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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Women's Health Breast cancer

Breast cancer

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Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women

Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the cells of the breast in women and men. It is the second most common type of cancer.

Symptoms

  • A spontaneous clear or bloody discharge from your nipple often associated with the breast lump.
  • Retraction or indentation of the nipple.
  • A change in size or contour of the breasts.
  • Any flattening or indentation or puckering of the skin of the breast.
  • Redness or pitting of the skin of the breast like skin of an orange.
  • Breast pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vaginal pain.
  • Ulceration of the breast.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the arm pit

Call your doctor

  • If one or both breasts develop an abnormal lump or persistent pain or look or feel abnormal.
  • If you have swollen lymph glands in arm pit. Breast cancer screening: For woman at normal risk of breast cancer, self-examinations, clinical examinations and mammography starting at 40 may screen for breast cancer. Abnormal results or high-risk woman need earlier screening or additional tests.

Tests to detect breast cancer

  • Breast self-examination.
  • Clinical breast examination.
  • Mammogram.
  • Breast ultrasound.
  • Breast Biopsy

Risk factors

  • Age: It commonly occurs in woman older than 50 years.
  • Personal history of breast cancer: If you have cancer in one breast, there is increased risk of developing in other breasts.
  • Family history positive for breast cancer are at high risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Early onset of menstrual cycles: if you had got your periods at an early age that is below 12 years are at increased risk.
  • Excessive weight.
  • Late menopause.
  • Nulliparous woman.
  • Woman who has not breast fed their children.
  • Use of birth control pills are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Smoking.

Treatment


Goals of treatment: To rid the body of the cancer completely. To prevent cancer from recurring.

Types of treatment

  • Surgery: Either mastectomy (removal of breast), lumpectomy (removal of lump.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: Here drugs are used to kill cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy. It uses drugs to prevent hormones, especially estrogen from promoting the growth of breast cancer cells that may remain after breast cancer surgery.

Treatment side effects

Abdominal pain, allergic reactions, anemia, anxiety, arm pit discomfort, appetite changes, back pain, bone and joint pain, breathing problems, blood clots and phlebitis, hair changes, headaches, weakness, fatigue etc.

A complication of breast cancer is metastasis.

Prevention of breast cancer

  • Aspirin: Aspirin taken once in a week protect against breast cancer.
  • Restrict alcohol intake.
  • Maintaining healthy weight.
  • Avoiding long term hormone therapy.
  • Avoid exposure to pesticides.
  • Use of retinoid help in destroying the growth of cancer cells.
  • Chemoprevention using certain drugs