Battle Against Breast Cancer
If someone close to your heart has been suffering from breast cancer, it’s necessary to understand some essentials about how and what causes breast cancer. Prior to talking about breast cancer it is vital to be aware of the structure of a breast.
Normally breast comprises of glands producing milk which are connected to the skin surface where nipple is located. Connective tissues support these ducts and glands. Channels connecting to lymph nodes, nerves and blood vessels make for remaining breast tissue.
Like in all types of cancer, the faulty tissue which leads to breast cancer belongs to the patient’s cells which have multiplied hysterically. They also travel to regions in your body where these cells are not required. Breast cancer starts with the development of an undersized, restrained tumor or lump, or on deposition of calcium and later spreads through lymph nodes to rest of the organs.
Few tumors are benign (non cancerous). There is only one safe way out in differentiating between a benign tumor and cancer and that is to get the tissue sample tested by a doctor. There are no symptoms in early stages of cancer. On development of cancer, following signs can be noted:
- A swelling in the breast or under the arms which remains after the menstrual cycle; this is often the initial symptom of breast cancer, such lumps do not pain, while some may lead to prickly sensation. Lumps can be detected on a mammogram even before they are visible
- Pain or softness in the breast
- An obvious flattening or groove on the breast, which may be indicative of a tumor which cannot be felt.
- An alteration in the shape of nipple, itching sensation or abnormal discharge which may be clear of bloody can be indicative of breast cancer.
Local or systemic treatment can be given to patients suffering from breast cancer. Local treatments include removal, destruction or controlling the affected cells in a particular area like in breast. They comprise of:
Breast conserving treatments which include surgeries like lumpectomy or mastectomy. Radiation therapy can be given. For destruction or controlling cancer cells through out the body, systemic treatments can be used.
Drugs are used to kill cancer cells which are termed as chemotherapy. However one drawback of implementing this treatment is that the drugs used in chemotherapy target the normal cells of our body along with affected cells which leads to destruction of normal cells.
Herceptin can be used as biological therapy which uses the immune system in destroying the cancerous cells. A patient can opt for single or multiple treatments for breast cancer depending on the intensity of the cancer. Also the risks and action of each treatment should be discussed with the doctor.