What You Need to Know About Your Breast Cancer

February 8, 2023

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that forms in the breast cells. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women however, it can occur in both men and women, but breast cancer is far more common in women.

Due to the substantial support for breast cancer awareness, innovative breast cancer treatment methods, and continuous research, its survival rates have increased incredibly, also the number of deaths due to this disease is steadily declining.

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer?

Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • A breast lump that appears and feels different from the surrounding tissue
  • Change in the size, shape or appearance of the breast
  • A newly inverted nipple
  • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
  • Redness of the breast skin
  • Peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple or breast skin

What Causes Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer occurs due to the abnormal growth of breast cells, these cells divide at a more rapid rate than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate to form a lump or a mass of cells. These cancerous cells may also spread or metastasize from the breast to other parts of your body.

Breast cancer may begin in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma), glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.

Research has linked hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors to the potentials of developing breast cancer. However, it’s still uncertain why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do.

Risk Factors To Developing Breast Cancer

A breast cancer risk factor is anything that makes one more susceptible to getting breast cancer. Although, it should be noted that having one or multiple risk factors doesn’t make someone more prone to developing breast cancer.

Some of the factors that have been correlated to an increased risk of breast cancer include:

  • Being female as women are much more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
  • Breast cancer risk Increases with age.
  • A personal history of breast conditions.
  • A personal history of breast cancer: If you’ve had breast cancer in one breast, there’s a high chance that there’ll be cancer in the other breast as well.
  • A family history or genetic history of breast cancer as the inherited genes increases the risk of cancer risk. These inherited genes are the mutated genes that can be passed from parents to children, and are the leading cause of breast cancer. The most well-known cancerous gene mutations are referred to as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  • Exposure to radiation exposure.
  • Obesity.
  • Beginning menopause at an older age is also a risk factor to developing breast cancer.
  • Having never been pregnant also increases the chances of getting breast cancer.
  • Women who take Postmenopausal hormone therapy are at risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Abnormal alcohol consumption also contributes to the growth of cancerous cells.

Breast cancer risk reduction for women with a high risk

If doctor has assessed the patient’s family history and determined the other risk factors that may lead to the growth of cancerous cells, patient may discuss options to reduce your risk, such as:

  • Preventive medications (chemoprevention): Estrogen-blocking medications, such as selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors, help in breast cancer treatment. These medications may cause some severe side effects, so doctors typically reserve these medications for women who are at very high risk of breast cancer.
  • Preventive surgery: Women with a very high risk of breast cancer may choose to have their healthy breasts surgically removed (prophylactic mastectomy). They may also choose to have their healthy ovaries removed (prophylactic oophorectomy) to reduce the risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is important not just for preventing breast cancer but to also reduce the risk of occurrence of other disorders.
  • Healthy Diet: Following a healthy diet is one of the essential factors in reducing the risk of breast cancer. A Mediterranean diet rich with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The Mediterranean diet focuses mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • Limiting the consumption of alcohol is important.
  • Exercising most days of the week for at least 30 minutes has significantly improved the health of the individuals.

Best Breast Cancer Doctor In India

Dr. Rajeev Agarwal, with over 40 years of experience, is one of the best breast cancer doctors in India who has pioneered surgical oncology and the concept of organ-based specialization in oncology in northern India. Because of his usage of the most advanced surgery technologies for his patients, Dr. Agarwal is a renowned Surgical Oncologist, General Surgeon, and oncologist in India. Dr. Agarwal ensures that his patients get back to their routine life and be able to perform their daily activities at much better efficiency than would be otherwise possible.

Dr. Agarwal has a remarkable dedication to personal, private, and educational patient care that distinguishes him from others. Due to his commitment and enthusiasm for breast cancer treatment in the best way possible, he’s known to be one of the best breast cancer doctors in India.

Dr. Agarwal corresponds to the Indian Society of Oncology (ISO), the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI), the Indian Association of Surgical Oncology (IASO), and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO). Not just in India, but abroad as well, Dr. Agarwal has been an invited faculty member at the Vatican’s International Conference on Palliative Care in Rome, where he presented a paper on Palliative Care.

Treatment of breast cancer

The treatment of cancer involves the doctors from different specialties such as surgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology working together with radiologists as well as pathologists to form a treatment plan for the patient. This multidisciplinary team also includes physician assistants, oncology nurses, nutritionists, nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, pharmacists, and others.

This unified treatment plan is a summary of the type of cancer patients have and the planned cancer treatment for them. The purpose of this summary is to give basic information about the patient’s medical history to any doctors who will care for them during their lifetime.

The breast cancer treatment plans need to be personalized as the biology and behavior of breast cancer affects the entire plan. For example, some tumors are smaller in size but grow rapidly, while others are larger in size and grow slowly at a slower pace. Thus the same treatment plan can not be applied for all sorts of cancer. The treatment options and recommendations are very individualized and depend on varieties of factors, such as:

  • The stage of the tumor
  • The tumor’s subtype, including hormone receptor status (ER, PR), HER2 status, and nodal status
  • Genomic tests
  • The presence of known mutations in inherited breast cancer genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, based on results of genetic tests
  • The patient’s age, general health, menopausal status, and preferences
  • The symptoms and side effects patients possess

Some of the common types of treatments used for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Recurrent breast cancer
  • Physical, emotional, and social effects of cancer
  • Systemic therapy concerns for people age 65 or older
  • Neoadjuvant systemic therapy for non-metastatic breast cancer


1. What should I know about breast cancer?

Breast cancer forms in the cells of the breast and is the most common cancer among women globally. It can occur in both men and women but is more prevalent in women. Early detection through screening can improve treatment outcomes. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Understanding treatment options, adhering to follow-up care, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can aid in managing the condition. Regular self-exams and mammograms are crucial for early detection.

2. What are the 5 risk factors for breast cancer?

Breast cancer risk factors can be categorized into five main aspects. Firstly, gender plays a significant role, as being female inherently increases susceptibility. Secondly, age is a critical factor, with risk rising notably after the age of 50. Thirdly, family history contributes significantly; individuals with close relatives diagnosed with breast cancer have an elevated risk. Additionally, genetic mutations, particularly in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, can substantially increase susceptibility. Lastly, personal history, such as a previous breast cancer diagnosis or certain benign breast conditions, can also heighten the risk. Understanding and addressing these factors through regular screenings and lifestyle adjustments are vital for managing breast cancer risk.

3. What is the biggest symptom of breast cancer?

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue. However, other signs can include changes in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast, dimpling or puckering of the skin, nipple changes such as inversion, redness, scaling, or discharge, and persistent breast pain. Individuals need to be aware of these symptoms and promptly seek medical evaluation if they notice any changes in their breast health.

4. What does Stage 1 breast cancer feel like?

Stage 1 breast cancer often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms. However, some women may experience a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm area. Other signs can include changes in breast size or shape, skin changes such as redness or dimpling, nipple changes like inversion or discharge, or persistent breast pain. It’s crucial to perform regular breast self-exams and seek medical attention promptly if any concerning changes are noticed. Early detection and treatment significantly improve outcomes.

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