The fastest increasing research in oncology i.e cancer care has aped largely from breast cancer. Many treatment philosophies have been imitated in other cancers as well. The reason behind this is large volume of diseases, increasing incidences and largely the preventable nature.
The highest number of incidences have come from western world and as we are imitating the west, the incidences are on a steep rise, especially in the younger age group.
This is a product of unopposed estrogenic action in genetically susceptibility (need not be always hereditary for breast cancers). Largely the incidences have been high from the 4th decade onwards. Most commonly they are "infiltrating duct carcinoma". The most common symptom is a painless lump in the breast. It may have other signs like bleeding or blood stained discharge from nipple, skin changes on the lump or at nipple-areola complex, lump in axilla i.e armpit etc
Most common screening tool is mammography. Self breast examination has proved to increase detection at an early age and stages. The definitive diagnosis is by a proper ultrasound guided FNAC i.e fine needle aspiration cytology or better antrucut biopsy. The staging work up ranges from minimum an abdomino pelvic sonography & chest x ray to a whole body PET CT.
Largely the treatment for early or operable breast cancers, mainstay treatment is surgery. The chemotherapy and radiation are adjunct therapies. The surgery can be a radical or modified radical mastectomy or a breast conservation surgery, depending on some tumor, breast and patient factors. The reconstruction after a total mastectomy is also practically possible and accepted option. The techniques of oncoplasty have improved the breast shape, contour and thereby increased acceptability by patients.
The hereditary breast cancers have received a large attention in past few years. The two parts i.e genetic testing for high risk individuals and prophylactic surgery have proved to give nearly 100% survival in these patients.
A long lived myth is that breast cancer affects only females, but males to get breast cancer and it is well treatable.