Breast Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments
Cancer is a life-threatening condition that can cause many issues in various body parts. Among the different types of cancers, breast cancer can be described as a severe condition seen mostly in women for various reasons. As the cancer cells mutate and grow out of control, it becomes difficult to detect and treat, depending on the person’s health condition. Breast cancer happens when the cells in the breast grow and divide uncontrollably. It can create a mass of tissue called a tumor that can continue to grow and result in new tumors.
If you look into the reasons for breast cancer, the multiplication of abnormal cells in your breast can be one of the causes. Even though experts are not sure about the exact reason for the process, some reasons have been considered based on different grounds. Some risk factors that can increase the possibility of developing breast cancer include age, sex, family history, and so on. Other unhealthy habits, like smoking, alcohol consumption, etc., can also increase the chances of cancer.
Breast Cancer: Signs and Symptoms
While dealing with breast cancer symptoms and signs, the symptoms vary from one person to another, and some people fail to notice any signs since they are very minimal. A new lump or mass appears in most instances of breast cancer which is considered a vital sign. Other signs or symptoms can also come up where your body may undergo changes based on the severity of the same. If you are wondering how to take care of your breast health, it is essential to know how the breasts typically look as a first step. This step is integral because you can be aware of the changes in your breasts and take measures accordingly. Though it is said that breast lumps are one of the critical symptoms of cancer, it has been discovered that not all breast lumps are cancer.
When cells in your breast grow and divide beyond precise control, forming mass tissues results in sure signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
1. New Lump or Mass
As a common sign seen in those having breast cancer, a change in the size, shape, or contour of your breast can be an initial stage of breast cancer. Though it is expected, symptoms can vary depending on the type of breast cancer and the nature of your body. The lump can be located on any side of the chest wall, which can go up to your armpit. As it is a painless lump, it often becomes difficult to identify and understand that it is one of the signs of breast cancer.
2. Swelling of Breast or Part of it
Swelling the entire breast or any part of it is another vital sign of breast cancer. The thickening of skin and redness are also visible signs of swelling of the breasts. In Inflammatory breast cancer, one of the rare types of breast cancer, this swelling and redness can be seen. The swelling happens when the cancer cells block lymphatic vessels in the skin which covers the breast.
3. Skin Dimpling
Another symptom that can be seen when the tumor cells block the lymphatic channels which run through breast skin is skin dimpling. When skin dimpling happens where the skin will have the appearance of an orange, as it is comparatively easier to identify this sign. After identifying this symptom, you must take the guidance of experts for faster diagnosis.
4. Breast or Nipple Pain
Breast or nipple pain rarely happens as most breast cancers appear without causing any pain in the breast or nipple. It is common to have breast pain in women during the menstrual cycle, so it is not considered seriously failing to identify the condition. If you are experiencing similar pains, it is essential to consult an expert and not ignore it, even though breast cancer is painless.
5. Nipple Discharge
One of the earliest symptoms of breast cancer is nipple discharge, often identified as pink or bloody discharge. It comes with a unilateral lump seen in less than 5% of women having breast cancer. In comparison to other symptoms like a newly formed lump or skin dimpling, nipple discharge is very rare.
Different types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can be seen in different types, and each type can have a varied impact on your body based on surrounding circumstances. Even though women are highly inclined towards getting cancer, there have been instances where men have also called breast cancer. Important types of breast cancer are the following:
1. Infiltrating (invasive) ductal carcinoma
In this type of breast cancer, which is seen in almost 80% of the cases, cancer breaks through the wall of your ducts. It further spreads over to the surrounding breast tissue, which happens commonly in those having breast cancer.
2. Ductal carcinoma in situ (Stage 0 breast cancer)
This cancer is often considered precancerous as the cells would not have spread beyond your milk ducts; hence, it is a treatable condition. It is essential to give utmost care to ensure that it does not become severe or life-threatening.
3. Infiltrating (invasive) Lobular Carcinoma
The lobules of your breast where breast milk production occurs are the part from which this cancer forms. It can further spread to the breast tissues seen in the surroundings, which are found in 10-15% of the cases.
4.Lobular Carcinoma in Situ
This type of cancer cannot be considered true cancer as it is a precancerous condition. In this cancer type, abnormal cells are found in the breast lobules, which can further develop into other parts.
5. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)
If you are wondering about the challenging breast cancers to treat, TNBC is one of the hardest types. Even though it is rarely found, it makes diagnosis and treatment difficult as it does not have three markers associated with other types.
6. Inflammatory breast cancer
One of the rarest breast cancers seen among women is inflammatory breast cancer which resembles an infection. The presence of obstructive cancer cells results in causing redness, swelling, and other issues that harm the entire body.
Understanding Breast Cancer Detection and Diagnosis
Breast cancer appears in different ways and at other times. Where it is found after the symptoms appear sometimes, and in most cases, no signs can be seen in women. This hidden danger must be identified before you get pulled over to the far end and worsen the situation. Early detection and diagnosis can make a massive difference in the overall approach, which makes treatment and recovery more accessible and more effective. Experts highly recommend regular breast cancer screening even if there are no symptoms or signs. Preventive measures need to be taken to prevent the risks and issues concerning cancer that can impact the body’s functioning.
A breast cancer diagnosis can be carried out per the suggestions of your healthcare provider, who can help you with different tests. Breast abnormalities can be checked through specific tests, including mammograms, Ultrasonography, PET scanning, etc. A mammogram is commonly utilized to prevent breast cancer, where special X-ray images can detect abnormal growths. Another important test for diagnosis and detection is ultrasonography, in which pictures of tissues inside your breast are taken. It helps in the better detection of breast lumps or any other issues.
What is the best Breast Cancer Treatments?
As issues concerning breast cancer continue to increase, different breast cancer treatment options are available for people. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and so on are a few options provided by experts for your treatment. The proper treatment which suits your health condition and other factors related to the cancer is selected after careful monitoring and observation. A customized treatment plan can be given by your doctor based on your unique needs and conditions. A combination of different treatments is also made available to patients considering the functioning and nature of various organs in your body.
The treatment can be initiated through surgery which mainly involves lumpectomy and mastectomy. In a lumpectomy, the tumor is removed along with an area of normal tissue which surrounds the tumor. Another alternative is the removal of the entire breast, which is done through mastectomy as per the need of the situation. In most instances, chemotherapy is given before lumpectomy, and radiation therapy is given after mastectomy or lumpectomy. The purpose of chemotherapy is to shrink the tumor, which is also given after the surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. If cancer has significantly spread, chemotherapy is recommended as a part of primary treatment. Radiation therapy is also done to kill the remaining cancer cells, which can also be used to treat metastatic tumors.
Cancer has always been one of the diseases which is considered severe as it is life-threatening and has an impact on the overall body. Various developments and advanced technologies have come up for better diagnosis and treatment in this constantly evolving era. Despite such developments, cancer cases are seen in many people across the globe. The changing lifestyle, food habits, unhealthy practices, and so on contribute to the number of people affected by this condition.
As breast cancer is among those that need to be considered seriously, you must be aware of the changes in your body. It is always said that “prevention is better than cure.” It is true in the case of cancer, where measures can be taken to prevent any risks.