Consultant Gynaecologist & Professor of Gynaecology Unit at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), Prof. Chandra Madhu Das said said around the world, breast cancer statistics showed that after lung cancer breast cancer was the second most death-causing factor in people.
Breast cancer is the the most frequent malignancy among women in Pakistan and constitutes 25 percent of all cancers registered among them. Abnormal development of cells lead to the growth of tumour, when tumour was malignant in nature they were termed as cancer.
Taling about the causes of breast cancer, she said exact cause of breast cancer was unknown and there were no fixed causes for breast cancer. The chances of breast cancer grow with age, as the person gets older its chances increase as well, while the family history of close relative like mother, sister or daughter who had been diagnosed with breast cancer inflates the risk factor. Dr. Das added that the use of alcohol was also an established risk factor for the development of breast cancer.
She said the most serious cancers were metastatic cancers. Metastasis means that the cancer has spread from the place where it started into other tissues distant from the original tumour site.The most common place for breast cancer to metastasize is into the lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone on the same side as the cancer. Other common sites of breast cancer metastasis are the brain, the bones and the liver, she added.
About the biopsy Dr. Chandra Das said that the only way to diagnose breast cancer with certainty is the biopsy of the tissue in question. Biopsy means to take a very small piece of tissue from the body for examination and testing by a pathologist to determine if cancer is present by using any of the biopsy techniques available.
She disclosed of the side effects of the chemotherapy are well known and side effects depend on which drugs are used but many of these drugs have side effects that include loss of hair, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and low blood cell counts. Low blood counts may cause patients to be more susceptible to infections, to feel sick and tired or to bleed more easily than usual. Medicines are available to treat or prevent many of these side effects, Dr. Chandra Das added.
She further said that the first diagnostic tool to identify breast cancer is Mammogram and it is an X-ray of the breast that can show the presence of abnormal growth or lumps in the breast area.
She said that a woman with a personal history of cancer in one breast has a three- to four fold greater risk of developing cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This refers to the risk for developing a new tumour and not a recurrence (return) of the first cancer, said the Chandra Madhu.
Breast cancer does not mean a specific category of disease rather those were different types of cancer generally found in breast and are collectively termed as breast cancer though the most common understanding suggests that, abnormal growth of cells in the breast causes breast cancer.
She said that the breast cancer was a serious health condition but with timely and proper treatment patients do recover from the initial trauma of the disease while eating healthy food and maintaining a balanced lifestyle can further help to cope with the disease.
Dr. Chandra Madhu said that women should be educated about self-examination and the need to see a doctor if they felt any lump as Breast cancer was a very serious health risk for women throughout the world and it was estimated that 1 of every 9 Pakistani women develop breast cancer at some stage of their life.