What is Breast Cancer and how is it treated?
Breast cancer is the growth of malignant cells (cancerous cells) in the breast. These cells grow and spread rapidly and uncontrollably. Although it mostly affects women, accounting for 25% of cancers in women, men can also get breast cancer. Most men however, get checked when the symptoms are severe.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Most people do not realize they have breast cancer until it is in its late stage owing to the fact that the symptoms usually do not show up early enough. The symptoms that are related to breast cancer include:
- A lump in the breast
- change in the size, shape and appearance of the breast
- peeling of skin over the breast
- change in the skin over the breast such as dimpling
- inversion of the nipple
- redness of the skin over the breast or the nipple
- getting an abnormal discharge from the nipple
Causes for Breast Cancer
Though the cause of breast cancer, just as many other cancers, is unknown, there are some risk factors that are said to increase the chance of a person getting this type of cancer.
Risk Factors for Women include:
- Hormones: The estrogen hormone is a major risk factor for breast cancer because it aids in the multiplication of cells in the body
- Exposure to radiation
- Diet: Having foods that are rich in fats and sugars can increase the risk for breast cancer
- Family history: a person that has had others in the family with breast cancer or other cancers is at a higher risk of getting breast cancer
- Starting menstruation at an early age or starting menopause at an older age
- Excessive use of alcohol
The risk factors for men on the other hand include;
- Exposure to radiation
- Enlargement of breasts due to drugs
- Hormone treatments or infections
- Taking Estrogen which aids in the growth of cells in the body
- Klinefelter’s syndrome: A genetic disorder that affects the physical and cognitive development in men
- Severe liver disease such as cirrhosis or disease of the testicles such as mumps
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer diagnosis can be done using a number of ways such as:
- Breast examination which helps determine whether there is any abnormal growth in the breast
- Mammogram which involves taking an x- ray of the breast
- Ultrasound which uses soundwaves to get images of the breast structure and determine whether a lump is a solid mass or a fluid cyst
- Carrying out a biopsy which involves removal of a sample of the lump or the entire lump which is then checked to determine whether it is cancerous
- Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which is a scan that gives detailed images of the inside of the breast
Treatments for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer treatment depends on the size and stage of the cancer. Treatment options could include:
- Surgery to either remove the lump only (Lumpectomy) or the entire breast (Mastectomy) is usually the first treatment option. This is then followed by other treatments that may include:
- Radiotherapy which involves using high energy beams directed to the affected part to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy which is the administering of a combination of anti- cancer drugs to kill the cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy that involves using drugs to prevent the already growing cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to continue growing.
- Target therapy that involves using drugs to target specific cancer cells without causing damage to normal cells can also be used in breast cancer treatment.
- Immunotherapy is a newly approved cancer treatment option that makes the body’s immune system aware of the presence of cancer cells in the body, improving the body’s immunity and therefore being able to fight the cancer.
Prevention of Breast Cancer
Preventing a disease is better than curing it and in the case of breast cancer it may be difficult to know what to do to prevent yourself from getting it especially because the exact cause is not known. However, one is able to do several things to reduce their risk of getting breast cancer such as:
- Avoiding smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol
- Ensuring that you have a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits and less processed foods and red meat
- Limiting postmenopausal hormone therapy for women
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly, and avoiding exposure to radiation are other ways of reducing breast cancer risk
Checking yourself regularly is important and if you find a lump, you should see a local doctor as soon as possible.
Getting screened for breast cancer regularly is important not only because you are able to tell whether you have the cancer or not, but also because it can be detected at an early stage which makes it more effective and cheaper to treat.
International Medical Treatment Ltd (IMT), can link you with our partner hospitals around the world, that offer advanced diagnostic and treatment options for breast cancer.
Treating breast cancer in its early stages is less costly and more likely to be successful.
How IMT can help
We, at International Medical Treatment (IMT), are experienced facilitators who can link you with the best breast cancer specialists in our partner hospitals in India, Dubai and Thailand.
We are here to help. By using IMT you will be assured of the following:
You will get a free, dedicated client coordinator who will help you coordinate with our partner hospitals to provide you, for free, with treatment plans and quotes to allow you to make an informed decision about which hospital and treatment is right for you.
All our partner hospitals are internationally accredited (JCI) and are the top hospitals in each country. We only work with the market leading hospitals.
If you arrange things through us you will never pay more than if you were to contact the hospitals directly.
No hidden fees, no obligations- receive a free, dedicated coordinator from IMT to help coordinate and book your international medical treatment.
Find Out More
To find out more about IMT and the services available visit our website at www.intmedicaltreatment.com or call us today on +254 0740 409 727. You can also visit our office at The Mirage, 1st Floor, Tower 2, Chiromo, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.