Understanding Breast Cancer ………. 1
[by Dr. Ulhas Ganu, M.Sc. Ph. D. (Biochem), P.G.D. Management Studies]
Breast Cancer is one of the most important cancers in women. To a small extent, breast cancer does occur in men also. We know that practically cells from any part of the body can become cancerous. Understanding signs and symptoms leads to early diagnosis and timely therapy.
The American Cancer Society has described very precisely the signs and symptoms for breast cancer, which are very difficult to be missed by the individual herself. Yet majority of cases are presented late for treatment. Attending to the symptoms early enough can help diagnosing breast cancer fairly early.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
BREAST LUMP OR MASS
If a lump or a mass in the breast
* Invariably Painless,
* having Irregular Edges
It is More Likely to be Cancerous than not, (American Cancer Society)
However, that Does Not Rule Out ………. the possibility of a Tender, Soft and Rounded Mass being Cancerous.
Hence a Proper Examination of such a mass by a Trained Medical Expert is necessary and goes a long way in Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
* Swelling of All or Part of a Breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
* Skin Irritation or Dimpling
* Breast or Nipple Pain
* Nipple Retraction(turning inward)
* Redness, Scaliness, or
* Thickening of the Nipple or breast skin
* A nipple discharge other than breast milk
(American Cancer Society)
Generally when the Primary Tumor in the breast has grown large enough, and sometimes even before that, Nodules, Lump or Swelling can be detected in the armpit or around the collar bone, which could be a sign of spread of breast cancer in the nearby region.
While there is no reason to panic as similar signs and symptoms can be caused by many other conditions, it is wiser to be cautious and investigate properly from a trained medical professional in case anyone has these symptoms.
An early detection is the gateway to proper and many times curative treatment.
Getting Right Diagnosis is the first step towards getting Right Treatment as various treatment options exist, which vary depending upon the spread of the disease, whether to nearby region or to distant organs (metastases) and the stage of the disease. Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) from Mumbai is one of the leading cancer treatment centers in the world and amongst the oldest in India.
The Breast (Cancer) Unit of the Tata Memorial Hospital diagnoses about 4400 new breast cancer cases per year, 60% of which are operable ones. The unit performs on an average 45 breast cancer surgeries per week.
Earlier the detection the better is the outcome of therapy (prognosis).
About 70% of the patients are offered Breast Conservation Surgery and approximately 5% overall also undergo breast reconstruction.
~ 35% of those cases are Locally Advanced cancers requiring Multi-Modality Treatment.
The Unit also has Many Research Protocols in various trial phases.
Investigator-generated trials are appreciated and are focused on various clinical settings of operable breast cancer Adjuvant Treatment, Neo-Adjuvant (in locally advanced breast cancer) and role of Loco-Regional Treatment in Primary Metastatic Breast Cancer.
We would try to understand more about these terms in subsequent articles. Knowing the meaning of these modalities would help one understand how the doctors plan the most suitable therapy and help the patient and her relatives in the decision making process
Tata Memorial Hospital offers free online facility to patients for seeking opinion or advice on treatment options available to the cancer patients. TMH has tied up with Navya Network, a company founded by Harvard University’s Computer Science graduate Gitika Srivastava and Dr Naresh Ramrajan, to create a clinical decision system which processes patient data, structures it and provides treatment options which can be rapidly reviewed by the doctor to provide a final opinion. The TMH sponsored online treatment opinion services are currently free of cost and are available to the patient between 3 – 7 days. Patients across the globe have been benefitted through the system.
1. American Cancer Society:
2. Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India
3. Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India
To know more: Stages 0 & 1- National Breast Cancer FoundationLeave a reply