What is Breast Cancer?
It is one of the top five leading types of cancer in women. Breast cancer occurs when the cells of the breast begin to grow abnormally (grows out of control). It occurs hundred times more in women than in men. It is one of the cancer causes of death in women. It occurs more in women who are greater than 55 years of age, women who have family history of breast cancer, women with BRCA1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation (BRCA means breast cancer gene), women with dense breast tissue, women that have had radiation before to their chest because of another type of cancer. Caucasians are more prone to breast cancer development than African American race. Breast cancer treatment varies depending on the stage. There are five stages of breast cancer. They are stages 0 through 5. Each stage also has its own likely outcome.
Treatment of stage 0 and stage 1 breast cancer
Stage 0 breast cancer is also known as ductal carcinoma in situ. Abnormal cells are found at d lining of the ducts of the breast milk. The abnormal cells have not spread beyond the lining of the ducts or the lobules. Another form of stage 0 breast cancer is lobular carcinoma in situ. It is generally not considered to be cancer. It is non-invasive. Stage 1 breast cancer is the situation in which cancer has started to develop, but it is still limited to the area where the abnormal cells developed from. It has not spread beyond it.
Stage 1 breast cancer can be divided into stage 1A and stage 1B. In stage 1A, the size of the tumor is less than 2cm and it has not spread to the lymph node(s). In stage 1B, there is evidence of cancer cells in the lymph node and either of (1) No tumors is found in the breast or (2) Size of the tumor size in the breast is less than 2cm. The five-year relative survival rate for stage 0 and stage 1 is 100%. The treatment of stage 0 and 1 breast cancer can be surgical or radiation. Hormone therapy may also be considered for stage 0 and stage 1 cancer. But chemotherapy is not considered as part of the treatment for stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer. Surgically, a lumpectomy may be carried out. It is the removal of the breast lump. Radiation therapy may also be done after surgically removing the breast lump.
Treatment of stage 2 breast cancer
In stage 2 breast cancer, the cancer is still within the breast, or at most, it has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. There are two types of stage 2 breast cancer, they include stage 2A and stage 2B. In stage 2A breast cancer, one of the following occurs:
The size of the tumor is 2cm or less in the breast and there is the presence of one to three lymph nodes that have the presence of cancerous cells in the armpit or in the lymph nodes near the breastbone. Or The tumor in the breast is greater than 2cm but not larger than 5cm, and there is no presence of cancerous cells in any of the lymph nodes in the armpit or the lymph nodes near the breastbone.
Stage 2B breast cancer is a cancer in which there is either of one of the following conditions:
The tumor is greater than 2cm but not larger than 5cm, and there are areas of small cancerous cells in the lymph nodes. Or
The tumor is larger than 2cm but not larger than 5cm and has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes in the armpit or to the lymph nodes near the breastbone. Or
The tumor is larger than 5cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes.
Treatment of stage 2 breast cancer
Treatment for stage 2 breast cancer is usually surgery to remove the tumor. The lymph nodes close to the breast will also be checked for the possibility of the presence of cancerous cells in them. Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is usually performed. Sentinel lymph nodes are the first lymph nodes to which tumor cells drain. During SLNB, sentinel node is usually in the axillary lymph nodes. If the SLNB result is negative, it is most likely that the lymph nodes beyond the sentinel nodes(upstream lymph nodes), will not be having cancerous cells, but if they are positive, it is most likely that lymph nodes upstream to the sentinel lymph nodes will be having the presence of cancerous cells. Sentinel lymph nodes positive with cancerous cells will be removed. Lymph nodes upstream to it that are also positive of cancerous cells will be removed too. In removing the tumor a local excision may be carried out in which the tumor will be removed with the border of normal tissue. It is often followed by weeks of radiotherapy to the rest of the breast tissue that was not removed.
Another treatment for stage 2 breast cancer is mastectomy (this is the removal of the breast). Mastectomy might be followed with radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the armpit if they also contain cancerous cells. They may also be surgically removed if they contain cancerous cells. Breast reconstruction (making of a new breast) may be done for the woman after mastectomy.
Is breast cancer curable at stage 3?
In stage 3 breast cancer, the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes close to the breast or to the skin of the breast or the chest wall. It is divided into stage 3A, 3B, and 3C. In stage 3A, no tumor is seen in the breast or the tumor may be of any size and cancer is found in 4 to 9 lymph nodes in the armpit or in the lymph nodes close to the breastbone. Or tumor is greater than 5cm and small clusters of cancerous cells are found in the lymph nodes or tumor is greater than 5cm and has spread to 3 lymph nodes in the armpit or to the lymph nodes around the breastbone
In stage 3B, cancer has spread to the skin of the breast or the chest wall.
In stage 3C, there may not be a tumor in the beast or the tumor can be of any size, but there is cancer in the skin of the breast which causes swelling or an ulcer, and it has spread to the chest wall. It would have also spread have spread to other groups of lymph nodes. Treatment of breast cancer can involve chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy. Some categories of stage 3C breast cancer are considered to be inoperable.
Hematologist near me
If you have any sign of breast cancer described above, it will be good for you to visit a hematologist(Health workers involved in the diagnoses and clinical management of blood and bone marrow disorders).
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death (due to cancer) in women. It is best to visit a doctor as soon as possible if a person feels the symptoms.
Bryfonski, D. Breast cancer.
Majure, J. (2000). Breast cancer. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow.
Roses, D. (2005). Breast cancer. Philadelphia: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone