By Dr. Namrata (Agarwal) Mahansaria, Surgical Oncology
Breast cancer is characterized by an abnormal multiplication of cells in the tissues of the breast. The disease is the most common cancer in Indian women, and mostly affects women in the age group 55-65. However, the disease may occur in men as well.
The exact cause of breast cancer is not known as of now. Some of the factors that influence the multiplication of cells are your genes and the environment. Other factors such as early menarche, late menopause and excess use of hormone therapy post-menopause can be other triggers for this disease.
The symptoms of breast cancer are:
- A swelling/lump in the breast
- Any Discharge from the nipples
- lump in the armpits
- The skin around the breast may become sore
- The skin around the breast may be irritated
The treatment depends on the size, grade and stage of the breast cancer. The sensitivity of the cancerous cells to the hormones in the body is also considered in this regard. The various treatment methods are:
- Surgery: There are multiple types of surgeries which may be used to treat breast cancer. In some cases, only a small area of the breast may be removed if the size of the tumor is small along with the nodes in the armpit. Sometimes, mastectomy is performed where the entire breast tissue and axillary tissue has to be removed.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of treatment in which the cancerous cells are targeted by using certain drugs which are injected into the body. However, chemotherapy has its own share of side effects such as hair loss, sudden and drastic weight loss and fatigue.
- Radiation Therapy: This procedure involves using radiations to destroy cancer cells in the body. This procedure is carried out with the help of a machine that focuses radiation on the affected areas of the body.