Breast is the common site of the cancer and other pathological conditions like inflammation and abscess formation in women. Breast cancer occurs when some breast cells start growing abnormally and divide more rapidly than healthy cells, results in formation of a lump or mass.
BREAST CANCER METASTASES:
A huge percentage of breast cancers occurs in the upper lateral quadrant of the breast. The lymph vessels from this quadrant drain into the anterior axillary lymph nodes, therefore a cancer occurring in the lateral quadrants of the breast mainly spread to the axillary nodes. Treatment option here is surgical removal of the lymph nodes of the axilla.
The lymph vessels from the medial quadrant of the breast drains into the lymph nodes alongside the internal thoracic artery. These lymph vessels gets entry to the thorax by piercing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th intercostal spaces. Thoracic metastases are impossible to treat.
Stage 0; Non-invasive carcinoma
Stage I; Tumor is less than 2cm in diameter, with no lymph node involvement
Stage II; Tumor is up to 5cm, regional lymph node involved
Stage III; Tumor is more than 5cm, regional lymph node metastases
Stage IV; distant metastases
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A breast lump that feels different from the surrounding tissues. It is actually a firm and hard mass, develops in the breast and may cause pain. Most of these lumps are benign (non-cancerous). To determine the nature of a lump, doctors usually suggest mammogram and breast ultrasound.
- Inverted and retracted nipple, a carcinoma in the breast causes pulling on the lactiferous ducts , leads to a retracted nipple.
- Dimpling of the skin, over the breast.
- Changes in the physical appearance of the breast i.e shape, size etc.
- Pitting of the skin over the breast, orange like appearance.
- Discharge/blood from the nipple.
- Late symptoms include double vision, muscle weakness, jaundice, shortness of breath, bone pain and weight loss.
- Positive family history.
- Gene mutations, mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2, and p53 tumor suppressor genes.
- Late childbearing, not having children or breastfeeding before 30 years of age.
- Increased breast density.
- Early menstruation i.e before age 11, and late menopause.
- Prolonged use of oral contraceptives.
- Alcohol intake.
- Hormones replacement therapy after menopause.
- Radiation exposure.
- Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk than women with pregnancies.
In this process low-energy X-rays are used to examine the human breast for diagnosis and screening. It can detect early breast cancer in women with some symptoms. Besides cancers, a mammogram can also detect cysts and calcifications. Extremely low doses of X-rays are used to minimize the consequences, and the examination can be repeated often.
Breast-conserving surgeries are lumpectomy and quadrantectomy. While breast-removal is mastectomy ( surgical removal of all, or part of the breast), followed by radiotherapy to the axillary lymph nodes and hormone therapy. Chemotherapy, plastic surgery and fertility counseling are also included in the treatment options.