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Important Facts You Must Know About Breast Cancer

High Risk Profile

Intake of alcohol, smoking and obesity increase the risk of breast cancer.

  • A woman is at a higher risk of having breast cancer if there is a history of breast cancer in her family.
  • Women who start with the menstrual cycle at an early age (before 12 years) or achieve menopause at a very late age (after 55 years) are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
  • A woman who had cancer in one breast is at an increased risk of cancerous growth in the second breast.
  • Women who have never experienced childbirth, those who had children after the age of 35 and those who have never breast-fed their babies are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The higher is your exposure to radiations, the greater are your chances of developing breast cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The patient is most likely to first notice a lump in the breast. Lumps in the armpits may also be indicative of breast cancer.

There may be changes in size and shape of the breast. Inversion of the nipple may also be seen. Skin over the breast will look like skin of an orange and also show redness and dimpling. There may be discharge of pus-like fluid from the nipples.

During the advanced stages, the patient may complain of discomfort and pain in the breast, weight loss and swelling of the arm which is next to the breast with cancer.

Diagnosis

Staging for breast cancer is based on the size of the tumour (T), whether or not the tumour has spread to the lymph nodes (N) in the armpits, and whether the tumour has metastasized (M) (i.e. spread to distant sites) and this is called as TNM classification.

Stage 0 is a pre-cancerous condition, stage 1–3 cancers are within the breast or regional lymph nodes and stage 4 cancer is 'metastatic' and has poor prognosis. Thus the survival rate will depend on the type of cancer and its staging.

Breast cancer screening will help in early detection. Clinical examination, selfexamination, mammography and ultrasound are some of the screening methods/tests.

Breast cancer diagnosis will include clinical examination of the breasts, the armpits and the neck and chest region; mammography to identify a breast lump, a breast MRI to better identify the breast lump and a breast ultrasound to know the consistency of the lump. A CT scan may be done to see if there is spread of cancer to other sites.

Biopsy of the breast tissue can be done using fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). Lymph node biopsy will help to detect cancerous spread.

Treatment

A team of breast cancer doctors will include breast cancer surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and plastic surgeons.

The size, stage and growth of the tumor will determine the kind of breast cancer treatment that may be required.


Breast cancer surgery referred to as Mastectomy involves the removal of the tumor along with some of the surrounding, healthy tissue. The whole breast may be removed or only a part of it may be removed depending upon the tumor size and growth.

After breast removal, a cosmetic surgery may be performed for breast reconstruction so as to improve the aesthetic appearance. Some women may opt for breast prosthesis.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be given after the breast cancer surgery. Chemotherapy will kill any cells that are rapidly dividing in the body. Chemotherapy results in temporary hair loss and may also cause digestive troubles. Chemotherapy regimens for treatment of breast cancer can cause early menopause.

Radiotherapy is used to destroy microscopic tumor cells that may have not been removed during surgery.

Radiation and surgery are forms of local treatment whereas chemotherapy is a type of systemic treatment.

Blood tests and mammograms will continue after treatment as well.

Author's Resource Box

Through his articles, youngrin wishes to inform and educate the readers about breast cancer treatment which will benefit those who are looking for useful information. For breast cancer doctors visit breast cancer treatment centers of america http://www.empowereddoctor.com/9971/breast-cancer-treatment-centers-america/.


Article Source: Important Facts You Must Know About Breast Cancer
Author : youngrinpeter

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