October is breast cancer awareness month and we at Aashara are here to educate you folks about Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer is commonly caused when certain cells in the breast become malignant and form a tumour. Breast Tumours generally appear in the lobules or in the milk ducts that lead to the nipple. It is second to the number of cancer deaths after the lung and is the most common form of cancer among women in India. One out of eight Indian women typically gets breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast cancer if spotted early can be treated or controlled if found early of treated right away.
Here are some signs of breast cancer
Swelling or dimpling of the breast
Pain or tenderness of the nipple
Lump or thickening that does not go away
Who gets breast cancer?
Anyone is susceptible to cancer and female over the age of 59 stands more chance. Women who have never borne children, whose mothers and sister have breast cancer, who have inherited mutation are more susceptible and research also shows that certain genes are genetically linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. Men also have chances of getting breast cancer but the chances are comparatively lesser. Mutations or the changes in the gene increase your chance of getting breast cancer from 60 to 85 percent most of the time. Genetic screening can be done to help the woman find out whether she has the gene. What causes breast cancer is unknown and screening at Aashara at the right time can help you to find out whether you have the disease and get treated at the earliest stage.
How to determine if you have breast cancer
There are “N” numbers of ways to determine if you have breast cancer. Firstly you take an exam with a doctor. Ultrasound can be done to find the location of the tumor. Biopsies can be conducted which includes needle breast biopsy such as core needle biopsy or fine needle biopsy. A small piece of a tumour is taken and examined by a pathologist in a biopsy. Excision of the lump is done at the end.
Stages of breast cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most progressive diseases that advance through several stages. Doctors use the staging system to determine the extent of cancer and the various treatment options
Stage 0: This is the first stage commonly called Non Invasive carcinoma or Ductal Carcinoma in situ. The Cancer has not yet spread from the duct to the surrounding breast tissues.
Stage I: This is the next stage where the cancer cells have not spread beyond the breast and the tumor is said to be no more than 2 cms in size.
Stage II: Here the cancer is 2 cms or smaller and has not spread to the underarm lymph nodes or the tumor grows bigger from 2 cms to smaller than 5 cms and has not spread to lymph nodes under the arm.
Stage III: It is also called as locally advanced cancer which means a tumour in the breast is larger than 5 cms and cancer has more considerably involved the auxiliary lymph nodes which cause them to get attached to each other or to other structures near the breastbone or other tissues such as the skin of the breast or the chest wall.
Stage IV. A tumor would have spread from the breast to Stage IV cancer means a tumour has spread from the breast to other parts of the body, such as the brain, lungs, bones, and liver.
Recurrent Cancer: means that the disease reappears after initial treatment even though treatment was at first successful. This is because of undetected cancer cells that remained in the body or the disease spread even before the treatment began.