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Breast Cancer


What exactly is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops when abnormal cells begin to grow and reproduce uncontrollably. These cells combine to form a tumor mass, which can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors are abnormal growths that do not spread outside of the breast and are not harmful to the patient's health. Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the breast ducts or lobes and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize).

How Does Breast Cancer Appear?

Actually, the early signs of breast cancer are more difficult to detect than to see. Regular self-exams allow women to become acquainted with the normal appearance and feel of their breasts, allowing them to detect any changes quickly. Cancer of the breast. Breast cancer frequently manifests as a lump in the breast. Although many types of breast cancer can result in a lump, not all of them do. Furthermore, breast lumps are very common, and the majority of them are not cancer. Breast cysts, fibroadenomas, and adenosis, for example, are all benign conditions that can cause lumps. Breast cancer tumors are firm to the touch. Make an appointment if you notice a lump that is new to you and feels firm and immobile.

Causes of Breast Cancer

The precise causes of breast cancer are still unknown. We are aware of two major risks: being a woman and growing older. Two-thirds of breast cancer patients are over 50, with the majority of the rest falling between the ages of 39 and 49. Up to 10% of breast cancer cases are caused by inherited gene mutations. An inherited mutation in the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 increases the risk of developing the disease significantly. Furthermore, a woman who has a mother, sister, or daughter who has had breast cancer is two to three times more likely to develop it herself. People with a family history can now have genetic testing and risk assessments to make informed health decisions.

In addition to the risk factors we cannot change, there are some lifestyle choices we can make to improve our chances. Putting on weight, for example, raises the risk of breast cancer, particularly in menopausal women. Women who use birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, do not have children, or have their first child after the age of 30 may be at a higher risk. Sedentary lifestyles and alcohol consumption also raise the risk. Simultaneously, regular exercise and physical activities reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer? 

Breast cancer is more common in women, but it can also occur in men. Men account for less than 1% of all detected cases. Male breast cancer, like female breast cancer, develops in the breast tissue. Family history, some genetic disorders, estrogen or radiation exposure, obesity, and alcohol consumption may all increase a man's risk of developing breast cancer. Men can get breast cancer, too. Men frequently ignore the early signs of the disease and only consult a doctor when the disease has progressed. Male breast cancer has a similar prognosis and survival rate as female breast cancer if detected early.

Early Signs of Breast Cancer

At the time of diagnosis, most women show no physical signs of breast cancer. When a tumor is small, it usually does not show any alarming symptoms. As a result, regular screening is critical for early detection.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

A lump anywhere on the breast or under the armpit is usually associated with breast cancer. However, there are numerous other red flags, such as:

  • Any change in breast size, shape, or texture;
  • Nipple deformities such as retraction (turning inward) or inversion;
  • Skin changes such as dimpling, orange peel, irritation, rash; a marble-like area under the skin; discharge from the nipples that could be clear or yellow, bloody, etc.;
  • breast pain that does not go away with the next period;
  • anything that feels different or unusual should be reported to a doctor.

Breast cancer symptoms differ from person to person and depending on the type.

Types of Breast Cancer 

Breast cancers are not all created equal. A tumor can begin in any part of the breast. The tumor begins in the epithelium of the ducts that carry milk to the nipple in nearly 85% of all cases (ductal carcinoma), and up to 15% of cases begin in the glandular tissue of the breast (lobular carcinoma). In rare cases, it begins in other breast tissues, but these are usually sarcomas and lymphomas and are not considered breast cancers.

The cancerous growth begins in the duct or lobule, which is known as 'in situ' or noninva-sive breast cancer. Cancers in situ can spread and infiltrate surrounding tissues, eventually transforming into invasive breast cancer. The most common type is invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), which accounts for approximately 80% of all cases, with invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) accounting for 10-15%. There are also some rare types of breast cancer, such as Paget's disease, which affects the nipple, Phyllodes tumors, which form in the breast's connective tissues, inflamma-tory breast cancer, which is a very aggressive form, and so on.

Breast tumors can also be classified based on their hormone receptor status. Two-thirds of them require the female hormones estrogen or progesterone to grow and reproduce. These cancer cells have hormone receptors, which enable them to capture and use hormones. They are classified as either ER-positive or PR-positive. In these cases, hormone-blocking therapy can halt tumor growth. Hormonal therapies would have no effect on a hormone receptor-negative tumor (HR-negative). HER2-positive and HER2-negative breast cancers are both possible. It refers to the levels of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. High levels promote cancer growth, which is known as HER2-positive breast cancer. When none of the three receptors are found, triple-negative breast cancer develops. Testing accuracy is critical for effective treatment because each type requires a different treatment. The type of breast cancer and the extent to which it has spread within the body determine the treatment strategy and help doctors provide the best care possible.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Breast cancer can now be detected early, sometimes years before any visible symptoms appear, thanks to new knowledge and advanced equipment. Typically, imaging tests are used to begin the diagnostic process. The mammogram, which provides an X-ray image of the breast, and the ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves, have long been recognized as key diagnostic tools for breast cancer. Specialized breast centers now have a variety of mammography techniques at their disposal. Digital mammography provides images of the breast in digital format on computer screens. 3D mammography with tomosynthesis generates three-dimensional digital images while using low radiation doses. Even in dense breast tissue, 4D breast ultrasonography or automated ultrasound can help.

If imaging detects suspicious findings, a pathologist should examine a sample of the suspicious tissue under a microscope. This is known as a biopsy. Biopsies can be taken in a variety of ways, the most common of which is with a needle device and imaging guidance.

Patients can complete all required tests in a one-stop clinic during the same visit. Our experienced physicians at Deva Hospital have access to the most advanced equipment for the diagnosis of breast cancer, including some devices that are only available in a few facilities around the world.

Stages of Breast Cancer 

Breast cancer stages describe the cancer's size and spread throughout the body. It is usually graded on a scale of 0 to IV, with higher numbers indicating a more invasive cancer. Stage 0 is also known as noninvasive breast cancer or precancer. It means that there are abnormal cells, but they are restricted to the milk ducts or glands and have not spread to surrounding tissues (carcinoma in situ). Stage IV breast cancer, on the other hand, is a more advanced condition in which the tumor has spread to distant parts of the body, possibly organs or bones.

Along with staging, breast cancer grading provides information on how much the cancer cells differ from normal cells and how slowly or quickly the tumor is expected to grow. Low-grade cancer means that the abnormal cells resemble normal cells and will most likely grow slowly, whereas high-grade cancer is the polar opposite.

Breast cancer staging and grading, as well as hormone-receptor and HER2 status, are critical in assisting the medical team in determining the best treatment options for patients with a new diagnosis..

Breast Cancer Treatment 

Breast cancer treatment is now highly effective and improving all the time. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted biological therapy, or immunotherapy may be used in the treatment process.

  • It employs medications to destroy rapidly growing cells throughout the body, including cancer cells. Most patients receive it after surgery, but it may also be administered prior to surgery to shrink the tumor.
  • Hormone therapy.These are medications that are used to stop cancer cell growth by blocking hormones or stopping hormone production. Hormonal therapy is only effective in hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. It is typically a long-term treatment that lasts 5 to 10 years to prevent cancer recurrence.
  • Targeted therapy. Biological therapies, fueled by advances in genetics and molecular biology, are among the most significant advances in cancer treatment in recent years. They employ medications that can identify targets present in cancerous cells but not in normal cells. As a result, healthy cells are not attacked, and side effects are reduced when compared to traditional chemotherapy. Depending on the type of breast cancer, there are several options for targeted treatment. Cancer cells can be used to determine whether or not a drug is effective.
  • This is a relatively new treatment option. Immunotherapy engages the patient's own immune system in the fight against cancer cells. It can be used on some patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer.
  • Radiation is a local treatment that uses high-energy X-rays, electron beams, and radioactive isotopes to kill cancerous cells. Radiotherapy both prevents cancer cell growth and kills them. Patients undergoing radiation therapy at Deva Hospital can take advantage of linear accelerator devices with cutting-edge technological features for maximum safety and efficacy.

Deva Hospital Breast Cancer Center and its expert team offer a full range of breast cancer treatments under one roof, including some cutting-edge options only found in a few clinics around the world:

Surgery. This is typically the first step in treatment, particularly for early-stage breast cancer. Its goal is to remove as many cancerous tissues as possible. A mastectomy is when all of the breast tissue is removed. Mastectomy was a common surgical procedure in the past. It is now used in cases of advanced breast cancer or when there are multiple tumors within a breast. The first option at Deva Hospital is always breast-conserving surgery, also known as a lumpectomy. It entails removing the tumor as well as about 1-2 cm of normal tissue around it. The breast is then restored using oncoplastic techniques to ensure good cosmetic results. Even when a mastectomy is necessary, our surgeons are capable of employing novel techniques. Even when a mastectomy is necessary, our surgeons can employ new techniques such as nipple-sparing or skin-sparing mastectomy. The breast tissue is excised in the same way as in a standard mastectomy, but the skin/nipple-areola complex is preserved for breast reconstruction.

  • Robot-assisted surgery. The Da Vinci robotic system, which provides a high level of accuracy, can be used for mastectomy without any incisions on the breast. A small incision from the armpit is used to remove the entire breast tissue. Following that, prosthetics are implanted through the same incision. Because there are no cuts on the breast and the incision under the arm is easy to conceal, robotic breast cancer surgery produces better cosmetic results.
  • Single-Dose Radiotherapy.For appropriate breast cancer patients, radiotherapy can be completed in a single session while the incision is still open. High-dose radiation is precisely delivered to this region, in the tumor bed itself, protecting the surrounding healthy tissue. Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) with a robotic device can be used in three ways: as a single dose following breast-conserving surgery in postmenopausal patients with small and hormone-sensitive tumors; as boost radiation in premenopausal patients with hormone-sensitive small tumors; and to reduce the risk of recurrence in patients who had a nipple-sparing mastectomy.
  • Immediate Breast Reconstruction. Rather than postponing breast reconstruction, many patients can have it done at the same time, using breast prosthetics or their own tissues. Deva Hospital uses cutting-edge reconstructive techniques to restore the natural appearance of breasts affected by breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Survival Rate 

Survival rates are the percentages of breast cancer patients who live for a certain amount of time after being diagnosed. Typically, 5-year survival is considered, because recurrence is less likely after this time.

Medical advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment have resulted in higher survival rates. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, breast cancer treatment can now be highly effective, with survival chances of 90% or higher. Survival rates, however, are determined by the type of cancer, stage, specific characteristics, and the expertise of the medical team performing the treatment.

Breast Cancer Statistics 

A woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 12%. According to WHO data, half of all breast cancer cases occur in women who have no known risk factors other than their gender and age (over 40 years). Breast cancer treatment is now highly effective, with survival rates of 90% or higher.