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Wear It Pink In October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Health - Nairaland

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Wear It Pink In October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month by spshospitals(m): 9:43am On Oct 05, 2016
Worldwide breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women. It affects 12% of women worldwide. Cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a swelling, change in breast shape, dimpling of skin, fluid discharge from nipple or a red scaly patch on the skin. Can also present as a spread disease as swellings in armpits or neck, bone pains, shortness of breath or jaundice. Some breast cancers presents atypically as inflammation or eczema this can delay the diagnosis. Hence all breast lesions warrant early surgical or oncology consult.

There are various risk factors, like female sex, alcohol, and smoking, lack of exercise, hormonal replacement therapy during menopause, early first menstruation, having children late or not at all, older age, no breastfeeding and family history. If some first degree relative have the disease then chances to get it are double than general population.

Cancer can develop from breast ducts which are called as Ductal carcinoma and which develops from lobules is called as lobular carcinoma. Diagnosis is confirmed by doing mammography and taking a sample of cells by needle or by a small cut called as biopsy. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, further tests are done to determine if cancer is spread beyond the breast and which treatments it may respond to.

It is very important to understand that not all breast swellings are cancers, only fewer than 20% of all breast swellings are cancerous.

Microscopically cancers can be low grade, intermediate grade or high grade. High grade cancers carries worse outcome. Grossly it is staged clinically according to its size, spread to lymph nodes in armpits and distant spread to other organs. Early stage cancers have better prognosis than late stage cancers. To stage and detect spread some radiological tests like PET scan or MRI are done.

Screening: as per present research, breast cancer screening at any age does not appear to be beneficial, but patient should be vigilant about any swelling in the breast and should get thoroughly evaluated by a qualified doctor.

Treatment: usually treated with surgery, which may be followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A multidisciplinary approach is preferable. Treatment varies with stage and age of the patient. After the chemotherapy, hormonal blocking medications in receptors positive patients. Dr. Navdeep Singh, renowned medical oncologist of SPS hospitals, Ludhiana said that prognosis in cancer of breast has improved in the last decade. As there are better investigations which can detect the disease at the earlier stage and newer improved medications and surgical intervention can almost cure the disease. As per his expert opinion, Rays of optimism are on the rise in the treatment. Newer drugs like monoclonal antibodies and immune modulating treatments have improved the outcomes in advanced disease.

Surgery can be of breast conserving or radical type, where whole breast is removed along with lumpy nodes from the armpit.

Even non operable breast cancers can be down staged and made operable with the help of Neoadjuvant therapy.

Emotional impact of cancer is severe which is tackled effectively with the cancer support groups.

Prevention: Risk can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, saying no to alcohol, being physically active, breastfeeding their children. Diet changes can be useful like eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding oily and saturated diets.

Increasing vigilance for the doubtful breast swellings. These simple measures can prevent up to 40 % of breast cancers. Marine Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and Soya based foods may reduce the risk.

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