What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer diagnosed among women in the world, it develops from the formation of clumps of cells with malignant characteristics in the breast. Even though this type of cancer can also affect men, is far more common in women.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes, breast cancer doesn’t show any symptoms until advanced stages of the disease. However, there are some signs and symptoms that can be identified, including:
- A breast thickening lump
- Change in the shape or appearance of the breast
- Abnormal breast discharge
- Change of the appearance of the skin over the breast, like the skin of an orange
- An inverted nipple
Causes of Breast Cancer
Experts say that breast cancer is the result of the combination of a complex interaction between genetic potential and the environment. Besides the well-known genetical risk factor, there are other risk factors related to breast cancer, including:
- Female sex
- Radiation exposure
- Reaching sexual maturity at a younger age
- Never being pregnant
- Postmenopausal hormonal therapy
- Beginning menopause at an older age
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
If you show any of the signs or symptoms of breast cancer, visit your doctor for additional information. Our doctors will review your detailed medical record if available and provide a physical breast exam. The following tests may also be required for a comprehensive diagnosis.
- Breast ultrasound
- Biopsy. This is the only definitive way to make a diagnosis
Breast Cancer Treatment
The treatment of breast cancer depends on your breast cancer type, stage, size, sensitivity to hormones and your general health status during diagnosis. In general, there are several treatment options to be used and combined.
- Lumpectomy. Uses a local excision to remove the tumor and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue of the breast.
- Mastectomy. Here, doctors remove the entire affected breast. This is used for larger breast cancer tumors.
- Sentinel node biopsy, in order to determine whether cancer has spread to your lymph nodes.
After breast surgery, you might receive some plastic breast reconstruction, depending on how much breast tissue the surgery has removed.
Most women usually require additional treatment after surgery for breast cancer, including:
- Radiation therapy. Which uses powerful X-rays energy to kill cancer cells locally.
- Chemotherapy. This involves using drugs to destroy the remaining fast-growing cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy. For those breast cancers with hormonal sensitivity. This therapy blocks the hormonal stimulus in breast cancer cells.