How to Diagnosis Breast Cancer:
Breast test. Your doctor will examine both the breasts and the lymph nodes in the armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities.
Mammography. Mammography is often used to screen for breast cancer. If abnormalities are found on a mammogram, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic mammogram for further evaluation of the abnormalities.
Ultrasound of the breast. Ultrasound may be used to determine if a new breast bulge is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
Extract a sample of breast cells for testing (biopsy). During the biopsy, your doctor uses a special needle device guided by an X-ray or other imaging test to extract a group of tissue from the suspicious area. Often, a small metal tag is left at the site inside your chest so that the area can be easily identified in future imaging tests.
Biopsy samples are sent to a lab for analysis, where experts determine whether the cells are cancerous. The biopsy sample is also analyzed to determine the type of cells present in the breast cancer, the severity (grade) of cancer, and whether the cancer cells contain hormone receptors or other receptors that can affect your treatment options.
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses magnetic and radio waves to create images of the inside of the breast. You’ll be given a dye injection before your breast MRI. Unlike other types of imaging tests, an MRI does not use radiation to create the images.
Other tests and procedures may be used depending on your condition.
Your doctor determines breast cancer treatment options based on the type, stage, grade, and size of breast cancer you have, and whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones. The doctor also considers your general health and personal preferences.
Breast cancer is of various types. Such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or radiotherapy. Chemotherapy may also be used before surgery in certain cases.
Breast cancer has many treatment options, and you may feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of making complex decisions about your treatment. A second opinion from a breast oncologist at a breast oncology center or clinic is considered. Talk to another woman who has faced a similar decision.
Breast Cancer Surgery
Procedures used to treat breast cancer include:
- Removal of breast cancer (lumpectomy). During a lumpectomy, which may be referred to as breast-conserving surgery or wide local resection, the surgeon removes the tumor and a small portion of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
- Removing the entire breast (mastectomy) Most mastectomy procedures remove all of the breast tissue the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue, and some skin, including the nipple and areola (a simple or total mastectomy procedure).
- Newer surgical techniques may be an option in specific cases to improve the appearance of the breast. Skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy is an increasingly common procedure for breast cancer.
- Elimination of a limited number of lymph nodes. Your surgeon will discuss with you the role of removing the lymph nodes, which first receive lymph drainage from the tumor, to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- If no cancer is found in those lymph nodes, the chance of finding cancer in any of the remaining lymph nodes is low and then the other nodes need not be removed.
Removing many lymph nodes (axillary lymphadenectomy by Radiotherapy.
Radiation therapy is usually done using a large machine that directs beams of energy to the body (external beam radiation). But radiation therapy can also be done by introducing radioactive materials into the body (internal radiotherapy). It is common practice to use external radiotherapy for the entire breast after a lump has been removed. Internal radiotherapy to the breast may be an option after a breast lumpectomy if you have a low risk of cancer recurrence.
Doctors may also recommend radiation therapy to the chest wall after mastectomy for large breast cancers or cancers that have reached the lymph nodes. Radiation therapy for breast cancer can last from three days to six weeks, depending on the treatment plan. A radiologist oncologist determines the best treatment based on the condition, the type of cancer, and the location of the tumor. Side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue and a red, sunburn-like rash at the site of the radiation. Breast tissue may also look swollen or hard to the touch. In rare cases, more serious problems, such as damage to the heart or lungs, may occur, and in very rare cases, new cancers may develop in the treated area.
Treatment methods used in hormonal therapy include:
- Medicines that block the connection of hormones to cancer cells (selective estrogen receptor agonists)
- Drugs that stop the body from making estrogen after menopause (aromatase inhibitors)
- Undergoing surgery or taking medications to stop the production of hormones in the ovaries
- Side effects of hormone therapy vary depending on the specific treatment for your condition but can include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Serious side effects include a risk of weak bones and blood clots.
Targeted drug therapy
Targeted drugs aim to attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells. As an example, many targeted drugs focus on a protein that some breast cancer cells secrete excessively, called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This protein plays a key role in breast cancer cells’ growth and survival. By targeting cells that secrete large amounts of HER2, the drugs can destroy cancer cells while preserving healthy cells.