An “Early Stage” breast cancer is sometimes referred as Stage 1 breast cancer. In such cases, the affected region is less than 2–2.5 centimetres in diameter. However, cancer does not spread inside the tissue of the breast. In fact, among all the women detected for breast cancer in the U.S, 63% of them suffer from “Early Stage” Breast Cancer, as it is still localized to the tissue of the breast.
Today, Breast Cancer is considered to be one of the most deadly and emotional types of cancers occurring in women. However, it should be kept in mind that it is not only women, who are at a risk of having breast cancer. Men can also have such type of cancers, but most patients are female.
Early detection increases chances of survival
If the breast cancer is an early stage one and it is properly detected and treated, the survival rate of that patient increases to a large extent. The best trick to fight breast cancer is to catch it early on and generally women can detect it by finding a typical lump in any one of their breasts. Women should immediately check out in such cases but they should not worry, as all lumps are not cancers.
Early stage breast cancer cannot always be cured, even though cancerous cells are unable to reach the lymph nodes. Women, who catch early stage breast cancer, gets treated at that point and many of them are able to enjoy life in a normal lifestyle for more than ten years. It is highly recommended for every woman to check her breasts regularly to be on the safe side, so that possible cases of breast cancers can be detected early. With proper treatment, women can enjoy high survival rates.
Symptoms of Early Stage breast cancer
Breast cancers in their early stages are usually painless. Often the first symptom is the discovery of a hard lump. Fifty percent of such masses are found in the upper outer quarter of the breast. The lump may make the affected breast appear elevated or asymmetric. The nipple may be retracted or scaly. Sometimes the skin of the breast is dimpled like the skin of an orange. In some cases there is a bloody or clear discharge from the nipple. Many cancers, however, produce no symptoms and cannot be felt on examination. They can be detected only with a mammogram.
How is early-stage breast cancer treated?
Treatment of early-stage breast cancer often involves more than one approach. Surgery is usually the first step. Most women with early-stage breast cancer have a choice between 2 surgical treatments:
* Breast-sparing surgery, followed by radiation therapy — Breast-sparing surgery, also called breast-conserving surgery, includes lumpectomy (luhm-PEK-tuh-mee) and partial (or segmented) mastectomy (ma-STEK-tuh-mee). With lumpectomy, the tumor and some surrounding normal tissue are removed. With partial mastectomy, a portion of the breast containing the tumor is removed. Women who have breast-sparing surgery usually have lymph nodes under the arm removed. This may occur during the breast-sparing surgery or at a later time. Breast-sparing surgery keeps the breast intact — looking a lot like it did before surgery.
* Mastectomy — With simple (total) mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast that has cancer and possibly some of the lymph nodes under the arm. With modified radical mastectomy, the whole breast, plus many of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and, sometimes, part of the chest wall muscles are removed.
The goal of both surgeries is to remove all of the cancer from the breast. The doctor will also want to find out if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. With axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), some or all of the lymph nodes under your arm are removed. With sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy, a substance is injected near the tumor that allows the doctor to see which lymph node the substance flows to first. This is the sentinel lymph node. It is the first lymph node the cancer is likely to spread to. The sentinel lymph node is removed and looked at under a microscope. If cancer is not found, the other lymph nodes may be left in place. If cancer is found, more lymph nodes may be removed.
The lymph node status, along with test results, helps the doctor know what other treatments, called adjuvant (AY-juh-vuhnt) therapy, might also be prudent. The goal of adjuvant therapy after surgery is to kill any cancer cells that might be elsewhere in the body and to keep cancer from recurring.
Edited by Health32.Com