In today’s article, I will be talking about some of the frequently asked questions about breast cancer.
As the rate of breast cancer is increasing rapidly so, people are getting afraid nowadays. To identify or detect the onset of this disease everyone asked lots of questions to us. I will try my best to answers all of those questions in this episode.
What is breast cancer?
It’s the cancerous tumor formed within your breast tissues or ducts.
What causes breast cancer?
Till now there is no clear idea about the causes of breast cancer. Medical science has only identified risk factors. Those include:
- Hormonal changes
- Growing age
- Having a baby after the age of 30.
- Use of oral contraceptives for a longer time.
- History of chest radiation therapy.
- Long-term combined hormone therapy.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Hormonal changes after menopause.
What are the symptoms?
Formation of a new lump is the most common symptom. But it might happen that the lump does not form in the earlier stage because sometimes the cancerous cell remains tender or soft. So you have to be aware of the other symptoms too.
Swelling of the entire or a part of the breast, excessive nipple discharge other than breast milk, redness or scaliness of nipples, breast pain, irritation of breast skin, and swelling of lymph nodes might be your sign of breast cancer.
When should I go for breast cancer screening?
You should not wait for screening until you face any of the above symptoms. Because sometimes the symptoms become visible only at the advanced stage. So it’s recommended that once you cross the age of 40, start annual screening.
How to lower the risk of breast cancer?
Here you should keep one thing in mind; nothing can eliminate the risk of breast cancer. The preventions I am going to tell can only lower the risks.
- Try to avoid alcohol consumption as much as possible.
- Do regular physical exercises.
- Breastfeed at least up to 12 months’ age of your baby.
- Try maintaining healthy body weight.
- You can discuss hormone replacement therapy with your doctor.
I feel a movable lump in my breast, is it breast cancer?
It’s not always true that movable lumps might not be cancerous. Whatever the type of your lump is, immediately visit your doctor and get the all prescribed screening done.
What kinds of treatment options are available?
Presently two options are there.
- Radiation therapy
In surgery, depending on the specific situation several sub-options are available. The doctor might remove your entire breast or might remove a part of breast tissue or the tumors. But no need to worry, you can go with oncoplastic or breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild your breast shape.
In radiation therapy, you have to bear a high-energy radiation wave that destroys your cancerous tumor.
Apart from these two options, depending on your cancer type your doctor might provide you with Chemotherapy or hormonal therapy options. In the first one anti-cancer drug are delivered to your body for killing the cancerous cell. In the second hormone therapy, the drug used prevents the growth of cancer cells.
However, there is another latest therapy that is targeted therapy about which I have already discussed in detail in one of my earlier sessions.
What are the possible side-effects of these treatments?
Whatever treatment you have to choose you can’t avoid sides-effects.
- Surgery: Common side-effects include short-term pain and swelling, weakness and swelling of arms, or lymphedema.
- Radiation therapy: Excessive skin irritation and breast pain. Some of the patients face this discomfort at the beginning of the treatment; however, in case of the good immunity power, these symptoms might be visible in the latter settings.
- Chemotherapy: The most common side-effect of chemotherapy is vomiting, diarrhea, lowering of blood count, and even nerve damage.
Do breast cancer treatments affect my ability to conceive?
Unfortunately yes. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy affect the functionality of your ovary. In the case of radiation therapy, the radiation kills some of the healthy tissues also that might make you temporary or permanently fertile.
Through this article, I have tried to cover the most frequently asked questions about breast cancer.
Also, check out other blogs related to breast cancer: