Skin & Hair

What is Breast Cancer? A Quick Primer

Breast cancer affects 5% to 8% of the Indian population

Presence of lumps in the breast is one of the early breast cancer signs

Women over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer

June 1st, 2021
3 mins read

Breast cancer affects 5% to 8% of the Indian population, making it the second most prevalent type of cancer after cervical cancer. To understand early breast cancer signs and avail treatment at the right time, read on.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer, as the name suggests, forms in the cells of the breast. While it can occur in both men and women, it is widespread in women.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

  • A long present lump in the breast or underarm that feels different from the surrounding tissues.  
  • Dimple or flat indent on the breast, which is a sign of a tumor.
  • Sudden changes in the appearance, size and shape of the breast.
  • Inversion of nipples or changes in the skin over and surrounding the breasts.
  • Pigmentation, peeling, crusting, flaking or scaling of the areolas or skin over the breasts.
  • Sudden bloody or clear discharge from the nipples.
  • Swelling under the arm and collarbone as the spread of cancer from the breasts to the lymph nodes can cause inflammation in these areas.

Also Read: Symptoms of Breast Cancer

check breast cancer at home

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Physical examination

To look for any unusual changes in the shape, size, and skin of the breasts.

Mammogram

An X-ray of the breast to check if the tumor is benign or cancerous.

Ultrasound and MRI

Non-invasive imaging tests for further confirmation and clarity.

Biopsy

To surgically remove a small piece of the breast tissue for lab study

Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Lumpectomy

Here, the cancerous tissues in the breast are surgically removed while keeping the breast intact.

Mastectomy

Here, the entirety of the breast, along with the tumor and connecting tissues, are surgically removed.

Chemotherapy

One of the most common cancer treatments, this uses drugs to impede the spread of cancer.

Radiation

Here, targeted beams such as X-rays are used to kill cancer cells.

Hormone and targeted therapy

This is used when breast cancer is caused due to hormones.

Similar to other cancers, early diagnosis and treatment is the only way to cure breast cancer altogether. Ensure that you undergo regular check-ups and screening for breast cancer, especially once you cross 40 years of age. Moreover, on the slightest doubt on detecting any early breast cancer signs, visit your doctor immediately. 

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