By Dr. Dimpy Irani, Gynaecology
The initial sign of breast cancer is usually an abnormal mammogram or a breast lump. Stages of breast cancer vary from early, curable breast cancer to metastatic breast cancer, which includes a number of such cancer treatments.
Breast Cancer does not usually have any symptoms during its early stages. As the development progresses, the following symptoms can be noticed:
- Swollen armpit
- Tenderness or pain in the breast
- Noticeable indentation or flattening of the breasts.
- Changes in the contour, size, temperature or texture of breasts
- Changes occurring in the nipple like nipple dimpling, retraction, itching, ulceration or a burning sensation
- Abnormal discharge from the nipple which might be bloody, clear or of another color
- A region that is noticeably different from other areas on either breast
The type of treatment recommended by the doctor depends on the following:
- Type of breast cancer
- Size of tumor
- Presence of receptors for certain type of hormones
There are some treatments that can be utilized to destroy or remove the disease from within the breast and tissues such as lymph nodes that are nearby. They include:
- Surgery: A procedure called Mastectomy can be used to remove the whole breast. On the other hand, a procedure called lumpectomy can be used to eliminate only the tumor and the tissues that surround it. There are different varieties of both surgeries.
- Radiation Therapy: This utilizes waves of high energy to eliminate cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: This procedure utilizes drugs to eliminate cancer cells but has its side effects.
- Hormone Therapy: This procedure utilizes drugs to prevent hormones from promoting breast cancer cells.