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Breast cancer: How fast does it spread?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. It’s very difficult to interpret how a person’s breast cancer will change over the course of a year. Different breast cancer grows at different rates and the factors that affect its growth and chance of spreading are influenced by many other factors. However, we have taken a long leap in breast cancer treatment in India as well as globally, and luckily, most cancer types can now be cured, if detected in the early stages.

How fast does breast cancer spread?

Like a lot of other types of cancers, breast cancer goes by simple cell division. Breast cancer begins as one malignant cell divides and then becomes two cancerous cells which then divide again and multiply by four bad cells and so on and so forth. Cancer divides up to 30 times before it can show up any symptoms. Up to 28 cell divisions, neither your doctor nor you can merely tell it by touching the breast. 

With most breast cancers, each cell division takes up to one to two months. By the time you can feel a tumor or lump in the breast, cancer has been in your body for two to five years. The growth at which the seed of the cancer cells multiply and divide depends on the growth rate of cancer cells. Your doctor or you must have not felt the lump or anything suspicious until cancer has doubled that one last time, essential to be noticeable by your doctor. By the time the doctor can suspect the breast cancer, it has already been one-half inch in size – about one-third the size of a golf ball. It has been long enough in your body to have a chance of spreading in the lymph nodes or nearby tissue cells. 

It is exactly difficult to interpret how breast cancer can grow in individuals including the time frame as the disease affects the individual differently. Cancer occurs due to mutations in human cells. Mutation growing pattern is not progressive hence, it’s difficult to understand the growing cell division pattern. Cancer occurs when the cells metastasize over and over to form a lump in the body. These tumor cells can grow and move through lymph nodes or blood vessels to other areas of the body. This is called metastasis. Breast cancer is likely to metastasis in lymph nodes, bones, and lungs. Regardless of the location of the tumor, doctors will consider it as breast cancer. 

This surely sounds daunting and scary, hence regular mammograms are of utmost importance to detect any such tumor at an early stage. These screening tests can usually detect breast cancer when it’s a one-quarter inch in size or smaller – before it can be detected by hands. Monograms make it possible to detect cancer that cannot be detected by physical examination. Mammograms make early diagnosis possible of some precancerous conditions and early-stage cancer that appear as tiny calcifications on mammography. 

There are two types of mammograms: 

  • Screening mammograms: 

This is performed in cases, where there are no known problems. This type of mammogram is used for annual exams.

  • Diagnostic mammograms:

This is performed in cases, where the problem is known and requires careful examination. This mammogram provides far better extensive images compared to screening mammograms such as the view from additional angles and compression or blow-up views.

In addition to mammograms, often an ultrasound will also be advised by the doctor if there is a palpable lump. So make sure, you must undergo a diagnostic mammogram if you have found a lump in the breast area. 

Rs. 5-6 lakh is the average breast cancer treatment cost in India through a private practitioner including investigation, surgery, and radiotherapy. The cost may further go up depending on the type of treatment. Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore is yet another breast cancer treatment hospital in India

Types of breast cancer-

Breast cancer may be: 

  • Invasive:

Invasive breast cancer may spread to the surrounding connective tissue, the lymph nodes, and other areas of the body. 

  •  Noninvasive:

This breast cancer will spread beyond the ducts or lobules. 

Tata Memorial hospital in Mumbai is the best breast cancer treatment hospital in India

(Grade 1-3)

A doctor will grade breast cancer stage 1-3 based on how the cancer cell looks slike normal breast cells:

  • Grade 1 is slower growing cancer while grade 3 is faster-growing cancer. This means a higher grade cancer is ted to multiply at a faster pace and spread to other areas of the body or breast. 

Stage (0 to 4)

The study of stages of cancer is of utmost importance to understand the right treatment. 

Stage 0: This is a noninvasive stage of breast cancer and is only present in ducts or lobules. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a form of stage 0 breast cancer. 

Stage 1: This is an invasive breast cancer stage, but cancer remains in the primary site and is smaller. Stage 1A involves tumors that are 2 centimeters or smaller and have not reached the lymph nodes. At stage 1B, cancer has reached the lymph nodes. 

Stage 2: This is an invasive stage of breast cancer, tumors may be larger and cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. 

Stage 3: This is an invasive stage of breast cancer, tumors may be larger and cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and possibly several other areas. Breast cancer at this stage has not spread to other organs of the body. 

Stage 4: This is the most dangerous stage of breast cancer as the cancerous cells have spread beyond the lymph nodes, often in the lungs, brain, liver, or bones. Treatment at this tag of cancer focuses on controlling the spread of cancer.  The cancer is more likely to spread further at this stage. 

Symptoms of breast cancer:

People with breast cancer will experience certain symptoms but not all people will experience the same symptoms. Some may not even experience any of the symptoms. 

  • Unusual nipple discharge
  • Change in size and shape of the breast
  • A lump on the breast tissue
  • Pain, redness, or swelling on any part of the breast 
  • Dimpling in the skin covering the breast 
  • Flaking skin near the breast or nipple 

You will find the best breast cancer treatment in India with a lot of advancements in treatment in the coming years.  

The survival rate of breast cancer:

The 5-year survival rate after finding out about breast cancer: where ‘S’ is the stage,

  • S0 and S1 is close to 100%
  •  S2 is 93%
  • S3 is 72%
  • S4 is 22%

The figure above is approximate, the figure may vary depending on a wide range of factors individually. 

Personal factors:

Following are the personal factors on which the spread or growth of cancer depends:

  • Age at diagnosis
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous history of breast cancer
  • Hormone statuses such as pre or postmenopause 
  • Exposure to cigarette, alcohol, or pollution 

Once breast cancer spreads, every doubling of cells is significant. If you feel a lump in self-examination, bring it to your doctor’s immediate notice. One study has shown that triple-negative breast cancer and HER2 positive breast cancer grow at a faster rate. If the mammogram doesn’t find anything, don’t just settle for the test. Move on to the next step of ultrasound, if this is also indeterminate then move on to biopsy. Ask your doctor to schedule these tests for you. 

You may speak to HBG medical assistance to clear out your doubts about any medical care. Rajiv Gandhi cancer institute provides the best breast cancer treatment in India.
For more informative articles keep visiting Emu Article.

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