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BREAST CANCER

When cells divide when new cells are not needed, too much tissue is formed. This mass of extra tissue, called a tumor, can be benign or malignant. When breast cells divide, it is called breast tumor.  Benign tumors are not cancer, can be easily removed and rarely threat to life. Malignant tumors are cancer which usually spread across body over period of time and can be threat to life. Breast cancer is 2ndmost common cancers of woman after skin cancer but it can occur in man as well. There are different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer spread mainly to lymph nodes under the arm. Prognosis depends on types, spread, stage of cancer etc

Symptoms

Initially there may be no symptoms at all but following symptoms are common:

  • Breast lump
  • Change in breast size or shape
  • Nipple inversion
  • Nipple discharge
  • Breast pain

Skin changes (thickening, swelling, or redness

Causes

Cause is similar as elsewhere that is due to mutation in DNA. Sometimes, breast cancer run in family. 

Diagnosis

  • Screening:
  • Breast self-examination
  • Clinical examination by health professional
  • Mammography
  • USG/ video xray
  • MRI
  • Definitive diagnosis:
  • Biopsy

Risk Factors

  • Age: risk increases with age of woman.
  • Family history:
  • Radiation exposure:
  • Hormone exposure: hormone therapy for woman after stopping menstruation
  • Breastfeeding: breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Treatment

Treatment depends upon stage of cancer. Surgery and radiation therapy along with hormone supplementation or chemotherapy is considered primary treatment. Common drugs used to treat breast cancer are docetaxel, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, carboplatin, methotrexate etc.