Breast cancers are common cancers among women from all across the world. Early and prompt diagnosis and subsequent correct medical treatment can save many precious lives.In this blog we try to address common questions about breast cancers and their treatments.
Although breast cancer is common in women it can rarely affect men too. If you are a woman and above 50 years of age and feel that you have developed some lump in breast tissues and have changes in the texture of your breast skin, if you have a relative in your family who was diagnosed with breast cancer, you must see a doctor for a diagnosis.
The most common breast cancer symptoms could be:
You have a higher chance of getting breast cancer if you have the following risk factors:
Combination of these factors increases risk of your being affected with breast cancer in future. It is important to note that Some of the women who were diagnosed with breast cancers never had any of the above mentioned risk factors and many other women who have many of these risk factors never had breast cancer.
Women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer must undergo periodic breast cancer screening for early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Although being a woman , ageing normally , a family history of breast cancer and genetic factors responsible for breast cancers are not something that you can change but there are some changes that you can make to lower your chances of getting a breast cancer.
You can make following changes to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.
Living a healthy and balanced life will reduce your risk of breast cancer and God forbid , if you get breast cancer the chances of cure and survival are much better.
What is self breast examination, is it helpful in preventing breast cancer ?
Doing regular self examination of your breasts for any abnormal changes will not prevent breast cancer but paves way for early diagnosis and better treatment outcome.
Although not all abnormalities or changes in breast observed during self breast examination turns out to be breast cancer. In majority of cases it turns out to be a benign cause. But any new changes or abnormality observed during self breast examination will make you see your doctor and your doctor will confirm if it is breast cancer by asking you to do some diagnostic tests.
Self breast examination involve standing in front of a mirror and closely observing your breasts for any changes in breast cancer skin or texture changes , feeling the breast tissues with your fingers to know if you have any mass or lump in breast or in the armpit area. If there is any discrepancy in either of the breast.
Usually breast cancers are diagnosed when a person observe any new changes like a lump or hardness in breast tissues or change in the skin and texture of breast and discuss the observation with a doctor who does some diagnostic tests for confirming breast cancer diagnosis.
Early diagnosis of breast cancers offers a better prognosis.
When do i see a doctor if i suspect that i have breast cancer ?
If you observe any changes in breast during breast self examination , above 50 years of age , have a family history of breast cancer or observe any of the symptoms of breast cancers discussed earlier in this blog , Immediately see your doctor .
What tests my doctor need to do to confirm breast cancer diagnosis ?
On suspicion of breast cancer , your treating doctor will do a physical examination , take your family history and recommend following tests for confirming the diagnosis:
What are different types of breast biopsies to confirm breast cancers ?
Biopsy is the confirmatory test for diagnosing breast cancers. Different types of breast cancer biopsies are done by the doctors to confirm the diagnosis.
Biopsy is the actual confirmatory test for diagnosis of breast cancer , it also confirms the type of breast cancer you may have and breast cancer treatment is decided on that.
How my doctor will decide about stage of my breast cancer ?
Staging of a breast cancer is done on grounds of size of tumor , extent of spread of tumor ( Localized or spread to lymph nodes , whether it has metastasized to any other surrounding or distant organs), types of cells of breast involved , expression of hormone receptors, and biomarkers.
There are two ways to determine the stage of breast cancer.
The stage provides a common way of describing the cancer, so doctors can work together to plan the best treatments.
Depending on stage of cancer , doctors will decide about treatment course. Following treatment modalities are used for treating breast cancers.
Surgery for treating breast cancer:
Breast cancer surgery may involve lumpectomy , Mastectomy , Modified radical mastectomy , breast onco-plasty and breast reconstruction surgery.
Chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment:
Chemotherapy is administering chemotherapeutic medicines to treat breast cancers. It can be given prior to surgery as Neo adjuvant chemotherapy to reduces size of tumor , also given if lymph nodes are involved for a less extensive surgery.
Chemotherapy is also given post surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and recurrence ( coming back ) of breast cancer. Chemotherapy when given post breast cancer surgery is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles like it may be given weekly , every 14 days , 21 days or every 28 days.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer:
Radiation therapy is also advised for breast cancer patients. Radiation therapy is usually given once your breast cancer surgery wounds are completely healed.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer is given either as external beam radiation therapy ( EBRT) or as internal radiation therapy ( Brachytherapy).
Your treating doctor will recommend the type depending on your breast cancer stage and kind of breast cancer surgery you have undergone.
External beam radiation therapy is given in sessions like 5 days a week and two days rest per week.
Targeted drug therapy for breast cancer:
Targeted drug therapy is used for those patients whose biopsy results shows affinity for certain hormones. Like for HER2 receptor positive breast cancers a targeted drug therapy is used either alone or along with the routine chemotherapy for breast cancer patients.
Immunotherapy for breast cancer:
Cancer immunotherapy is one of the most significant advancement in cancer treatments.
Cancer immunotherapy involves administration of immunotherapy agents that boosts one's own immunity to recognise and destroy breast cancer cells. Immunotherapy has demonstrated impressive anti tumor activity and durable clinical outcome in triple negative breast cancers.
Tuesday, 20 June 2023
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