What Is Breast Cancer?
Cancer is a dreaded term, and breast cancer is no exception. No one ever wants to hear it and certainly not be diagnosed with, but the truth is, cancer incidence is rising worldwide and India is no exception. Added to this are the increasing population, increased longevity, and worsening environmental factors.
But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. Improvements in treatment protocols, the discovery of newer drugs and development of newer surgical techniques have vastly improved outcomes associated with the disease. If treated early, breast cancer can have a much better prognosis today than ever before.
A lot of questions arise in our minds whenever we encounter this disease. Here, we wish to address your queries and help you understand the disease better.
What is breast cancer?
Simply put, breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of the otherwise normal cells. The exact cause for a person developing cancer is still unknown, however, there are many risk factors that have been identified.
It is well known that before a cell becomes frankly cancerous, it goes through various changes, described as proliferative changes and if these are identified earlier on, we may be able to make a palpable difference by halting the progression of the disease.
• Normal Cell
• Usual Ductal Hyperplasia
• Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia
• Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
• Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
The above sequence is a very simplified version of the natural progression of cancer and we do not always enjoy this in clinical practice.
A person may present at any point of time in the above progression. However, up to the stage of non-Invasive cancers ( DCIS/ LCIS), we can actually aim to achieve a complete cute with the correct treatment. Once it becomes invasive cancer, the prognosis depends upon the exact stage of the disease.