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Breast Cancer – Treatment and Prognosis

 In global terms breast cancer accounts for 22% of all cancers in women, that is why in developed countries over a certain age breast cancer scanning is compulsory. Early diagnostics and treatment result in very good outcomes, but recovery rates also depend on the type of cancer and the geographical location. In the past years breast cancer has received a great attention both by the medical community and the media, which gave impetus to massive research in the field.

Who Are At Risk?

  • Women over 40.
  • Long-term smoking might increase risks by as much as 50%.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • High-fat diet, obesity.
  • Genetic susceptibility.

The occurrence of cancer can be predicted when genetic factors overlap with external inducing factors.

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How Does Breast Cancer Begin?

Healthy cells divide only a limited number of times and in all their lives stay where they belong. When their time comes, they commit ‘suicide‘. Exactly these abilities are lost in cancerous cells during their complex mutation process. Normal cells in the breast can begin to multiply uncontrollably in the milk ducts or in the milk-producing glands forming a tumor, which can further spread to the lymph nodes or to other organs.

What Are The Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

In the early stages you might not experience any symptom, but the following signs can herald breast cancer:

  • Lump palpable in the breast tissue or in the armpit (do not always herald breast cancer, less than 20% of lumps are cancerous)
  • Change in the tissue and size of the breast.
  • Dimples in the skin.
  • Change in the color of the skin.
  • Increased sensitivity.
  • Nipples change: rashes, inversion, flaking skin, discharge.
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss.
  • Pain and swelling in the armpit or the collarbone.
  • Signs of inflammatory breast cancer: swelling, itching, pain, redness.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Once the symptoms identified and physical examination is completed further imaging and lab tests can specify if the cancer is benign, borderline or malignant. Mammography is a reliable way to determine the nature of lumps, whether it is a cancer or only a cyst. Afterwards biopsy is taken and the sample is analyzed microscopically.

Biopsy options vary:

  • By fine needle aspiration the doctor takes a fluid sample from the lump. Bloody fluid can be an alarming sign and must be sent to further analysis.
  • Other possibility is core biopsy, in which a part of the breast lump is removed.
  • In case of excisional biopsy the whole lump is removed.
  • Ultrasound and MRI are also frequently used reliable diagnostic methods.

A complete diagnosis need to settle the flowing factors about breast cancer:

  1. Grade of differentiation from normal cells.
  2. Stage
    1. Stage 0 refers to a pre-cancer condition.
    2. Stages 1-3 indicate that there is a tumor and it has spread to the lymph nodes.
    3. Stage 4 means that the cancer is already metastatic.
  3. Receptor status signals whether or not cancerous cells have hormone receptors.
  4. DNA testing of cancerous cells to compare them to normal cells.
  5. Which part of the breast the cancer originated from.

Breast Cancer Treatment

Although it depends on the stage and type of cancer, treatment usually includes breast cancer surgery that is followed by chemotherapy.

  • Surgical removal of the cancer and part of the breast tissue is a physical and psychological trauma for many women, but in some stages, only a very aggressive intervention helps. Mastectomy is the full removal of the breast, which is usually followed by a breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Radiation – After breast cancer surgery as a complementary treatment radiotherapy is applied to destroy residue tumor cells that might have survived after surgery. It is estimated to reduce recurrence chances by 50-60%.

There are several options for medical breast cancer treatment.

  • Chemotherapy is the most efficient in 2-4 stage cancers, however there is a growing public concern about its adverse side effects. One contra is that it indistinctly destroys cells, cancerous or healthy.
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Immunotherapy

How To Reduce Risks?

  • Control your weight.
  • Breastfeed your children.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Include Omega 3-6 fatty acids in your diet. 

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Reviews:
on 04/01/2013
5 / 5 stars
Melissa Moore
Breat Cancer
I'm Melissa from Liverpool, eight months ago I felt severe pain in my armpit , it didn't go away. I went to my gynecologist who sent me to do all the check ups. Unfortunately I was diagnosed of having breat cancer. I'm only 39 years old, and plan on living for at least another 40 years ! After sorting out all the options including here at home and overseas, I decided to have surgery in Belgium. I simply couldn'tt afford the price of breast surgery in the U.K, and Belgium surgeons are well-trained. Luckily I caught it on time and after surgery and a short chemo treatment I came back home. I have a follow up with my gynecologist to be on the safe side. Thank you onlinemedical tourism for providing me optional hospitals
U.K.
Reviews:
on 09/26/2012
5 / 5 stars
Pazeeka Gabol
Breast Cancer
This website clearly states and summs up everything there is to know about breast cancer. My mother had breast surgery due to breast cancer , I found it intereseting to read
Pakistan

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