Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is most common cancer among Indian females with age adjusted incidence of 25.8 per 100,000 women. Earlier cervical cancer was most common cancer in Indian woman but now the incidence of breast cancer has surpassed cervical cancer.

1. Breast Cancer Prevention:
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help in preventing cancer.
Risk Factors
  • Older age
  • Personnel history of breast cancer or benign breast diseases.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Dense breast
  • Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in body.
  • Taking Hormonal therapy for symptoms of menopause.
  • Radiation therapy to the breast or chest.
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • Older age
Protective factors for breast cancer:
  • Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by body (early pregnancy, breast feeding).
  • Taking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or aromatase inhibitors.
  • Risk reducing mastectomy.
  • Ovarian ablation.
  • Getting enough exercise.
It is not clear whether following affect the risk of breast cancer:
  • Oral contraceptive
  • Environment

2. Symptoms of breast cancer:
  • Lump in breast or armpit.
  • Change in skin texture (puckering or dimpling).
  • Colour changes (breast may look red or inflamed)
  • Changes in nipple (one of them will become turned in and thickened)
  • Nipple discharge (usually bloody)
  • An “orange peel” texture to the breast skin

Apart from thorough history taking and physical examination following tests are helpful in confirming diagnosis of breast cancer and doing clinical staging
  • Core biopsy/ Fine needle aspiration cytology.
  • Mammography
  • CT Scan of thorax and abdomen
  • Bone scan
  • MRI Breast
  • PET Scan

4.Treatment of breast cancer:
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments can vary. However, there are some common practices doctors and specialists use to combat breast cancer:

A lumpectomy is when your doctor removes the tumour while leaving your breast intact.
A mastectomy is when your doctor surgically removes all of your breast tissue including the tumour and connecting tissue.
Chemotherapy is the most common cancer treatment, and it involves the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs interfere with cells’ ability to reproduce.
Radiation uses X-rays to treat cancer directly.
Hormone and targeted therapy can be used when either genes or hormones play a part in the cancer’s growth.

5.What after treatment of breast cancer?
After completing treatment for breast cancer you have to come for regular follow up at interval of 3 months for initial 3 years and then 6 monthly up to five years. Despite adequate treatment of breast cancer chances of recurrence exist. Purpose of follow up is to pick up recurrence at early stage so that adequate salvage treatment can be implemented timely.