#KFMCARES Breast cancer a reality
NOTE :Regular screenings are important to reduce the risks of breast cancer.
The first symptoms of breast cancer usually appear as an area of thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast or an armpit.
Other symptoms include:
- pain in the armpits or breast that does not change with the monthly cycle
- pitting or redness of the skin of the breast, similar to the surface of an orange
- a rash around or on one of the nipples
- discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood
- a sunken or inverted nipple
- a change in the size or shape of the breast
- peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple
Most breast lumps are not cancerous. However, women should visit a doctor for an examination if they notice a lump on the breast.
A doctor stages cancer according to the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
- Stage 0:Known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the cells are limited to within the ducts and have not invaded surrounding tissues.
- Stage 1:At this stage, the tumor measures up to 2 centimeters (cm) across. It has not affected any lymph nodes, or there are small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2:The tumor is 2 cm across, and it has started to spread to nearby nodes, or is 2–5 cm across and has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3:The tumor is up to 5 cm across, and it has spread to several lymph nodes or the tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to a few lymph nodes.
- Stage 4:The cancer has spread to distant organs, most often the bones, liver, brain, or lungs.
The early warning signs of breast cancer
After puberty, a woman’s breast consists of fat, connective tissue, and thousands of lobules. These are tiny glands that produce milk for breastfeeding. Tiny tubes, or ducts, carry the milk toward the nipple.
Cancer causes the cells to multiply uncontrollably. They do not die at the usual point in their life cycle. This excessive cell growth causes cancer because the tumor uses nutrients and energy and deprives the cells around it.
Breast cancer usually starts in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. From there, it can spread to other parts of the body.
The exact cause of breast cancer remains unclear, but some risk factors make it more likely. It is possible to prevent some of these risk factors.
- Age 2. Genetics 3. A history of breast cancer or breast lumps 4. Dense breast tissue 5. Estrogen exposure and breastfeeding 6. Body weight 7. Alcohol consumption 8. Radiation exposure 9. Hormone treatments
There are several different types of breast cancer, including:
- Ductal carcinoma:This begins in the milk duct and is the most common type.
- Lobular carcinoma:This starts in the lobules.
Invasive breast cancer occurs when the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue. Noninvasive breast cancer develops when the cancer remains inside its place of origin and has not yet spread.
A doctor often diagnoses breast cancer as the result of routine screening or when a woman approaches her doctor after detecting symptoms.
Several diagnostic tests and procedures help to confirm a diagnosis.
The doctor will check the breasts for lumps and other symptoms. During the examination, the person may need to sit or stand with their arms in different positions, such as above their head or by their sides.
Mammogram: This is a type of X-ray that doctors commonly use during an initial breast cancer screening. It produces images that can help a doctor detect any lumps or abnormalities.
Ultrasound: This scan uses sound waves to help a doctor differentiate between a solid mass and a fluid-filled cyst.
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) combines different images of the breast to help a doctor identify cancer or other abnormalities. A doctor may recommend an MRI as a follow-up to a mammogram or ultrasound. Doctors sometimes use them as a screening tool for those at higher risk of breast cancer.
Biopsy:In a biopsy, the doctor extracts a sample of tissue and sends it for laboratory analysis.
Treatment will depend on several factors, including:
- the type and stage of the cancer, the person’s sensitivity to hormones, the age, overall health, and preferences of the individual.
The main treatment options include: radiation therapy, surgery, biological therapy, or targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy. Factors affecting the type of treatment a person has will include the stage of the cancer, other medical conditions, and their individual preference.
Surgery; If surgery is necessary, the type will depend on both the diagnosis and individual preference. Types of surgery include: Lumpectomy, Mastectomy, Sentinel node biopsy, Axillary lymph node dissection, Reconstruction:
Radiation therapy; A person may undergo radiation therapy around a month after surgery. Radiation involves targeting the tumor with controlled doses of radiation that kill any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy; A doctor may prescribe cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells if there is a high risk of recurrence or spread. Sometimes, a doctor may choose to administer chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor and make its removal easier.
Hormone blocking therapy; Doctors use hormone blocking therapy to prevent hormone sensitive breast cancers from returning after treatment. Hormone therapy may be used to treat estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and progesterone receptor (PR)-positive cancers.
Biological treatment; Targeted drugs can destroy specific types of breast cancer. Treatments for breast and other cancers can have severe adverse effects. When deciding on a treatment, people should discuss the potential risks with a doctor and look at ways to minimize the side effects.