Breast cancer is the most common tumor found in women. The number of suffering individuals is increasing each day. The irony is – breast cancer awareness is flimsy among the people living in urban areas and infinitesimal among the ones living in rural areas.Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, or a red scaly patch of skin.In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin. However, the right information, a little care and timely identification and treatment of the symptoms of this problem can be defeated.
Breast Cancer Symptoms:
A woman’s breasts may feel more firm and lumpy before menopause. A woman has less estrogen after menopause, so the breasts feel much softer and less lumpy. The firm, lumpy tissue can hide a small lump making it hard to feel. By checking your breasts each month, you become familiar with your breast tissue and notice changes. Small lumps can also be found by a mammogram or by a doctor during your exam. Some lumps are so small that only a mammogram can find them.
If their is slight pain or lump in the breast you should consult a doctor. Sometimes the pain may not be present but you may feela lump, on self examination.More than 80% of breast cancer cases are discovered when the woman feels a lump.
Breast cancer:Are you at risk?
Older women are at increased risk of breast cancer. Other possible factors include: genetics, age of 35 years or more for first delivery, lack of breastfeeding or complete absence of breastfeeding, changes in hormone levels, and obesity. Recent studies have brought to light increased incidence withhigher pollution levels.
If a lump is found, a mammogram or sono-mammograms should be done. A biopsy is often done to check if the lump is benign or malignant (cancerous) and if so, what type. A biopsy is a procedure to remove tiny chunk of tissue. The samples are then checked by a doctor. If the biopsy finds cancer, more tests may be done to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
Mammography is use of low power X-rays (usually around 0.7 MAS) for checking the composition of breast tissue and used as a tool it to identify the disease. The aim is to detect breast cancer at an early stage. A mammogram done in an early stage can help alter the disease process and reduce mortality. It is a non invasive and safe process.
When checks conducted:
Women of 30-year age and above should do a breast self examination monthly after menses to check for any changes. Similarly, women 40-year or aboveshould get an annual check for with prior consultation of a doctor, a mammogram is recommended yearly. With the help of mammography cancerous parts of even the size of grains of rice can be detected on mammograms.
Types of Treatment
Based on your biopsy results and the type of cancer, you and your doctor will decide the best treatment for your breast cancer. Here are the treatments that may be done:
Surgery is done to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Either the whole breast is removed, called mastectomy, or a part of the breast is removed, called lumpectomy. With either surgery, lymph nodes under the arm are checked for cancer. You and your doctor may also talk about reconstruction surgery. This surgery is done to create the look of a normal breast. You may still need to have more treatment. Having a mastectomy or lumpectomy does not guarantee that the breast cancer is gone from the entire body. Small cancer cells that are too small to detect may remain in the body.
When a lumpectomy is done, it is often followed by radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is done to treat the entire breast. Radiation therapy often begins 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
Hormone Therapy and Chemotherapy:
Treatment may be needed to target cancer cells that may be remaining in the body. It may be done before surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery to kill cancer cells that may have spread or that remain in the body.
• Hormone therapy is medicine in pill form taken to work against estrogen in the body. The most common side effect is signs of menopause.
• Chemotherapy is medicine given in an IV (intravenous) tube in a vein or as a pill. The medicine kills cancer cells. Common side effects include feeling tired, hair loss and nausea. These side effects are often temporary.
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