Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. This cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women. Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped create advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

It’s important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Non-cancerous breast tumours are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast. They are not life-threatening, but some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care professional to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer) and if it might affect your future cancer risk.

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Our doctor also needs to be aware of any other risk factors beyond your control, so that he or she has an accurate understanding of your level of breast cancer risk. Below are some risk factors that may influence Breast Cancer:

  • Weight: Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, especially for women after menopause. Fat tissue is the body’s main source of estrogen after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing the hormone.
  • Diet: Studies are looking at the relationship between diet and breast cancer risk and the risk of recurrence. The Women’s Health Initiative Trial suggested that a diet very low in fat may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Alcohol consumption: Studies have shown that breast cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman drinks. Alcohol can limit your liver’s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen, which in turn can increase risk.
  • Smoking: Smoking is associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk.
  • Family history of breast cancer: If you have a first-degree relative (mother, daughter, sister) who has had breast cancer, or you have multiple relatives affected by breast or ovarian cancer (especially before they turned age 50), you could be at higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • DES exposure: Women who took a medication called diethylstilbestrol (DES), used to prevent miscarriage from the 1940s through the 1960s, have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

Staging of Breast Cancer:

There are several groups of lymph nodes around each breast. The stage often depends on which lymph nodes the cancer has spread to.

Stage 0 One of the following applies:

  • The cancer cells are only in the lining of a breast duct. This is called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
  • It has buildup abnormal cells in the breast lobules. This is called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).
  • There is Paget disease of the breast without any invasive carcinoma, DCIS or LCIS.

Stage 1A Tumour is 2 cm or smaller.

Stage 1B The tumour is 2 cm or smaller, or no tumour can be seen in the breast. A small number of cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes (micrometastases). Each lymph node with cancer cells in it is no larger than 2 mm.

Stage 2A The tumour is 2 cm or smaller, or no tumour can be seen in the breast. Cancer cells are found in 1 to 3 lymph nodes under the arm (axillary lymph nodes), in lymph nodes inside the chest around the breastbone (internal mammary lymph nodes) or in both areas. Or the tumour is larger than 2 cm but not more than 5 cm.

Stage 2B The tumour is larger than 2 cm but not more than 5 cm. The cancer has also spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes, internal mammary lymph nodes or both areas. Or the tumour is larger than 5 cm.

Stage 3A The tumour is 5 cm or smaller, or no tumour can be seen in the breast. Cancer cells are found in 4 to 9 axillary lymph nodes, or in internal mammary lymph nodes but not in axillary lymph nodes. Or the tumour is larger than 5 cm. The cancer has also spread to 1 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or to internal mammary lymph nodes. Or it may have spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes and internal mammary lymph nodes.

Stage 3B The tumour has grown into the muscles of the chest wall or the skin or both. Then the cancer may have also spread to 1 to 9 axillary lymph nodes or to internal mammary lymph nodes. Or it may have spread to 1 to 3 axillary lymph nodes and internal mammary lymph nodes. Also, it is inflammatory breast cancer.

Stage 3C It is stage 3C when any of the following applies:

  • The cancer has spread to 10 or more axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes below the collarbone (infraclavicular lymph nodes).
  • It has spread to more than 3 axillary lymph nodes and internal mammary lymph nodes.
  • Cancer has spread to lymph nodes above the collarbone (supraclavicular lymph nodes).

Stage 4 The cancer has spread to other parts of the body (called distant metastasis), such as to the bone, liver, lungs or brain. This is also called metastatic breast cancer.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it’s important to check your breasts regularly and see your doctor if you notice a change. Here are some of the common symptoms that are been noticed:

  • swelling of all or part of the breast
  • skin irritation or dimpling
  • breast pain
  • nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  • redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • a nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the underarm area

Treatment Options: Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.

  • Surgery: An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
  • Hormonal therapy: Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
  • Biological therapy: Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
  • Radiation therapy: Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.

Cost for Treatment of Breast Cancer in India:

Cost effectiveness is the main concern of all the medical tourists that are flying abroad for medical treatment. We at Manaaki, keep the process transparent and authentic. No adulteration in costs, treatment, commission. India is well known for it’s international standards, no language barrier, personalized attention, safe surgery and seamless travel opportunities. The approximate cost of Cancer Treatment would range between USD 3000 to USD 10000 per cycle depending on the current condition of the patient.

Recovery Timeline:

It may take a few weeks to fully recover. If you are having breast conserving surgery, you may be able to go home on the day of your operation. It is normal to feel tired at first after your operation, and you will be advised to avoid driving and lifting heavy objects for a few weeks. You usually go back to the outpatient clinic for the nurse to do this. Most people find that their wounds take about 2 to 3 weeks to heal.

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