Breast Cancer: Understanding the Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Breast cancer is a serious disease that affects thousands of women every year. It is important to be aware of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available so that you can take control of your health and get the care you need.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the breast. It can occur in both men and women, but it is more common in women. It develops when the cells in the breast grow out of control and form a lump or tumor. These tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The most common symptom is a lump or thickening in the breast tissue. Other symptoms can include:
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge or tenderness
- A change in the skin texture or color of the breast
- Swelling or redness in the breast or nipple area
- A lump or swelling in the underarm area
It’s important to note that not all breast lumps are cancerous. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
If you have these symptoms, your doctor may order several tests to diagnose the disease. These tests may include:
- A mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue that can detect any abnormalities.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the breast tissue.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is a procedure in which a small amount of breast tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.
If the tests confirm that you have breast cancer, your doctor will determine the stage of cancer and create a treatment plan.
Treatment of Breast Cancer
The treatment depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health. Treatment options can include:
- Surgery: Surgery is often the first treatment for breast cancer. The type of surgery you have will depend on the stage of cancer and the size and location of the tumor.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a medication that can be used to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
- Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy can be used to block the hormones that can cause breast cancer to grow.
How to Check at Home
Breast self-exams are an important way to detect any changes in your breast tissue. To perform a breast self-exam, follow these steps:
- Lie down and place a pillow under your right shoulder.
- Use your left hand to examine your right breast. Use the pads of your fingers to press gently and feel for any lumps or thickening.
- Move your fingers in a circular motion around your breast, checking for any changes in texture or lumps.
- Repeat the exam on your left breast.
It’s important to perform a breast self-exam once a month. If you notice any changes in your breast tissue, see your doctor right away.
When to Consult a Doctor
It’s important to see your doctor if you notice any changes in your breast tissue, including lumps or changes in skin texture or color. You should consult a Breast Cancer Doctor