether it will be a problem in future for me.
Detecting a lump on your breasts can be stressful for any women. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer and is said to affect primarily affect women though 1% of breast cancer cases affect men. Breast cancer can be categorized into different types based on their capability to affect surrounding tissues.
The most common amongst these are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
Breast cancer is caused by mutations of a person’s DNA cells. This could be inherited from one’s parents or acquired by an unhealthy lifestyle. These DNA mutations cause cells in the breast tissue to multiply rapidly and turn cancerous. The risk factors for breast cancer can be categorized as modifiable and non-modifiable.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause
- Lack of exercise
Non-modifiable risk factors:
- Family Medical History
- Personal Medical History
- Atypical hyperplasia
- Early start of menstruation cycle
- Presence of dense breast tissue
- Inherited genetic mutations
As with any other type of cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In its early stages, breast cancer is not painful and has negligible symptoms. In most cases, it is detected only by finding a lump on the breast or through a mammography. This lump may also be present in the armpit or above the collar bone. Some of the other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Nipple inversion
- Discharge from the nipples
- Changes in the colour and texture of skin covering the breast
Breast cancer has five stages beginning from 0 and going up to 4. This is based on the size of the tumour, involvement of lymph nodes and whether or not metastasis has occurred.
- Stage 0: At this stage, the tumour does not affect the lymph nodes and has not metastasized. Thus at this stage, it is noninvasive.
- Stage I: In this case the tumour is smaller than 2 cm in diameter and has not spread to any of the surrounding tissues.
- Stage II: In this stage, the cancerous tumours are still fairly small in size but also affect the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage III: These tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter and involve the lymph nodes to a greater extent.
- Stage IV: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the most preferred form of treatment for breast cancer. This may be combined with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy depending on the stage and type of cancer, the patient's overall health, age and personal preferences.