Breast cancer is a scary and daunting thought for many women, with some assuming it won’t happen to them. Although most cases occur in women over 50, younger women can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. Shockingly, approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, the good news is that there’s a high chance of recovery if detected in its early stages. Cure rates now range from 80 to 90 per cent if the patient is diagnosed and treated with advanced options in the early stages. It’s important to note that breast cancer is not limited to females only as in rare cases, men can also be diagnosed with this disease.
THE EXACT CAUSES OF BREAST CANCER ARE NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD
Breast cancer is a disease that affects many women around the world. There are certain factors that increase the risk of developing it. These factors include getting older, having a family history of breast cancer, having a previous diagnosis of breast cancer, having had a previous benign breast lump, being overweight or obese, and excessive use of alcohol. It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and take steps to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue. Most breast lumps aren’t cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor.
You should also see your primary physician if you notice any of the following:
● Pulled in nipple
● Skin changes
Breast pain isn’t usually a symptom of breast cancer, particularly for early-stage disease. So, females should not avoid the evaluation of painless breast lumps.
If you’re concerned about breast cancer, your doctor may recommend some tests to help diagnose it. They may refer you to a specialist clinic where you’ll undergo a breast screening or a biopsy. You may also need more detailed tests like a CT, MRI, or PETCT scan. These tests will help your doctors plan the best treatment for you.
TREATING BREAST CANCER
If cancer is detected early, it can be treated before it spreads to nearby body parts. Breast cancer is treated using a combination of:
● Chemotherapy (including targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and antiestrogen hormonal therapy)
Surgery is usually the first type of treatment you’ll have, followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy or, in some cases, hormone or biological treatments. The type of surgery and the treatment you have afterward will depend on your breast cancer. Your doctor will discuss the best treatment plan with you. Many breast cancer patients are increasingly guided to start chemotherapy before surgery due to significant improvements in outcomes noted in recent research. In a small proportion of women, breast cancer is discovered after it’s spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancer). Metastatic cancer isn’t curable, so treatment aims to achieve remission (symptom relief) with the help of different chemotherapeutic options.
Although the exact causes of breast cancer are not yet fully understood, there are some treatments available to reduce the risk of developing it, especially if you are at an increased risk. These treatments include anti-estrogen therapy for women diagnosed with in situ carcinoma and the option of preventive bilateral mastectomy for those with underlying hereditary cancer-causing mutations. There are certain lifestyle choices that can also help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, having a low intake of saturated fat and alcohol, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol intake.
BREAST CARE CLINIC
Let's get it off your chest!
Prime Hospital supported the international Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign with special mammogram screening offers during October.
In the UAE in the past six years there is an increase of 20% of breast cancer cases. 95 percent of breast cancer patients are sporadic and only 5 percent are familial due to hereditary or genetic mutations.
So earlier the stage, better the survival.
Hence screening techniques help in detecting breast cancer much earlier and hence giving a better overall disease-free survival for the patient.
Triple Assessment and Screening:
● Clinical examination
● Imaging -Ultrasound, Mammogram, MRI-Mammogram
● Pathology-Core Biopsy, Cytology.
Depending on the stage at the time of presentation, the treatment modalities that are available at present ranges from various types of surgeries - breast conservation, mastectomy with or without reconstruction ,radiation, systemic chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormonal therapy .
The department offers treatment for the following conditions:
Benign breast diseases
● Breast pain
● Lactation mastitis
● Fibrocystic disease
● Phylloides tumor
● Duct ectasia
● Nipple discharge
● Granulomatous mastitis
● Accessory Breast
● Axillary lumps
● Gynecomastia- in men
Premalignant breast diseases
● DCIS-DUCTAL CARCINOMA in situ
● Lobular carcinoma in situ
● Intraductal papilloma
Malignant breast diseases
● Diagnosis - core biopsy / tru-cut biopsy, FNAC axillary lymph nodes, breast tissue marker placement.
● Staging-PT CT scan.
● Surgical options: Breast conservation surgery with SLNP (sentinel lymph node biopsy)
● Modified radical mastectomy with or without reconstructions as per oncological principles.
● Port-a—Cath insertions (Central venous tunneled access devices)
● Port-a-Cath removal.
● Tumor markers - CA15-3/CA27.29/CA125
● BRCA 1
● BRAC 2
● Gene profiling