Everything You Need to Learn and Understand About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the breast. There are various support groups, such as Hong Kong Cancer Fund for cancer patients. This support group helps provide financial assistance and other support to the patients and their families.
There are two main types of breast cancer: Invasive breast cancer and non-invasive (or in situ) breast cancer.
- Invasive breast cancer
It means that cancer has spread from where it started in the breast ducts or lobules to other parts of the body.
- Non-invasive (or in situ) breast cancer
Cancer is still confined to the breast ducts or lobules and has not spread to other body parts.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and it is one of the leading causes of death in women.
What are the stages of breast cancer?
The breast cancer stage is a way of describing how far cancer has spread in the body. There are four main stages of breast cancer:
- Stage 0
The cancer is still in the breast ducts or lobules and has not spread to other body parts.
- Stage I
Cancer has spread from where it started in the breast ducts or lobules to the surrounding tissues.
- Stage II
Cancer has spread from the breast to the lymph nodes.
- Stage III
Cancer has spread from the breast to other body parts, such as the bones or liver.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. Other symptoms may include:
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
When there are changes in the size or shape of your breast, it may be a sign that something is wrong.
- A change in the appearance of the skin on the breast
If you notice any changes in the appearance of your skin, such as dimpling or redness, it may be a sign of breast cancer.
- Nipple discharge
If you notice any changes in the appearance of your nipples, such as discharge or redness, it may be a sign of breast cancer.
- Pain in the breast
Breast cancer may cause pain in the breast. However, this is more likely to signify another condition, such as mastitis.
- Swelling in the armpit
If you notice any swelling in your armpit, it may signify breast cancer.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
When it comes to Hong Kong breast cancer screening, the diagnosis can be with a mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. If there are signs of cancer, a biopsy will be done. A biopsy is a procedure where a small tissue sample is taken from the breast and examined under a microscope.
How is breast cancer treated?
After Hong Kong breast cancer screening, the treatment for breast cancer depends on the stage of cancer and the age and health of the patient. The most common treatments are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
The most common type of surgery for breast cancer is a mastectomy. It is where the breast tissue is removed. In some cases, only a portion of the breast tissue is removed. It is called a lumpectomy.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. It is usually given after surgery.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is usually given as an intravenous (IV) infusion. The drugs are given through a vein in the arm. These drugs circulate throughout the body and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also be given as a pill.
Methods of detection
1) Clinical breast exam
During a clinical breast exam, a healthcare provider will examine the breasts and underarms for any lumps, swellings, or changes in appearance.
2) Breast self-exam
It is also crucial for women to perform regular breast self-exams. It involves visually and physically inspecting the breasts for any changes.
3) Imaging tests
Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, may be used to better look at the breast tissue. These tests can help determine if a mass is solid or filled with fluid.
A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination. It is the only way to diagnose breast cancer definitively.
What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
There are several risk factors for breast cancer, including age, family history, lifestyle choices, and certain medical conditions.
The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50.
2) Family history
If you have a family member, such as a mother, sister, or daughter, diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk of developing the disease increases.
3) Lifestyle choices
Certain lifestyle choices, such as drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
4) Certain medical conditions
Certain medical conditions, such as having dense breasts or having a history of breast biopsies, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
5) Hormone replacement therapy
Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. HRT is usually taken to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
The aftercare you should know
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, it is essential to follow your treatment plan. It may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. You will also need to see your healthcare provider for regular checkups.
During these appointments, your healthcare provider will check your breasts for changes and perform a physical exam. You may also need imaging tests, such as a mammogram or MRI.
It is also essential to make lifestyle changes to reduce your cancer risk. These changes may include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing your alcohol intake. You should also talk to your healthcare provider about taking steps to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer in the first place.
Breast cancer is a severe disease that can be life-threatening. However, it is essential to remember that treatment options are available, and the prognosis is often excellent. With early detection and treatment, most women diagnosed with breast cancer will go on to lead long and healthy lives.
If you think you may be at risk for breast cancer, it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine if you need to be screened for the disease and offer guidance on how to reduce your risk.