Why one should to know
- Nearly 50% of diagnosed cases are in stage 3 and 4
- Breast lump doesn’t cause any other problems like pain
- Social stigma/ shy - prevents women from getting to doctor early
- If aware breast cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat
The symptoms mentioned below doesn’t always mean one has cancer
- New onset lump in breast or axilla
- Usually, cancer lumps are painless
- Majority are benign
- The skin over the breast gets thickened
- A recent change in the shape of breast
Peau de orange
- Looks like orange skin
- Can happen in infection also
- Skin over breast shows dimpling
- More prominent when the arm is raised above
- Reddish discharge
- Recent onset Retraction / inversion
- Skin changes / Eczema
Do not worry
- You have pain in your breasts and no lump
- white / greenish discharge
- Lumps that have been diagnosed as fibroadenoma by your cancer surgeon
- Difference in breast/nipple size.
When to do it?
- Each month on a fixed day lady examines her breast for any suspicious findings
- Few days post periods in a menstruating lady
- One fixed day in each month for a post menstrual lady
How to do it ?
- Inspection - you see
- Palpation - you feel
- Stand in front of a mirror and look for any recent changes in the appearance of both breasts
- Lift hands above the head and observe
- Keep hands over the waist and press
Palpation - to feel
- Usually done while /after taking a shower
- Easier to perform
- Circular movements inside out / outside in
- Not to miss any parts
- Same procedure is done in the armpit area and around the collar bone
- Apply gentle pressure on the nipple and look for any discharge.
- Repeat the examination lying down
- Do the examination in various body positions
- Report to doctor if you notice any of the symptoms
- Do not panic, not all symptoms are cancer
SURGERY FOR BREAST CANCER
Most Common Questions
Is surgery really necessary?
Are there any alternative options?
- Surgery is a must to cure cancer of the breast
- Removal of cancer tissue is a major component of treatment in the cure for cancer.
Is surgery enough as a treatment for cancer breast?
- Surgery is one part of the multidisciplinary treatment for breast cancer.
What is the surgery done for cancer breast?
In simple terms : -
- Surgery involves removal of the cancer tissue in the breast and removal of nodes in the axilla or armpit.
I don’t have any swelling in the armpit still why do you want to do surgery there?
- Cancer cells can travel in lymphatics into nodes stationed in the axilla/armpit.
- This will become big enough to feel only in later stages of cancer
Types of surgery
What is mastectomy?
- Removal of entire breast tissue along with removal of nodes in axilla.
What is breast conservation surgery?
- Involves removal of the cancer lump in breast along with surgery in axilla
Breast conservation surgery
Does breast conservation surgery affect chances of survival compared to complete removal of breast ?
- Absolutely NO
- The survival rate is same in both breast conservation surgery and mastectomy if the treatment is completed.
How to choose breast conservation vs mastectomy ?
Some factors considered by onco surgeon
- Size of tumor/ size of breast
- Number and location of tumor
Oncosurgeon thinks before suggesting BCS
- Scleroderma, SLE
- History of irradiation
Patient to consider
- Radiation therapy always follows breast conservation surgery
Patient to consider
- Availability of radiotherapy
- Financial implications
Reconstructive options post surgery
Why need reconstruction ?
- Helps to improve the confidence of the patient
- Psychologically patient feels better with intact organ
How is the recovery post surgery ?
- Simple surgery simple recovery
- Drain care for few days
- Arm physiotherapy
- Surgery is a must for treatment of breast cancer
- Surgery is simple and recovery is easy
- Breast conservation surgery is equivalent to mastectomy