Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer with 99% of all breast cancer cases affecting women rather than men. The effects of any form of cancer can be debilitating with the removal of the affected part of the body sometimes the only way to ensure it doesn’t return.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of breast cancer as well as the symptoms and the likely treatment that will be available to you. The key to surviving cancer is early diagnosis and treatment so this should always be your first priority.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when cells found in breast tissue begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner. These cells will form a cluster known as a tumour which might be felt as a lump in the breast or be visible under an x-ray.
Cancer can occur anywhere in the body so breast cancer is simply a cancer that initially forms in the breast.
The Anatomy of The Breast
Breast cancer can develop in several different parts of the breast with the most common area being the milk ducts which carry milk to the nipples. Some cancers may even form in the glands that produce milk.
Only malignant growths contain cancerous cells as opposed to benign ones. If you have a malignant growth within the breast, it is possible for it spread to other parts of the body via the lymph nodes present in the areas surrounding the breast and chest.
The Symptoms of Breast Cancer
There are several signs and symptoms which may suggest the presence of a cancerous growth. For this reason, it is important to keep an eye on any changes that you find within the structure of your breasts.
Some symptoms include;
- The presence of a new lump within the breast itself. It may not be cancerous but should be checked nonetheless.
- Swelling of the breasts even if no lump is present.
- Skin irritation as well as dimpling of the skin and pain felt within the nipples.
There are of course many more signs but no check that you can perform yourself should take the place of a mammogram.
Breast Cancer Treatment
The treatment options available to you always depend on the location of the cancer as well the stage it has developed to. Your doctor will be able to refer you to an oncologist for further testing and diagnosis. Possible treatment includes:
- Surgery to remove the tumour as well as any infected breast tissue.
- Several courses of chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells.
The chances of survival depend heavily on how quickly a diagnosis can be made. Breast cancer in Singapore is common and affects several thousand women every year. If you notice any unusual changes to the shape, size or appearance of your breasts, we suggest a mammogram as soon as possible. There are several doctors and hospitals in Singapore with the ability to treat and diagnose cancer so we would suggest making an appointment when you can.
Breast cancer is no longer the automatic death sentence that it once was. Early diagnosis can lead to a long and healthy life.