Breast Cancer is the most common cancer of females in urban cities. It is a curable disease if detected early. The usual age of presentation is usually after 40 to 50 years of age, though it is becoming common in earlier age as well. This could be due to many factors like late marriages, older age of pregnancy, diet and lifestyle, etc. The usual presentation is a swelling or lump in the breast, not associated with pain. That is the reason why females are advised regular self-breast examination, clinical breast examination and annual mammograms for screening purpose in order to detect early breast cancers. Many times, the breast lump is associated with blood stained discharge from the nipple. There can be skin changes on the breast like thickening, crusting or sometimes itching. If the skin lymphatics get blocked, there may be pitting and or dimpling of the skin too. There may be lumps felt in the armpit felt too. Many times the lump is not noticeable or felt and felt by chance during a bath. These are some of the commonest presentations. The lady should immediately consult a doctor and get evaluated in such scenario. Many women are at increased risk of developing breast cancer like those who have a positive family history especially first degree relatives like mother& sister. Breast cancer is usually a disease of women but 1% of cases are also seen in men.
If a lady feels any such lump she should immediately bring it to the attention of a doctor or oncologist who can do the necessary evaluation and investigations. Breast cancer is curable if detected early, hence the importance!
The primary modality of treatment is surgery followed by chemotherapy and or radiotherapy and or hormonal treatment depending on the report of the specimen after the surgery. Many times if the lump cannot be operated upfront, initially chemotherapy and or targeted therapy can be given to shrink the tumor for better resectability.
People should be aware that having cancer is not the end of life. It can be treated like many other diseases and the most important thing is awareness and early detection for a durable cure.