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Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Treatment

11 July, 2022 Ananya Das

Original Source of Blog : 3Meds.com

Breast Cancer - Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatment

It is important to know the symptoms of breast cancer as early detection is vital in successful treatment. Learn more about breast cancer symptoms, causes and stages. Struggling with symptoms of breast cancer? Here are some of the most common symptoms, causes and stages to be aware of. Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells within the breast tissue. These abnormal cells can grow, spread and destroy healthy tissue. Learn about breast cancer symptoms and diagnosis. Almost half of breast cancers are found either through a breast self-examination or by a doctor during a routine physical. If you notice any breast cancer symptoms, it is important to notify your doctor about these changes. 

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the breast cells and, if untreated, spreads to other body areas and becomes invasive. Apart from these areas, this cancer can also originate from the fatty tissue or fibrous connective tissues that are present within the breasts. Typically, this cancer develops in the lobules or ducts of the breast.

Breast cancer develops when cells in any of the aforementioned breast regions begin to divide uncontrolled. Breast cancer is essentially the result of unregulated cell division that occurs in the lobules or ducts of the breast. Cancer may spread from breast cells to other cells and eventually to all body tissues.

Symptoms

Now the question is how to know if you have breast cancer? The answer is simple yet complex. You can recognize if you have breast cancer by first noticing the symptoms you are facing. Symptoms are the warning signs to aware you before something very big and dangerous happens. Some of the most common symptoms that can be found if someone is diagnosed with breast cancer are mentioned below.

  • The breast skin will turn red and some sort of pits will appear over the skin.
  • A sort of lump may be found around the breast.
  • Changes in the size and shape of the breast can be observed.
  • Blood or clear fluid discharging from the nipples.
  • Changes can be observed over the nipple or breast skin. Scales and dimples may appear over the skin.

Causes

Though we know that breast cancer develops due to the uncontrolled multiplication of the cells of either your lobules or ducts. But these usually don’t happen normally. There are various risk factors that cause the development of this growth. Let us here look at the factors that are responsible for this.

  • In case you are already suffering from some sort of breast problem, then the chances of developing breast cancer are more.
  • Already if you were a patient of breast cancer in past then the chances of its recurring are more.
  • Excess body weight is considered to be a major contributor to developing breast cancers. If you are obese, then chances are high.
  • Pregnancy also has a connection with breast cancer. Females who already have been through pregnancies are at low risk of developing breast cancer but those who were never pregnant can develop it more easily.
  • Smoking and consuming alcohol are also found to be responsible for developing breast cancer. Quitting, if you are actually involved in them, is the best option if you really want to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer.
  • Exposure to any type of radiation therapy can be the reason. If due for some reason, you had to undergo radiation therapy on or near your chest in past, then the chances of developing breast cancer rise manifolds.
  • Though not so prevalent, family history plays a major role in developing breast cancers. In case any member of your family was diagnosed with breast cancer then the possibility that you will suffer the same increases many times.

 

Above given all are the various reasons that with time can become the reason for developing breast cancer. So make sure to take care of these and stay healthful.

Stages

We are all aware that cancer arises when genetic changes occur that allow cells to grow out of control. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops when breast cells have a mutation.

Breast cancer progresses repeatedly from stage 0 to stage IV and repeats

Here, we've gone over each of the different breast cancer stages in detail.

  1. Stage 0: The earliest stage of breast cancer, commonly known as carcinoma in situ, is also the most challenging to detect. At this time, the spread of tumor cells to other parts of the breast and body is typically not discovered, and the condition is therefore regarded as precancerous, necessitating only care rather than therapy. Stage 0 often has two types.
    1. In situ ductal carcinoma: As it grows in breast ducts, it can be easily found during mammography examinations. Since it is intrusive, early treatment is more likely.
    2. In situ lobular cancer: In this instance, the cells split into lobules and are often not malignant, though they could develop into one over time. These typically don't expand to the breasts and other body regions.
  2. Stage 1: The earliest stage of breast cancer, which has the potential to spread to other areas, is this one. The tumor, in this case, may be up to 2 cm in size, but because it is so little, it may be challenging to find. There are two categories for this as well.
    1. Stage 1A: In this case, the tumor is 2 cm in size.
    2. Stage 1B: Here, tumor sizes range from 2 cm to less, and clusters of cancer cells larger than 2 cm are discovered.

 

Even though stage 1A has a better survival rate than stage 1B.

 

  1. Stage 2:   This particular type of cancer also has the potential to spread to nearby areas. The tumor size, in this case, may range from 2 cm to 5 cm. It is not anticipated that the cells will spread to the various body parts in this situation. Self-examination can reveal if there are any firm lumps in the breast. There are two categories for this as well.
    1. Stage 2A: The tumor maybe 2 to 5 cm in size in stage 2A, although it may not have progressed to the auxiliary lymph nodes.
    2. Stage 2B: The tumor maybe 2 to 5 cm in size or greater, although it may not have metastasized to the auxiliary lymph.

Stage 2A's survival rate can be marginally greater than stage 2B's.

 

  1. Stage 3: When a tumor is larger than 2 inches in diameter, it is also referred to as locally advanced breast cancer. This stage of breast cancer is also considerably more invasive since cancer has migrated through the lymph nodes to other body areas. There are 3 categories here.
  • Stage 3A: In this instance, one of the following modifications occurs:
    • The tumor is not naturally present in the auxiliary lymph node, where cancer has migrated to the breast.
    • The malignancy has already spread to the lymph nodes and the tumor is 2 cm or smaller.
    • The lymph nodes have been affected by the tumor, which is 2 to 4 cm in size.
    • The tumor has lymph node spread and is more than 5 cm.
  • Stage 3B: The tumor in this instance is different sizes and has progressed to the chest wall and auxiliary lymph nodes. Inflammation results from it if it spreads to the breast skin.
  • Stage 3C: Here, the chest wall has been affected despite the absence of symptoms. Lymph nodes contain cancer cells, which may have migrated to auxiliary lymph nodes. This phase might be workable.

Stage 3A has a greater survival rate than stage 3B, which in turn has a higher survival rate than stage 3C.

  1. Stage 4: Breast cancer that has already spread outside of the breast is also known as metastatic breast cancer. Bones, the brain, and the liver are even among the impacted sites.
  2. Recurrent breast cancer: Once the initial treatment is over, the cancer in this situation returns. The repeating period ranges from one year to three years, and in some situations, it may be longer.  The type of cancer and the method of treatment affect the likelihood of a recurrence.

Treatment: -

Having known so much about the symptoms, causes, and stages of breast cancer. Now let us also know how it is treated. Depending on the stage, type, size, and invasion of your cancer, the method of treatment used to treat it varies.

Through years of research and development, a number of treatments and drugs have been created to help women avoid developing breast cancer. The most common treatment for breast cancer is surgery, however, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy are all occasionally utilized. Now let's take a quick look at them.

Therapies: -

Some of the therapies that stands effective for the treatment of breast cancer are as follows:

  1. Radiation therapy: - In radiation therapy, altered cells that have led to cancer are targeted and killed using powerful radiation beams. In this procedure, the patient is exposed in front of a sizable machine that administers radiation therapy by expelling the radiation from the affected area.
  2. Brachytherapy: - With the development of science and technology, radiation therapy has advanced, and now there are ways to use it to irradiate cancer from within the body. Brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy in which radioactive seeds are surgically implanted close to the tumor cells inside the body. The cancer cells are then destroyed for a brief period of time by these seeds.
  3. Chemotherapy: - Drugs are utilized in this kind of treatment to eradicate the cancer cells that have grown within the body. Usually, this treatment is used in conjunction with surgery or another form of therapy, but it may also be used on its own. In order to reduce the growth of the tumor before surgery, chemotherapy is frequently administered first. This is followed by a quick operation to remove the tumor.
  4. Hormone therapy: - The doctor may continue with hormone therapy if it is discovered after diagnosis that the form of breast cancer you have is hormone-sensitive. Female hormones progesterone and estrogen are known to promote the growth of breast cancer in the event of hormone-sensitive breast cancer. By preventing the hormone receptors on the cancer cells, hormone treatment prevents the generation and function of these hormones. The growth of the cancer cells is eventually slowed or even stopped by this.

Medicines: -

The following list of prescription drugs includes several that can significantly reduce the chance of breast cancer in women developing and spreading.

  1. Tamoxifen: - This medication falls under the category of SERM, and 20mg per day for the following five years is often the suggested dosage. This medication has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of developing breast cancer by almost 50%.
  2. Raloxifene: - The suggested dosage for this medication, which is likewise in the SERM class, is roughly 60 mg daily for a period of five years. It is thought to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer by nearly 40%. In postmenopausal women, this medication has also been shown to safeguard the bones.
  3. Exemestane: - The suggested dosage for this medication, which is an aromatase inhibitor, is 25 mg per day for the first five years. Given that it is known to reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer by over 65%, this is thought to be quite effective. However, taking this medication has some potentially negative side effects, like bone thinning and a few menopause symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

It is best advised to take these medications only on your doctor's advice and prescription. All of the medications used in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer have a few negative effects. Therefore, it's always best to see your doctor and obtain the appropriate therapy if you experience any of these. These medications and prescriptions can be conveniently purchased from online pharmacies at your convenience and at good prices.

Take away:

Cancers of any type are considered to be fatal for the health. It's very difficult to diagnose them at times but usually, when diagnosed it gets too late. The main reason behind this is our negligence of the associated symptoms. We should very carefully observe our body for the various warning signs a growing cancer is trying to show. Based on this we should consult the doctor for a proper diagnosis.

The majority of cancers affect women nowadays, but breast cancer is currently the most prevalent. Due to its numerous adverse effects, it is difficult to manage. If you discover any type of lymph in your breasts by self-examination, you should absolutely see a doctor so that it can be identified early and you can recover quickly with standard therapy. It's also usually encouraged to take the necessary precautions to avoid the numerous risk factors that could cause breast cancer.