Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer among women and is the leading cause of death among women globally.
Statistics by American Cancer Society revealed that around 1 out of 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
It has been found that women with early breast cancer do not show symptoms due to which regular screening for breast cancer is of great significance.
If during screening, anything suspicious is found or some symptoms related to breast cancer are found, one or more tests are done to confirm the presence of the disease.
The first sign of breast cancer is usually the presence of a breast lump.
Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer:
Breast Cancer, in its early stages usually does not show any symptom but as the tumour develops some signs become visible such as:
· A lump in the breast or armpit
· Swelling in armpit
· Pain and tenderness in the breast
· An indentation or flattening on the breast
· Any change in the texture, contour, size or temperature of the breast
· Changes in the nipple such as itching, burning sensation, dimple, nipple retraction etc
· Discharge from the nipple which may be bloody or of another colour
Early detection Breast Cancer
More than Forty percent of the women who are diagnosed with Breast cancer had felt a lump in the breast; which makes self-breast examination very important.
It is thus very important to do self-examination at least once a month.
How to Perform Self Breast Examination:
- In the Shower- Using your finger pads, check your entire breast including the armpit areas from outside to the centre in a circular pattern. Check both the breasts and look if there is any lump or thickened knot.
- In front of the Mirror- Look for any changes in the skin (dimpling) or in the nipples. Watch out for changes in the contour or if there is any swelling in either of the breasts. Inspect first with your arms at your sides followed by arms overhead.
- Lying down- Put a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm. When you lie down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly and it is easy to notice any changes in the breast tissue. Use your left hand and move your finger pads in a circular motion from outside to the centre of the right breast including the armpit. Repeat the same for the left breast. Squeeze the nipple and look for any discharge or lumps.
Experts, however, say that it is sometimes late when self-detection leads to the diagnosis. It is thus advisable to have health checks or regular health screenings to make sure that the disease is diagnosed at the earliest stage.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
If you are suspicious of having signs and symptoms that might indicate you having a breast cancer, make sure you consult your doctor at the earliest.
Your doctor would first take your medical history and perform your physical examination. He would ask you about your symptoms and possible risk factors for the breast cancer.
He would check for any lumps on the breasts, any changes in the nipples or skin surrounding your breasts and palpate lymph nodes in your armpit and above your collarbones.
He would do a thorough physical examination to see your general health and would check whether there are any pieces of evidence of cancer has spread to other areas.
If your medical history and physical examination suggest that breast cancer might be present, your doctor would get more tests done on you for a confirmatory diagnosis. These tests could be imaging tests, looking at the biopsy results or the samples of nipple discharge.
Imaging Tests for diagnosing Breast Cancers
These include the use of X-rays, MRI, sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your breast tissue. Imaging tests are done for a number of reasons such as finding the suspicious area that might be having cancer, the extent of spread of cancer and to determine whether treatment is working. Below are discussed some of the imaging tests to diagnose breast cancer:
· Diagnostic mammogram
It is X-ray of the breast. Diagnostic mammograms are done in cases where women have been detected with symptoms of breast disease and the screening mammogram has shown abnormal results. In some cases, breast area can be easily evaluated by the magnification of special images known as cone or spot views.
· MRI of breasts
In cases where women have shown high risks of developing breast cancer or there is a need to evaluate the areas that have been suspected to have the disease (found with the mammogram), an MRI is done. It may also be done to better determine the actual size of cancer in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
· Breast Ultrasound
It is usually targeted to specific areas of concern found on the mammogram. It also helps distinguish between cysts and solid masses and may also be done to find the difference between benign and cancerous tumours.
Other imaging techniques such as Ductogram and newer imaging tests such as scintimammography and tomosynthesis are being used for the diagnosis of breast cancers.
When physical examination, mammograms and other imaging tests indicate breast changes, then a biopsy is done to confirm if cancer is really present. The technique involves taking a sample of the suspicious area which is looked under the microscope.
The pathologist looks thoroughly at the sample and makes the diagnosis of the sample taken. There are several types of biopsies such as core biopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy, surgical biopsy and lymph node biopsy.
Once breast cancer has been diagnosed, one or more of the following tests could be done to see if breast cancer has spread to the surrounding areas such as lungs, to surrounding bony tissue etc.
Some of these tests are – Chest X-ray to see if cancer has spread to the lungs, Mammogram, Bone Scan, CT scan, MRI, PET Scan, Ultrasound etc.
Breast cancer treatment is available in India with some of the best cancer specialists who have years of experience in diagnosing and treating even the most complex cases of breast cancers.
The treatment for breast cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy which are done at best cancer hospitals in India at highly affordable costs.
IndiCure is the premier medical tourism company arranging breast cancer treatment in India in association with most renowned cancer specialists in India.
Having served hundreds of clients from over 30 countries, IndiCure knows your requirements well and helps you make an informed decision about your breast cancer treatment.
To know more about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in India, write to us at email@example.com or call us at +91-932-003-6777 or +1-877-270-2448 (US Toll-Free) or talk to us at Skype @ Indicure.