Breast Cancer

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Overview

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells of the breast tissue. It is one of the most common cancers in women, but with the advancement in technology, it has become easier to detect it at an early stage, and hence the mortality associated with it has declined significantly.

Causes

Like all cancers, breast cancer also develops as a result of an interaction between various genetic and environmental factors that predispose a patient to develop the cancer. Some of these factors can be listed as:

  • Increasing age
  • A personal history of breast cancer, and other breast conditions
  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Inheriting genes that increase cancer risk
  • Radiation exposure
  • Obesity
  • Early start of period
  • Late start of menopause
  • Having first child at an older age
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy

Symptoms

Some of the following breast cancer symptoms and signs should be noted by the patient in order to become alert about the possible condition:

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  • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

Diagnosis

The following are some of the tests and procedures that can confirm the diagnosis of breast cancer:

Treatment

There are several different treatment modalities that are used, either alone, or in combination. They are the following:

  1. Surgery (Lumpectomy, Mastectomy, sentinel lymph node removal)
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. Radiotherapy
  4. Hormone therapy
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