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What is Breast Cancer Disease?
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops from breast tissue. It is the second most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer. Breast cancer may be preceded by symptoms such as a lump or thickening of the breast tissue, changes in the size or shape of the breast, and dimpling or redness in the appearance of the skin in the breast. In advanced cases, breast cancer can also cause symptoms such as bone pain, weight loss, and fatigue. Treatment for breast cancer typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
The most common symptoms of breast cancer include a lump or thickening of the breast tissue, any change in the size of the breast, and changes in the appearance of the breast, such as dimpling or redness.
There may also be different symptoms of breast cancer. These symptoms include; nipple discharge or inversion, swelling or pain in the breast that is not related to the menstrual cycle, persistent itching or burning sensation in the breast, a rash or crusting on the nipple, swelling of the lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone, persistent breast pain
It’s important to note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by benign (non-cancerous) conditions and not all breast lumps are cancerous. So, it’s important to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts or have any concerns.
The treatment of breast cancer typically depends on the stage and characteristics of cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences.
- Surgery: Surgery is typically the first step in treating breast cancer. The most common type of surgery for breast cancer is a lumpectomy, in which the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue are removed. A mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast, may be recommended for larger tumors or for women who have a higher risk of recurrence.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It is typically used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and lower the risk of recurrence.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of systemic therapy that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be given before or after surgery to shrink the tumor and lower the risk of recurrence.
- Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy can be used to treat breast cancer that is sensitive to hormones. This type of therapy blocks the action of hormones on the cancer cells or lowers the level of hormones in the body.
- Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy is a newer type of treatment that targets specific molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. This type of therapy is typically used in cases where cancer has spread beyond the breast or has certain genetic mutations.
- Immunotherapy: This type of treatment help to train the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
It’s worth noting that many breast cancer patients receive a combination of treatments and the treatment decision is usually made by a multi-disciplinary team of oncologists, surgeons, radiation, and medical oncologist.
How is the Recovery Process of Breast Cancer Treatment?
The recovery process following breast cancer treatment can vary depending on the type and extent of the treatment received.
Recovery after breast surgery typically involves some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with medication. There may also be swelling, bruising, and numbness at the surgical site. It is extremely important to avoid strenuous activities during the recovery process. Recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the type of surgery that was performed. Recovery after radiotherapy does not involve any serious pain or discomfort. The treated area may experience tenderness or skin irritation. It is important to protect the treated skin from sun exposure and to keep it clean and moist to minimize the chance of infection or irritation.
The duration of recovery after chemotherapy depends on the drugs used. However, side effects such as fatigue, hair loss, and nausea may occur. The recovery cycle for patients undergoing hormone therapy typically does not involve significant pain or discomfort, but they may experience side effects related to changes in hormone levels.
Recovery from targeted therapy depends on the medicaments used, but side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, skin rash, and gastrointestinal disturbances may be felt during this process.