Understanding Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent and concerning forms of cancer affecting women worldwide. Early detection and awareness play a pivotal role in improving the prognosis and increasing survival rates. Understanding the signs and symptoms, as well as the causes and treatments of breast cancer, is crucial for women of all ages. In recent years, medical advancements have led to the development of new treatments like Kisqali, the brand name for a medication called ribociclib. It is a prescription drug used in combination with other medications to treat certain types of breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
It is crucial to emphasize that experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. However, consulting a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation is essential to rule out any potential issues.
Lump or Thickening in the Breast
The most common sign of breast cancer is the presence of a new lump or mass in the breast. While not all lumps are cancerous, it is essential to get any new or unusual growths checked by a healthcare professional promptly.
Changes in Breast Size or Shape
Unexplained changes in breast size or shape can be indicative of breast cancer. As cancer cells grow, they may cause distortions in the breast tissue.
Bloody, clear or any abnormal discharge from the nipple should raise concern and necessitate medical evaluation.
Breast cancer can cause changes in the skin's appearance, such as redness, dimpling or puckering, resembling an orange peel.
Inverted nipples or sudden changes in their position might be associated with breast cancer.
While breast pain is a common concern for many women, persistent and unexplained pain in one specific area should be investigated.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Genetics and Family History
Having a family history of breast cancer, particularly with a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter), increases the risk of developing the disease. Additionally, mutations in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are associated with a higher susceptibility to breast cancer.
Hormones can play a significant role in the development of breast cancer. Women with early menstruation, late menopause or those who have never given birth may have a higher risk due to prolonged exposure to estrogen.
Lifestyle and Environmental Factors
Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. Environmental factors and exposure to radiation or certain chemicals may also play a role.
Breast cancer risk rises with age, with the majority of cases diagnosed in women over 50.
Treatments for Breast Cancer
The treatment approach for breast cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of cancer, its type and the patient's overall health. Here are some of the primary treatment modalities.
Surgical intervention involves removing the cancerous tumor and nearby tissues. Common procedures include lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and some surrounding tissue) and mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). In some cases, lymph nodes may also be removed to check for cancer spread.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target and destroy cancer cells. It is often used after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Chemotherapy utilizes powerful drugs to kill cancer cells or stop their growth. It can be administered before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to eliminate remaining cancer cells.
Hormone therapy is effective for hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. It works by blocking hormones like estrogen that promote cancer growth.
Targeted therapies are designed to specifically target cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Trazimera (trastuzumab) is one such targeted therapy used for HER2-positive breast cancer, a more aggressive type. Trazimera works by blocking the HER2 protein, thereby slowing or stopping the cancer's growth.
Kisqali for Breast Cancer
Kisqali is a medicine used alongside others to treat certain types of breast cancer. It works by blocking proteins that help cancer cells grow. Doctors typically prescribe Kisqali for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative. It's used either as the first hormone-based treatment or after trying other therapies.
Breast cancer continues to be a significant health concern for women worldwide. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer empowers women to seek early medical attention, increasing the chances of successful treatment and improved outcomes. While several risk factors contribute to breast cancer, leading a healthy lifestyle and undergoing regular screening can help reduce the risk.
As we move forward, raising awareness, investing in research and providing support for breast cancer patients and survivors will continue to be essential in the fight against this devastating disease. Together, with increased knowledge and a united effort, we can strive for a future where breast cancer is not only treatable but ultimately preventable.