In 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer globally, and 685,000 deaths due to breast cancer occurred. By the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive globally who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years.
In India, it has been estimated that the number of cancer cases will increase from 13.9 lakhs in 2020 to 15.7 lakh by 2025, increasing a whopping 20%. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second most common cancer in the world. It is rapidly increasing in India because of the changing lifestyle, environmental issues, unhealthy habits, and more.
However, breast cancer is curable if caught early and treatable with the fast-evolving technology & medications in later stages. So, a breast cancer diagnosis is not deathly news. It is, however, a cause for concern and needs immediate attention. So, if you or your loved one suspect breast cancer, you should immediately consult Dr. P.K.Das, one of the leading breast cancer doctors in Delhi NCR.
Breast cancer is a common disease in women in which breast cells grow out of control. The cancer begins when cells start proliferating and eventually form a tumor. This tumor can be seen on an x-ray or even felt on physical examination as a lump. There are multiple types of breast cancer, and the kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast have become cancerous. Additionally, while breast cancer primarily affects women, men can also get it.
A doctor checks both the breasts & lymph nodes in the armpit for any lumps or other abnormalities.
A mammogram screens for breast cancer through an x-ray of the breast/s. If an abnormality is detected on a screening mammogram, a doctor may recommend a diagnostic mammogram for further evaluation.
Using sound waves, a breast ultrasound creates images of the inner structures of the breast. It is often used to determine whether a breast lump is solid or fluid-filled (cyst).
Being the only definitive test to diagnose breast cancer, a biopsy is a very important diagnostic technique. In it, the doctor uses a specialized needle guided by X-ray or another imaging test to extract a core of tissue from the suspicious area. Then it is analyzed under the microscope.
A breast MRI utilizes a magnet and radio waves in creating images of the interior of the breast. Before the MRI, the patient receives a dye injection. MRI doesn’t use radiation to create the images.
This is an early stage of breast cancer and is further divided into two substages.
• Stage IA: Here, cancer is either 2cm or smaller & hasn't spread beyond the breast.
• Stage IB: Here, cancer has spread to the lymph node and falls between 0.2-2mm in size.
In stage II, the breast cancer is growing but still contained within either the breast or the nearby lymph nodes. It is further divided into 2 substages.
• Stage IIA: Here, the tumor in the breast is small. Cancer may or may not have spread to lymph nodes.
• Stage IIB: Here, the tumor could either be the size of a walnut or a lime. Cancer still may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes.
In stage III, the breast cancer has spread beyond the origin region and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes as well as muscles. However, it has not spread to bones or distant organs. This is an advanced stage of breast cancer. It is further divided into 3 substages.
• Stage IIIA: Here, the tumor has been found in up to nine lymph nodes in the region between the underarm to the collarbone.
• Stage IIIB: Here, the tumor has grown well into the chest wall or even the skin around the breast.
• Stage IIIC: In this substage, the tumor has been found at least in 10 lymph nodes, or it has spread above or below the collarbone.
In stage 4 breast cancer, the breast cancer has metastasized. It is advanced-stage breast cancer. Here, cancer has spread to other body parts, even distant body parts like lungs, liver, brain, or other organs. While it is not curable, it is treatable thanks to the modern advances in both research and medical technology. Women are living longer and better lives today even after a stage IV breast cancer diagnosis, managing the disease as a chronic illness.
Staging decides the treatment plan of breast cancer and also the survival rate. The earlier the stage, the better the prognosis. So, if you suspect breast cancer, it is very important to visit a specialist like Dr. P.K.Das, the best cancer specialist doctor in Delhi, for a proper diagnosis and staging.
There are multiple types of breast cancer. They’re broken into two major categories, namely “invasive” and “noninvasive” breast cancer. Noninvasive breast cancer is also called “in situ” breast cancer.
Invasive breast cancer occurs when the cancer has spread from the ducts of the breast or glands to other parts of the breast. Noninvasive breast cancer, however, occurs when the cancer has not spread from the original tissue.
These 2 categories are utilized to describe the most common types of breast cancer. The types are:
Some types of less common cancer:
Now, into some of the other categories:
While the cause of breast cancer is unknown, there are several risk factors.
Risk factors that CAN be changed
Risk factors that CANNOT be changed
Drinking alcohol: According to recent studies, a woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
Currently, there are several breast cancer treatment options in India and the world. From surgery to chemotherapy to targeted therapy and immunotherapy in cancer patients, treatment has evolved a lot in the last decade. The overall 5-year relative survival rate of breast cancer is 90%.
The most common treatment for breast cancer is surgery. However, many breast cancer patients require additional treatments, like chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, or hormone therapy.
Different types of surgeries are used for treating breast cancer. A lumpectomy removes the tumor & some surrounding tissue, mastectomy removes an entire breast, sentinel node biopsy removes some lymph nodes receiving drainage from the tumor to test them for cancer, axillary lymph node dissection removes additional lymph nodes after sentinel node biopsy, and contralateral prophylactic mastectomy is chosen by some patients to remove healthy breast to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams to target and kill cancer cells. The most-used radiation treatment uses external beam radiation in which the machine is outside the body. However, due to modern advancements, irradiating inside the body has also become possible for certain breast cancer patients. This is called brachytherapy, and in it, the doctors place radioactive seeds/pellets inside the body (near the tumor). The seeds are kept there for some time & they destroy cancer cells.
Chemotherapy uses chemicals in drug form to kill/destroy fast-growing cells, including cancer cells. Sometimes it is used on its own, while other times, it is used with other treatments, like surgery or targeted therapy. For some patients, doctors administer chemotherapy before surgery, hoping to shrink the tumor so the surgery isn’t as invasive. For others, it is used after surgery to ensure all cancer cells have been killed. The therapy has multiple unwanted side effects, so consulting with a reputed doctor like Dr. P.K.Das, one of the leading breast cancer doctors in Delhi NCR, can be highly beneficial before making a decision.
If the type of breast cancer diagnosed is hormone-sensitive, then the doctor may suggest hormone therapy. Estrogen and progesterone, the two primary female reproductive hormones, can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy helps block the body’s production of these hormones. This is done by blocking the hormone receptors on cancer cells. This process helps slow or kill the growth of cancer.
If you need a consult, the best treatment options, support, and assistance for breast cancer, you can connect with Dr. P.K.Das, the best breast oncologist in Delhi NCR.
For women younger than 45 years, the survival rate is 88%; for ages 45-54, it is 91%; for ages 55-64, it is 91%; for ages 65-74, it is 92%; for ages 75+ years, it is 86%.
Women are more likely to get breast cancer compared to men. 50+ years women are most likely to get breast cancer. Breast cancer in men is extremely rare.
While nothing can guarantee your safety from breast cancer, certain practices like drinking less alcohol, exercising, breastfeeding, careful hormone therapy, etc., can decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Mammograms require pressure to be applied to the soft tissues for better image quality and better detection. So, it can cause seconds of discomfort.
Pain due to breast cancer is very rare. Most pains are caused due to mastalgia/mastodynia pre or post-menstruation.