Breast Cancer

Facts about breast cancer

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ways that may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Control your body weight
  • Stay active
  • Eat healthily
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake
  • Try to breastfeed for at least six months

 

Breast cancer

Early detection is key in the successful treatment of breast cancer. When it is found and treated in the early stages the survival rate is 98%.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women.  Symptoms may include:

  • Subtle changes in mammogram or ultrasound identified in screening 
  • Painless hard lumps in the breast or armpit
  • Changes in the breast size
  • Changes in the skin texture
  • Visible lump
  • Inverted nipples
  • Blood-like secretion from the nipple

Breast cancer: myths v. facts

  • Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer (actually 80% of these lumps are non-cancerous)
  • Breast cancer is an infectious disease (breast cancer is a non-communicable disease)
  • Breast cancer only occurs in women (approximately 1% of breast cancer occurs in men)
  • Breast cancer only occurs in women who have family history (family history is only one of the risk factors)
  • Mammograms cause breast cancer (although exposure to radiation is a risk factor the amount of radiation emitted during the mammogram is quite low in comparison to other diagnostic tools) 

Treatment of breast cancer will depend on the type of breast cancer and its stage.

Mediclinic manages cancer cases in a multi-stage process.  After diagnosis,  each case is discussed by a multidisciplinary tumour board comprising oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists who collectively map out the optimal treatment plan for every patient.

Early detection is the key to successful recovery.  It is vital for women to undergo regular routine screening and to speak to their physicians about their options. Mammograms are one the most efficient tools for early breast cancer detection. 


Breast Imaging

Breast imaging is a particular type of radiology imaging which focuses solely on breast health. Breast imaging can be undertaken in a variety of ways including screening or diagnostic mammography, ultrasound and MRI, includes image guided interventional procedure.

Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer early when it is can most effectively be treated. It plays a central part in the early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast a long time before you or your doctor can feel them.  A new advance digital technology, breast tomosynthesis (3D mammogram) is used in conjunction with mammography, with higher cancer detection rates and fewer patient recalls for additional testing.

Ultrasound imaging of the breast uses sound waves to produce pictures of the internal structures of the breast and is primarily used to help diagnose breast lumps or other abnormalities your doctor may have found during a physical examination or mammogram. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is a useful tool for the early detection and characterization of breast disease, assessment of local disease extent, evaluation of treatment response. It is used in conjunction with clinical history and findings, mammography and any other prior breast imaging.

Image guided interventional procedure such as biopsy and wire localization has become the procedure of choice for most image-detected breast lesions requiring tissue diagnosis. It is done under local anaesthesia and with minimal discomfort and scarring.