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No Breast Cancer Patient is the same. There are numerous types as well as stages of this disease and timely diagnosis can save a precious life! Breast cancer often begins with cells multiplying uncontrollably in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also start in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other tissues or cells within the breasts. In this article we shall touch upon Breast Cancer Awareness – Symptoms, Stages and Treatment options.

Awareness of Breast Cancer:

Every October marks Breast cancer awareness month. It’s an international campaign and its main purpose is to bring awareness to one of the most dreaded disease in women. Breast Cancer Diagnosis in time can save millions of lives.



After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the World. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women. Cancer organisations promote awareness and Financing of the research into the disease’s cause. Scientific conferences and gatherings of worldwide cancer organisations are also planned in association with awareness campaigns. It empowers women not to be afraid and careless about themselves and seek proper help before it is too late.

Breast Cancer Awareness – Symptoms and Treatment is the most discussed about topic in women health forums.

What is a Pink Bow?

The pink colour used in the shape of a bow is a classic representation of Breast Cancer. Pink Bow is the primary international emblem of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If we go back into history in the 1990s, the pink ribbon was the dominant symbol of support. In October clothes, posters, and Internet sites are decorated with pink colour.

Pink Bow for Hope!

Pink Bow – Breast Cancer Awareness

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer develops when cells in your breast multiply and divide uncontrollably and eventually becoming a clump of tissue known as a tumour. If left untreated, the tumour may expand from the breast to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, or lungs. Breast cancer affects both men and women, though males are less likely to be affected. Breast Cancer Symptoms are subtle and can be caught with careful self-examination.

Some breast cancers, known as ‘carcinoma in situ’ tumours, develop inside the milk ducts or milk-producing lobules of the breast. Other types of ‘invasive’ breast cancer grow within normal breast tissue and can spread to other parts of the body. It is vital to understand the Breast Cancer Awareness – Symptoms and Treatment Options which are available to us. Breast Cancer Diagnosis can go a long way in treating the disease and saving a life.

Breast Cancer Statistics Worldwide:

In 2020, there were 2.3 million cases of breast cancer and 685,000 deaths worldwide. As of the end of 2020, 7.8 million women have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years, making it the most common disease in the world. Breast cancer affects women at any age after puberty in every country, with a rising incidence in later life.

Breast Cancer Worldwide Statistics

Breast Cancer Worldwide Statistics

Causes of Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer develops when cells in the breasts mutate and grow. Exactly what causes breasts cells to mutate isn’t very clear, but certain factors can increase the risk of the onset of breast cancer. Aging and Past History in the family are the biggest contributors to a woman’s breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Diagnosis is essential to stop the spread of the cancer.

Other factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing breast cancer include:

  • Obesity
  • Breast density
  • Menstrual history
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Heavy drinking
  • Previous medical treatments
  • Women whose mother or sister has or had breast cancer may have double the risk.
  • Women with a brother or father who has or had breast cancer also have a higher risk, as do women with a first-degree relative or multiple relatives who have or had ovarian cancer.
  • Women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are at higher risk.
  • Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent are more likely to have the inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

These are some of the indicators which help us getting a better understanding of Breast Cancer Awareness – Symptoms and Treatment available to us.



STAGES OF BREAST CANCER:

Tumours that are big or have spread to adjacent tissues or organs are at a later stage than cancers that are tiny or remain isolated to the breast. Doctors need to know the following information to stage breast cancer:

  • Whether or if the cancer is invasive or noninvasive
  • The size of the tumour
  • Whether the lymph nodes are affected
  • Whether the disease has spread to other organs or tissue
Stages of Breast Cancer

Stages of Breast Cancer

Five Breast Cancer Stages –

Breast cancer Stages can be defined into Five main ones.

STAGE 0:

DCIS is the zero stage. DCIS cancer cells are restricted to the breast ducts and have not migrated to adjacent tissue.

STAGE 1:

Stage 1A:

The main tumour is no more than 2 cm broad. Lymph nodes are unaffected.

Stage 1B:

Cancer is discovered in surrounding lymph nodes. There is either no tumour in the breast or the tumour is less than 2 cm in size.

STAGE 2:

Breast Cancer Stage – 2

Stage 2A:

The tumour is less than 2 cm in size and has spread to one to three surrounding lymph nodes, or it is between 2 and 5 cm in size and has not migrated to any lymph nodes.

Depending on the physical exam and other indicators, the surgeon will generally remove between five to thirty nodes during a traditional axillary dissection. The total number of lymph nodes “involved” (showing proof of cancer growth) is more important than the spread of cancer in any one node.

Stage 2B:

The tumour is 2 to 5 cm in size and has spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes, or it is greater than 5 cm in size and has not migrated to any lymph nodes.

STAGE 3:

Breast cancer stage 3

Stage 3A:

The tumour has spread to four to nine axillary lymph nodes. Any size primary tumour can exist.

Tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter. Cancer has progressed to one to three axillary lymph nodes.

Stage 3B:

A tumour has infiltrated the chest wall or skin and may or may not have infected up to 9 lymph nodes at this stage.

Stage 3C:

The cancer spreads in axillary lymph nodes, lymph nodes around the collarbone, or internal mammary nodes in 10 or more cases.

STAGE 4:

A tumour of any size can develop in Breast Cancer Stage 4. Its cancer cells have expanded to local lymph nodes, as well as distant organs.

RISK FACTORS:

Women Supporting each other

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

The following factors increase the likelihood of having breast cancer:

Age

Breast cancer risk increases with age. Breast cancer has a 0.06 % probability of developing in the next decade at the age of 20. This proportion rises to 3.84 per cent by the age of 70.

Genetics

A person with particular mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is more likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both. These genes are inherited by people. Mutations in the TP53 gene have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

A person’s risk of having breast cancer increases if a close relative has or has had breast cancer.

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SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS:

Breast Cancer Self Examination

Breast Cancer Self Examination

 

  1. Breast discomfort
  2. Red colour breast skin
  3. Breast swelling in its entirety or part
  4. Breast milk nipple discharge
  5. Skin peeling or scaling on your nipple
  6. A rapid change in your breast shape or size
  7. Nipple inverted
  8. A bulge beneath your arm
  9. Hair Loss
  10. Skin Discolouration and Dehydration
  11. Weakness and Fatigue
  12. Loss of Appetite
  13. Vomiting
  14. Drastic Weight Loss

If you have any of these symptoms, it does not necessarily indicate that you have breast cancer. Nonetheless, if you discover a lump in your breast or experience other symptoms, consult your doctor for additional evaluation and testing. Breast Cancer Diagnosis can lead to fast detection and removal of the lump.

TREATMENT OF BREAST CANCER:

Treatment of Breast Cancer

Treatment of Breast Cancer

The stage of your breast cancer, the extent to which it has spread and the size of the tumour all play a role in deciding the type of therapy you will require. Axillary lymph nodes involvement is one of the key factors for cancer staging, treatment, and prognosis. Breast Cancer Diagnosis is essential to decide the line of treatment.

To begin, your doctor will establish the size, stage, and grade of your cancer. The grade of your cancer indicates how probable it is to develop and spread. Following that, you may talk about your therapy choices.

The most frequent therapy for breast cancer is surgery. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, and hormone therapy are all options for many patients.

1) SURGERY:

Breast cancer can be removed using a variety of surgical procedures, including:

Lumpectomy:

The tumour and some surrounding tissue are removed during a lumpectomy, leaving the remainder of the breast intact.

Mastectomy:

A surgeon removes a whole breast during this treatment. A double mastectomy involves the removal of both breasts.

Sentinel Node Biopsy:

This surgery involves the removal of a few lymph nodes that receive drainage from the tumour. The lymph nodes will be examined. If they do not have cancer, you may not need to have more lymph nodes removed.

Axillary Lymph Node Dissection:

The lymph nodes in the armpits are called axillary lymph nodes. Our body has about 20 to 40 bean-shaped axillary lymph nodes located in the underarm area. Axillary lymph nodes are located near your breasts. They are often the first place to which breast cancer spreads if it moves beyond the breast tissue. If cancer cells are found in lymph nodes retrieved during a sentinel node biopsy, your doctor may remove additional lymph nodes.



2) RADIATION THERAPY:

Around one month following surgery, a person may get radiation therapy. It entails delivering regulated amounts of radiation to the tumour, which kills any residual cancer cells.

3) CHEMOTHERAPY:

Chemotherapy is a medical treatment that is used to kill cancer cells. Some patients may receive chemotherapy on its own, but it is frequently combined with other therapies, including surgery. This is known as adjuvant treatment. Others may have induction chemotherapy to shrink the tumour first, followed by surgery.

In some circumstances, doctors will provide chemotherapy prior to surgery. The therapy is intended to reduce the tumour so that the operation will be less intrusive.

Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY:

Hormone-blocking therapy is used by doctors to prevent hormone-sensitive breast cancer from recurring following treatment. The treatment may aid in the treatment of oestrogen receptor-positive and progesterone receptor-positive tumours.

For those who are not candidates for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, hormone-blocking treatment may be the sole alternative.

Hormone-blocking drugs include the following:

  • Tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex)
  • Aromatase inhibitors
  • Ovarian suppression ablation
  • The hormone goserelin (Zoladex)

This form of therapy may have an impact on fertility.

Breast cancer is the top cause of death from cancer among women. The 5-year survival rate, however, is high. It is more Common than Cervical Cancer or Ovarian Cancer. A person may be able to avoid breast cancer by living a healthy lifestyle and consulting with their doctor on the optimum screening schedule to begin at age 40. Breast Cancer Diagnosis depends on self awareness. So don’t hesitate to visit a doctor if you feel something amiss.

Shivani Kapur

A Writer at Heart, an Engineer by Qualification, and a Soap Crafter by Profession, Shivani does not fear to speak her mind. This blog is a reflection of some of her thoughts, personal experiences mixed with some well researched information. Please feel free to reach out to her (shivanikapur@gustchimes.com) if you have any questions or concerns :-)

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