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Treatment > Breast cancer

Breast cancer

Cancer starts when cells in the body grow rapidly and out of control. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that commences from the breast. Breast cancer is more prevalent in women but it can occur in both men and women.

It usually forms a tumor that can be felt as a lump or seen on an X-ray. However, most breast lumps are benign and not cancerous. These lumps are non-life-threatening but should be checked by a health care professional to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer).

Different people experience different symptoms of breast cancer. If you think, you have any symptoms of breast cancer, be sure to see your health care professional right away.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Some warning signs prevalent in breast cancer are—

  • A new lump is formed in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • A part of the breast has thickening or swelling.
  • Breast skin has irritation or dimpling.
  • There is redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • You feel pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge includes blood, other than breast milk
  • Breast form changes in shape or size
  • Feeling pain in any area of the breast

However, these symptoms could also happen with other conditions that are not cancerous.

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Tests and procedures which are used to diagnose breast cancer include:

  • Breast examination: Breast and lymph nodes in your armpit will be checked by the doctor for any lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Mammogram: X-ray of the breast is conducted for screening.
  • Breast ultrasound: This will determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
  • Biopsy: A sample of breast cells is used for testing.
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI machine is used to create images of the interior of the breast.

Treatment

Your doctor will determine your options for breast cancer treatment. There are various treatments and based upon the type of breast cancer, its stage and grade, size, and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones, the doctor will decide on the type of treatment.

Here are the diverse procedures for Breast Cancer:

Lumpectomy: During a lumpectomy, the surgeon will remove the tumor and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue. For removing smaller tumors, lumpectomy is recommended.

Mastectomy: The doctor removes all of your breast tissue. The breast is removed alongside the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue and some skin, including the nipple and areola. To improve the appearance of the breast, new surgical techniques can be used.

Sentinel node biopsy: The doctor will remove a limited number of lymph nodes. The surgeon will remove the lymph nodes only if cancer is found in lymph nodes.

Axillary lymph node dissection: If a specialist finds cancer in the sentinel lymph nodes, then additional lymph nodes in your armpit can be removed.

Radiation therapy: High-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays are used by the surgeon to kill cancer cells. The radiation therapy can last from three days to six weeks, depending on the treatment.

Chemotherapy: The doctor may suggest chemotherapy if they find that there is a high risk of returning or spreading to another part of your body. The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink the tumor to make it easier to remove with surgery.

Hormone therapy: Breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones are recommended hormone-blocking therapy. This therapy is usually used before or after surgery or other treatments to decrease the chance of your cancer returning.

Targeted therapy drugs: This drug treatment is used to attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells. By targeting the breast cancer cells that overproduce called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, drugs are used to damage cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: The doctor may recommend immunotherapy if you have triple-negative breast cancer, which means that the cancer cells don’t have receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or HER2. Immunotherapy will be combined with chemotherapy so that cancer does not spread to other parts of the body.

Supportive (palliative) care: This specialized form of medical care will provide relief from any pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. This treatment can be used while undergoing any of the above treatments. When this treatment is used alongside other treatments, people with cancer may feel better and live longer.

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