Breast Cancer in Women
Breast cancer is the most widespread cancer, impacting many individuals worldwide and diagnosed in women over fifty. However, it’s essential to know that breast cancer can also affect younger women. Early detection plays a crucial role in improving prognosis and chances of recovery. Breast cancer in men can also occur.
Breast cancer may present with multiple symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms:
- Presence of a lump or thickened area in the breast tissue
- Alteration in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- Nipple discharge potentially accompanied by blood
- Lump or swelling detected in either armpit
- Dimpling observed on the skin of the breasts
- Rash appearing on or around the nipple
- Changes in the nipple’s appearance, such as it becoming indented or sunken
Notably, breast pain is typically unrelated to breast cancer symptoms.
It is crucial to promptly seek medical attention from a healthcare professional if you observe any of these symptoms for proper evaluation.
The exact causes of breast cancer are indeed complex and not fully understood.
Here are some key risk factors that are known to be a cause:
- Breast cancer risks increase with age, especially after 50
- Genetic mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
- Family history of breast cancer in your first-degree relatives
- Previous breast cancer diagnosis
- Hormonal factors, including early menstruation, late menopause, and never having been pregnant or breastfed
- Various lifestyle factors, such as excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, sedentary living, and a high-fat diet
- Radiation Exposure, especially during childhood or adolescence
It’s important to remember that having risk factors doesn’t guarantee the development of breast cancer, and some cases occur without any known risk factors. Regular screening and early detection are crucial for improving outcomes. If you have concerns, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
The diagnosis of breast cancer involves:
- Physical examination of the breasts and surrounding areas.
- Additional tests to determine cancer cell characteristics
- Tests to assess the extent of the disease
Early detection through regular screenings is essential for better outcomes. Discuss screening recommendations with a healthcare provider.
Breast cancer has various types based on cell involvement, characteristics, and receptor presence.
Common types include:
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Abnormal cells confined to milk ducts.
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): Most common type starts in milk ducts and invades surrounding tissue.
- Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC):Originates in milk-producing glands and can spread to other tissues.
- Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC): Lacks estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 protein.
- HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: Overexpresses HER2 protein, grows faster, and targets treatment options.
- Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer:Has estrogen or progesterone receptors, treated with hormone therapy.
Treatment can be before it metastasizes (spreads) to other body areas if the breast cancer is detected earlier.
Treatment typically involves a combination of:
The healthcare team determine the specific treatment plan depending on the individual’s cancer type, stage, and other factors.
Reviewed by-Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 03 June 2023