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1. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The symptoms in breast cancer are a lump (newly formed) in the breast; pain and tenderness that continues until the next period; nipple discharge; changes in the nipple, such as inward turning; redness or rash; an orange peel-like appearance of the breast skin.
2. What causes breast cancer?
The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, but risk factors include age, genetics with a family history of cancer, women carrying breast cancer gene, a history of breast lumps and dense breast tissue, increase in the intake of oestrogen in the past, a short duration of breastfeeding, radiation exposure, obesity and increased alcohol consumption.
3. How can I check if I am at a high risk of breast cancer?
One must do a self-breast exam to check for lumps and changes in the skin and nipple. A regular mammogram after the age of 40 years and blood tests to detect cancer markers CA 15.3, TRU-QUANT and CA 27.29 indicate whether the chances of getting breast cancer are high.
4. How is breast cancer diagnosed?
Breast cancer can be diagnosed on a mammogram, which is a common screening test for the breast. An X-ray and ultrasound of the breast and biopsy of the lump in the breast are done to confirm the diagnosis. Other tests include MRI, CT and PET scans to check for the grade of cancer and the extent of spread.
5. What are the treatments for breast cancer?
Surgery most commonly done in breast cancer. Lumpectomy is only the removal of the lump, and mastectomy involves removal of one or both breasts. In some cases, the surrounding lymph nodes are removed. If the cancer has spread, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy are advised.