Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. It can occur in both men and women, but breast cancer in women is far more common than in men.
However, experts believe that early diagnosis and proper treatment can save thousands of lives and make a difference.
To create awareness about the very important subject, oladoc invited Dr. Asadullah Khawaja – General and Breast Surgeon in Lahore to share his expert opinion on the important subject. He is working as an assistant professor surgery at King Edward Medical University and a visiting consultant at Mayo Hospital, Lahore.
He will discuss various important matters like symptoms of breast cancer, associated risks, diagnostic process, and breast cancer treatment in Pakistan.
Q.1. Tell us in depth about the anatomy and physiology of the female breast.
Anatomy of the female breast can be divided into three parts. One of the parts is a milk-producing factory and another part is the ductal system or the transport network which converges on the nipple and the child is fed the milk. The last part is the supportive and the connective tissue that comprises of the fat that gives the contour and form to the breast
Q.2. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Well, the most common symptom of breast cancer is a painless lump in the breast. Unfortunately, many patients don’t take it seriously because it is painless. They then present to us in the last stages of breast cancer. Other than that, bloody discharge from the nipple, nipple retraction, a non-healing ulcer of the breast.
Q.3. How is breast cancer diagnosed?
The diagnosis of breast cancer falls into a multi-disciplinary approach. Surgeons, pathologists and radiologists are involved in detecting breast cancer. Surgeon does the clinical assessment and generates an index of suspicion and refers to the radiologist. The radiologist then does a mammogram. A mammogram is a simple X-ray of the breast. The patient is then referred to the pathologist who generated a histopathology report.
Q.4. What are the different stages of breast cancer?
Well, According to the American Joint Committee for Cancer (AJCC), the stages are categorised as T, N, or M stages. This is based on the size of the tumour, the lymph nodes and the metastasis. Normally, breast cancer is said to have 4 stages and the stages are prescribed according to the size of the tumour.
Q.5. What are the risk factors of breast cancer?
Well, there is a lot of research that has been done on the risk factors of breast cancer. And one thing that we have found to be common is the overexposure to the hormone. Early puberty and late menopause increase the overexposure to the hormone, estrogen. Food tempering such as injecting poultry with the hormone increases the chances. Overuse of contraceptive pills also increases the chances of breast cancer.
There are some genetic and familial factors too. Your tendency to have breast cancer increase if one or two members have it.
If you want to learn more about breast cancer and its treatment, then watch the full video. If you feel any alarming signals, then consult a breast surgeon immediately.