Dr Sushil Kumar Jain, Consultant, Surgical Oncology & Robotic Surgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute
When changes called mutations take place in genes that control cell growth, cancer occurs. The mutations allow an unregulated way of dividing and multiplying the cells.
Breast cancer is cancer that grows in the cells of the breast. Cancer usually develops in either the lobules or the breast ducts. The glands that contain milk are lobules, and the channels that deliver the milk to the nipple from the glands are ducts. In the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within your breast, cancer may also occur.
Other healthy breast tissues are also infiltrated by unregulated cancer cells and can pass under the arms to the lymph nodes. A key pathway that helps cancer cells migrate to other areas of the body is the lymph nodes.
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in developed and developing world.
The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world due to increased
life expectancy, increasing urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.
Breast cancer: Early detection is the best prevention
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in developed and developing world. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world due to increasing life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.
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It develops in the cells of the breast tissues. Breast cancer most commonly develops in cells from the lining of mammary ducts and the lobule that secretes the milk. Cancers developing from the ducts are known as ductal carcinomas (commonest type), those developing from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India and accounts for 27 per cent of all new cancers cases in women. At present, 1 in every 28 women (1 in 22 women in urban Indian, 1 in 60 women in rural India) is at risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. The number of breast cancer cases reported each year is, unfortunately, rising at higher rates than ever.
It can develop at any age and with age the risk increases. Breast cancer incidence in India begins to rise in the early thirties and highest in 50 – 64 years of age. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but more common in women. Male breast cancer accounts for 1 per cent of all diagnosed breast cancer cases.
In India on the other hand, the survival rates are quite low due to high population and low awareness. One of two women diagnosed with breast cancer die within the next five years which attributes to 50% mortality rates.
One of the main reasons for the high mortality rates is a late diagnosis which is primarily due to lack of awareness and the absence of proper breast cancer screening programme, diagnosis at advanced stage and unavailability of appropriate medical facilities.
Majority of breast cancers are diagnosed at a relatively advanced stage. Many breast cancer’s patients in the urban areas are diagnosed at stage I & II as palpable lumps, but in most cases from rural areas, are diagnosed only after spread to the other parts of the body (metastatic stage IV).