Breast cancer treatment is done to cure breast cancer, which is counted as one of the most common and most invasive kind cancers present worldwide in women and the leading cause of death of women. As the terminology states, Breast cancer develops in the breast cells whose growth is regulated due to several mutations occurring in the genes and multiplying at an exponential rate. This leads to the formation of a tumor.
In breast cancer, the cancer is present in lobules, which are the milk-producing glands in the women breast or in the ducts of the breast, which are tube-like structure taking the milk produced from the glands to the nipple. Breast Cancer can also be present in the fatty tissue of the breast or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast. Breast Cancer is most prevalent amongst women, however, anyone with breast tissue can suffer from breast cancer and would require breast cancer treatment. Therefore, men are susceptible to breast cancer cases, but in extremely rare cases.
Cancer occurs when changes called mutations take place in genes that regulate cell growth. The mutations let the cells divide and multiply in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. Typically, the cancer forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breast. Lobules are the glands that produce milk, and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also occur in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast.
The uncontrolled cancer cells often invade other healthy breast tissue and can travel to the lymph nodes under the arms. The lymph nodes are a primary pathway that help the cancer cells move to other parts of the body. See pictures and learn more about the structure of the breast.
A tumor is present as a result of the accumulation of cancer cells which grow as a result of DNA mutation of these “once upon a time” healthy cells. Mutations progress and develop over time. Other mutations are caused due to inherent reasons and environmental exposure. The exact cause may sometimes not be clear, however several risks trigger the growth of cancer cells leading to breast cancer. They are:
According to doctors worldwide, 5-10% are linked to gene mutations and are inherited. A number of gene mutations are passed through generations of a family. These mutated genes can increase the likelihood of breast cancer. The well-known breast cancer gene 1 and 2 i.e. BRCA1 and BRCA2. Both on them increase the Irish of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If you have a history of cancer in the family, the doctor might recommend a blood test to identify specific mutations in BRCA or other genes that you are being passed through your family.
There are not many noticeable symptoms of breast cancer in the early stages which can be seen. However, in later stages. most breast cancer symptoms are observed in the form of change in the shape and size of the breast. However, the kinds and the magnitude of these symptoms vary from one woman to another. Here are the most common signs of breast cancer in women.
There are various types of breast cancer. Some are common, while there are also combinations of cancers. Some of the most common types of cancer are as follows:
• Ductal carcinoma in situ: The cells lining the duct line change and become cancerous. DCIS is non-invasive breast cancer and can be cured to a great extent if detected early.
• Invasive ductal carcinoma: This is the most common form of breast cancer which starts in a duct of the breast and invading the surrounding tissue. Stats show that about 80% of invasive breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinoma.
• Invasive lobular carcinoma: This type of breast cancer develops in the lobules. These are not as common as invasive ductal carcinoma. Only 10% of invasive breast cancers are invasive lobular carcinoma.
Less common types include:
Inflammatory breast cancer
Phyllodes tumors of the breast
Paget's disease of the nipple
Metastatic breast cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a benign breast condition, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. They may also request one or more diagnostic tests to help understand what’s causing your symptoms.
Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:
The most common way to see below the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women aged 40 and older get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you may have a tumor or suspicious spot, they will also request a mammogram. If an abnormal area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may request additional tests.
A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst. Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or a breast biopsy. Learn about other tests that can be used to detect breast cancer.
This body scan uses a magnet linked to a computer to create detailed images of the insides of your breasts.
For this test, the doctor removes tissue or fluid from your breast. They look at it under a microscope to check for if cancer cells and, if they’re there, learn which type they are. Common procedures include:
• Fine-needle aspiration
• Core-needle biopsy
• Surgical (open) biopsy
• Lymph node biopsy
• Image-guided biopsy
There are several kinds of Breast cancer treatment that are present which are chosen, alone or in combination. They depend on the type & stage of breast cancer, age, personal preferences and sensitivity towards certain hormones. Here are the most common forms of breast cancer treatment that are either in the form of breast cancer surgery or radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
• Lumpectomy is the most common form of breast cancer surgery which is successfully able to preserve the breast. It is commonly performed on patients with early stages of breast cancer. The surgeon cuts through the breast area to remove the tumor as well as some part of breast tissue. The cut is then sealed with stitches or sutures.
• A mastectomy is another breast cancer surgery where the full breast is removed as a result of heavy tumor present. In some cases, the skin may be preserved while only the nipple is removed.
• Chemotherapy is another common form of breast cancer treatment which is done over several weeks via administration of drugs via several kinds of injections to kill the cancer cells: drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA), or via intraperitoneal (IP)
• Radiotherapy is a breast cancer treatment that uses radiation in the diseased area. This also requires several weeks to make the treatment effective.
• Targeted drug therapy includes administering the patient with a number of drugs that will particularly hit the cancer cells and its constituents. The treatment is usually performed in combination with chemotherapy.
The breast cancer treatment and early breast cancer diagnosis usually give the women a breast cancer survival rate of 100% since it is not very severe. However, the breast cancer survival rate at later stages such as stage 4 breast cancer is 22% after surviving for about 4-5 years.
India has now become a hub of most medical treatment owing to the top-notch cancer surgeons along with the premium hospitals and the amenities like breast cancer screening & breast cancer treatment. The breast cancer treatment in India is cost-effective in comparison to the much expensive treatment in countries like USA, UK, Australia.