Breast Cancer Treatment
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Breast Cancer Treatment in KPHB, Hyderabad
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. There are several types of breast cancers. Cancer can arise from any type of cell in the breast. However, most commonly cancer starts in the ducts.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is the earliest stage of cancer (stage 0). Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) means that the cancer cells are inside the ducts, but have not spread through the walls of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. Nearly all women diagnosed at this early stage of breast cancer can be cured. Presently yearly mammography is the best way to find DCIS.
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common type of breast cancer. DCIS may progress to this stage if untreated. This cancer starts in a milk duct of the breast, breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. At this point, it may be able to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system and bloodstream. Even these are curable when detected early (small size).
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC): Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules). Like IDC, it can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Invasive lobular carcinoma may be harder to detect by a mammogram than invasive ductal carcinoma.
Symptoms And Diagnosis
The earliest stage of breast cancer (called DCIS) does not cause any symptoms. It is diagnosed with an X-ray test called Mammography or ultrasound examination. In this stage the disease is completely curable.
A lump in the breast is the most common symptom that most women with breast cancer consult a doctor. Some patients may come with discharge from nipple. In all this absence of pain is the most important feature. Because of lack of pain a lot of patients delay taking medical help.
A needle test (FNAC) or needle biopsy can give a diagnosis in most of the cases.
Staging & Treatment
The staging system is very complicated. Here I am presenting a very basic information on the staging. Accurate staging will require professional help.
DCIS where the disease confined to the ducts. These are mostly curable and breast can be saved in most of cases. Removal of the affected part of the breast cures this cancer. No further treatment is usually required.
Tumors smaller than 2 cm with no spread to lymph nodes or other organs. These are mostly curable and breast can be saved in most of cases. After surgery radiotherapy to the saved breast is given to reduce the risk of cancer from coming back. Chemotherapy also helps in reducing this risk.
Maximum of 5 cm size tumor with very limited spread to lymph nodes (1-3), with no spread to other organs. Cure rate is good in these cases. Breast can be saved in many of these cases. Some patients may require chemotherapy before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor, so that breast can be saved.
Larger than 5 cm tumors with significant local involvement with no spread to other organs. These are locally advanced cases with higher risk for reappearance (recurrence) of cancer, very often at far away sites. Surgery mostly involves removal of entire breast. Breast can be reconstructed in these cases at an appropriate time.
Any breast cancer with spread to distant organs. These are usually not curable. Surgery is only performed in order to give better quality of life.