Diagnosing Breast Cancer

The most beautiful asset of a woman’s body is her breasts. She feels best and on the top of the world, when her breasts cause no problem. But, her life takes an unwanted turn when she feels a lump or some change in her breasts.

About breast cancer:

Cancer sounds horrible and it stands by its name due to its horrible effects. Any type of cancer is dangerous or deadly because of its potential to take away millions of lives every year. It is a condition in which millions of abnormal cells grow and expand unnaturally. Cancer of breasts is the most common type of cancer among women in the U.S. An estimated 232,670 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed and around 40, 000 will die of it in America in the year 2014.

Redness around breasts, lumps, unusual nipple discharge and changing in the size of the breasts are some of the symptoms that women experience in breast cancer. If you experience any of the symptoms in you then you should immediately fix an appointment with your doctor because it has been proved in various researches that early the diagnosis, early the cure it is.

Why early diagnosis of breast cancer is important?

Thousands beat cancer every year. Thanks to World Health Organization (Who), which promotes breast cancer control programs across the globe. This step by WHO is like a wand for people with cancer or are suspected to it because early finding of the condition can make a real difference.

Breast CancerThe most famous iconic example of early diagnosis is the Hollywood celebrity Angelina Jolie, who has taken this difficult decision to have surgery to reduce her chances of breast cancer. It was difficult for her because she is one of the most promising actors of the world. But, she made this decision because having lost her mother to ovarian cancer. She discovered that she carries BRCA1 gene which may put her at high risk of getting cancer. So, she took the decision to remove her breasts, which is also known as mastectomy.

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This decision clearly shows that no one is safe from this horrible disease, so try not to ignore any of the unusual symptoms that may put you in troublesome situation. To get treated and free from breast cancer, you just need to contact your doctor. He/she will determine the cause of any symptoms and will perform a physical examination including everything from personal to family medical history, as well as questions you about your current overall health status. Diagnosing the breast cancer includes the below mentioned physical examinations:

  • Palpation- This is the part of the initial examination in which your doctor will carefully feel the lump and the tissue around it. Then, he/she will determine its size and texture.
  • Nipple discharge examination- To determine the problem, your doctor will perform this exam by collecting the fluid from spontaneous nipple discharge to look for cancer cells. 

In addition to physical examinations, your doctor will perform imaging tests, which may include one or more of the following. These are described as under:

  • Mammography- Mammography is a diagnostic test in which an X-ray of the breast is taken to diagnose the unusual changes like lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a change in breast size or shape.
  • Ultrasound- This diagnostic test uses high-frequency sound waves to get images of body tissues. In this test sound waves enter the breast and bounce back. The pattern of echoes produces a picture called sonogram, which is displayed on a screen. Basically, this diagnostic test is often performed along with mammography.
  • Scintimammography This specialized radiology procedure is done when the other breasts examinations have not been clear. 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – MRI procedure uses a combination of magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of breasts. This test is being done to have a high sensitivity for detecting breast cancer in women both with and without symptoms. Moreover, MRI scans along with mammograms should be considered for women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, suspected woman with a first-degree relative (mother, sister, and/or daughter) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, or woman with 20% to 25% or lifetime risk of having breast cancer.
  • Biopsy- Biopsy is performed under the doctor’s supervision, when an abnormal finding in the breast is discovered during an ultrasound or any other physical examination. In this test, doctor removes cells from a suspicious mass to see if it’s cancer. Biopsy includes certain types like fine needle aspiration and core needle. In fine needle aspiration biopsy, a thin needle is placed into the lump to remove the sample of fluid or tissue. Whereas, in core needle biopsy a large needle is inserted into a lump or suspicious area to remove the tissue.
    Medications to treat breast cancer
  • Also Read: 8 genius ways to use veggies and boost health

Medications to treat breast cancer:

There are various medications and drugs that are very useful during the treatment of breast cancer. Medicines like Doxorubicin, Pamidronate, Bevacizumab, Raloxifene, and Gemcitabine are widely used to treat or lower the risk of breast cancer. These are already approved by the drug association for lowering the risk of breast cancer. You can avail these medications from various online stores or from over-the-counter.

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Treatment of breast cancer:

After finding out the cause of breast cancer, now the time has come for its treatment. There are various ways to treat breast cancer and it all depends on the type and stage as well as the other factors. Basically, two treatment options are available, these include local and systemic. Local treatment includes surgery and radiation therapy, whereas systemic treatment includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy and HER2 therapy.

After analyzing your test reports, your health care team will consider the characteristics of your cancer and analyze your health condition, they will make recommendations about the best treatment procedure or option. Now, it’s up to you that which treatment option you will take. Generally, there are two types of surgeries to rule out the risk of cancer at an early stage, these are mentioned below.

  • Breast-sparing surgery, followed by radiation therapy- Breast-sparing surgery is also known as breast-conserving surgery which includes lumpectomy and partial mastectomy. In lumpectomy, the tumor along with some surrounding normal tissues is removed, whereas in partial mastectomy, a portion of breast containing the tumor is removed.
  • Mastectomy- Mastectomy is the procedure in which a surgeon removes the whole breast that has cancer and possibly some of the lymph nodes under the arm. But, in modified radical mastectomy, whole breast along with lymph nodes under the arm and the lining over the chest muscles are removed. 
  • Endocrine therapy- This therapy helps the patient in preventing cancer from developing in the same or opposite breast. 

These surgeries are the best procedure for the initial stage because these help in removing all of the cancer from the breast. Basically, chemotherapy is usually not the part of any treatment procedure of initial stages of breast cancer. The initial stages cancer types are treated by surgeries only. Moreover, the treatment plan that may be advised by your consultant or doctor may vary from case to case.

Also Read: When is it time to visit a Gynaecologist?

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