Breast cancer continues to make headlines every day. It is a disease which can cause great sorrow. Yet every case is a story of grit and courage and sheer perseverance to beat the odds. Breast cancer, if diagnosed in time is completely CURABLE!!
A lady, who recently became the CEO of a large research company, felt a lump in her breast. With great trepidation she visited our clinic and spent an hour discussing with us the various options. She had no intention of giving up anything in life and hence attended one meeting abroad even when she was on chemotherapy. Today she is fully cured and completely back to her work and family.
• Breast cancer impacts over 240,000 new patients a year in India.
• Approximately every 3 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately every 12 minutes breast cancer claims another life.
• 70% of breast cancer cases occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors.
• 22% of all cancers in women are breast cancers.
• Numero Uno cancer in urban women; no.2 in whole of India
• Over age 40
• Personal or family history of breast cancer
• Early age of menarche
• Late age at menopause
• Never had children or
• Had first child at age 30 or older
It is basically driven by three heads
Surgery had changed like never before
MASTECTOMY : This procedure essentially involves removal of the entire breast and the associated glands in the armpit (axillary lymph nodes). Previously the entire muscle of the chest wall was also removed. (Pectoralis major). However now the procedure performed is called MODIFIED RADICAL MASTECTOMY in which the muscles are preserved. SIMPLE MASTECTOMY is done in cases of prophylactic mastectomy like in the recent case of a Hollywood celebrity where only the breast tissue is removed and the axillary glands are spared.
CONSERVATIVE SURGERY : The biggest change in surgery is that many patients with breast cancer need not undergo complete removal of the breast. They can go in for partial removal or conservative surgery of the breast.
RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY : Nowadays plastic surgeons can do a wonderful job in reconstructing the breast using the body�s own tissue, implants and other techniques to give a near normal breast. This helps to preserve the body image and restores the confidence of the individual.
RADIATION is the treatment where the tumor is killed by rays emitted by a radiation source. With modern medicine the machines delivering this have become better with good software guiding the rays so that only the tumor tissue is killed and the rest of the organs are affected as less as possible.
Which are given through I,V and saline. They do cause some side effects like loss of hair, nausea vomiting etc but all of these are temporary. Now there are medicines available to effectively counter these side effects. There is a recent development called targeted therapy where the drugs attack certain genetic mutations present in the cancer cells so that normal cells are spared and hence side effects are minimal.
The five year survival rate for breast cancer patients has increased
� From 72% in the late 1940�s
� To 97% today
Screening is done for early detection .good screening techniques can lead to the diagnosis of more than 90% breast cancer.
1) Breast self examination :
• Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
• For younger women, it is an essential component for early detection techniques to be effective.
• Women should report any breast change promptly to their health care providers.
• Women should be doing BSE 7 to 10 days after the first day of their periods.
• If no longer menstruating, choose one day of the month and perform it on the same day each month.
• Nursing mothers should be performing BSE just after feeding the baby or expressing milk from the breast.
• Clinical breast exams (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam.
• Every three years for women in their 20s and 30s.
• Every year for women 40 and over.
• A mammogram is usually performed with the patient standing
• The breast tissue is compressed and x-rays are taken from different angles
• Mammography can detect 80-90 percent of tumors up to two years before they can be felt
• Effective way to detect breast cancer in early stages
• It is recommended by ACS that all women over 50 get a yearly mammogram
• Women with family history should get it earlier