Understanding Breast Cancer and Its Treatments

Breast cancer is the most common issue in women. Breast cancer occurs when breast cells become abnormal and grow out of control, forming tumors in the breast. According to some studies, 1 in 8 women has the probability of developing breast cancer over their lifetime. However, men also can get breast cancer, but their count is lesser than women.

How Would I Recognize Breast Cancer?

Some people may not feel any symptoms in the early stages. Yet, the most common symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • A pea-sized lump or mass.
  • Bloody or clear nipple discharge
  • Your breasts or nipple may have red skin.
  • Breast or nipple skin changes.
  • A spot the size of a marble under your skin
  • The size, shape, or curvature of your breasts is changing
  • Swelling or thickening of a portion of the breast.
  • Lump feeling in the breast or the armpit
  • Itching or pain in nipples and breast

Stages of Breast Cancer:

Staging refers to the size of the tumor, whether it has progressed to lymph nodes. If it has moved to other body parts and what biomarkers it possesses. It is better to detect the disease at the initial stages. Here are some common stages of breast cancer,

  • Stage 0

It is the initial stage of breast cancer, which indicates that cancer has only progressed to the ducts of the breast tissue and not to the surrounding tissue.

  • Stage 1A

In this stage, the size of the tumor is pea-sized. And it has not spread to the lymph nodes.

  • Stage 1B

Here, cancer has gone to the lymph nodes – and the disease has spread.

  • Stage 2A

It’s evaluated that cancer has spread to one to three axillary lymph nodes, but there is no proof that the tumor is in the breast. And it has not spread to other parts.

  • Stage 2B

This stage refers to the small tumor, between 20mm to 50mm. However, cancer may not spread to the lymph nodes.

Besides, stage 1A to Stage 2A cancer is referred to as the early stage of breast cancer, and stage 2B to stage 3 cancer is referred to as advanced.

Treatments of Breast Cancer

The most common treatment for breast cancer is Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Hormone therapy, and Targeted therapy.

  • Surgery

Surgery involves the removal of cancerous tissues. In some cases, doctors suggest mastectomy; removing all tissues or complete breast.

  • Radiotherapy

Here, doctors destroy the cancer cells by the use of high-energy rays. Radiotherapy is depend on the type of breast cancer. The different types of radiation are:

  1. External Beam Therapy

The most common type of radiation therapy is external beam therapy, which is provided by a machine located outside the body.

  1. Internal Beam Therapy

This radiation therapy is given by inserting radioactive sources into the tumor.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the method of treating breast cancer with medications. The two types of chemotherapy are neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy. The side effects of this therapy depend upon the individuals.

  • Hormone Therapy

It is also known as endocrine therapy. Most cancers that test positive for estrogen or progesterone receptors respond well to this therapy.

  • Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies are medications that alter the way cells function to help cancer grow and spread less quickly. This therapy cannot be used for treating all types of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is growing more common, particularly among women. There are several reasons for breast cancer. It is better to detect the disease at the early stages. Whenever you feel any changes in your breast, seek the doctor. They will examine you and will refer you to specialists.

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