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Breast Diseases Treatment

  • Breast Cancer

    • Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the tissues of the breast. There are 2 main types of breast cancer:
      • Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes that carry milk.
      • Lobular carcinoma starts in the parts of the breast, called lobules.

      Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
      Early breast cancer often does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams and mammograms are important. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
      • A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
      • Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
      • Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
      • A newly inverted nipple
      • Peeling, scaling or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple.
      • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

      Causes of breast cancer:
      It’s not clear what causes breast cancer but it occurs when some breast cells begin growing abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. The cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body. Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer.

      Inherited breast cancer
      Doctors estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family.The most common are breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2).If you have a strong family history of breast cancer your doctor may recommend a blood test to help identify specific mutations.

      Risk factors
      Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
      • Being female. Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
      • Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
      • A family history of breast cancer.
      • Inherited genes that increase cancer risk.
      • Radiation exposure.
      • Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
      • Postmenopausal hormone therapy.
      • Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.

      Treatment is based on many factors, including:Type of breast cancer and stage of cancer. Cancer treatments may include: Hormone therapy,chemotherapy and radiation therapy and surgery. Surgery may involve removing the lump only or taking out the whole breast ( mastectomy).

  • Breast Abscesses

    What is a Breast abscess?
    A breast abscess is a painful collection of pus that forms in the breast. Most abscesses develop just under the skin and are caused by a bacterial infection. Breast abscesses are painful, swollen lumps that may also:
    • be red
    • feel hot
    • cause the surrounding skin to swell
    • cause a fever (high temperature)

    What causes a breast abscess?
    Breast abscesses are often linked to mastitis– a condition that causes breast pain and swelling (inflammation), and usually affects women who are breastfeeding. Infections can occur during breastfeeding if bacteria enter your breast tissue, or if the milk ducts become blocked. This can cause mastitis which, if not treated, can result in an abscess forming.
    Women who aren’t breastfeeding can also develop mastitis if bacteria enter the milk ducts through a sore or cracked nipple, or a nipple piercing.White blood cells are sent to attack the infection, which causes tissue at the site of the infection to die. This creates a small, hollow area that fills with pus (an abscess).

    When should I see my doctor?
    See your Dr if your breast is red and sore. If you have mastitis, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection. If your symptoms persist after taking antibiotics, your Dr may refer you for an ultrasound scan which will confirm whether you have a breast abscess.

    Treatment of breast abscess:
    A breast abscess will need to be drained. Small breast abscesses can be drained using a needle and syringe. If the abscess is large, a small incision may be needed to drain the pus. For both procedures, a local or general anesthetic will usually be given to numb the skin around the abscess so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort.

    How common are breast abscesses?
    Breast abscesses most commonly affect women who are 18-50 years of age. They’re often linked to mastitis which affects up to 1 in 10 breastfeeding women and causes the breast to become red and sore.One study found that around 3% of women with mastitis who were treated with antibiotic medicines developed a breast abscess

  • Breast Lumps

    Causes of breast lumps:
    Most breast lumps are caused by benign (non-cancerous) conditions, although occasionally a breast lump can be a symptom of breast cancer.It’s important to see your Dr as soon as possible if you notice a lump in your breast so they can refer you for tests to confirm the cause.

    Benign breast lumps:
    There are a number of different benign causes of breast lumps. Most benign breast lumps are harmless and may not necessarily require any treatment.

    Fibrocystic breast disease, also known as fibroadenosis, is a term used to describe a group of benign conditions that affect the breast. Fibroadenosis can develop in one or both breasts, or can affect just part of one breast. The cause of fibroadenosis is not well understood. However, it may be the result of the breast tissue responding abnormally to hormonal changes that occur with the menstrual cycle.

    Fibroadenomas are smooth, well-rounded solid lumps that are particularly common in young women. Fibroadenomas can disappear on their own, but they sometimes remain and grow larger, particularly during pregnancy. It’s not clear what causes fibroadenomas, but it is thought they may occur because of an abnormal response to the hormones.

    Breast cysts:
    Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop within the breast tissue. They are more common in women aged 30 to 60.Cysts vary in size. Some can be tiny, while others can grow to several centimetres in diameter. Single or multiple cysts can occur in one or both breasts. Cysts often do not cause any symptoms,  although some women may experience pain in addition to any lumps. As with fibroadenomas, hormones are thought to play a role in the development of breast cysts because they are particularly common in premenopausal women and postmenopausal women having HRT.

    Breast abscesses:
    A breast abscess is a painful collection of pus that forms inside the breast.In addition to a painful lump, symptoms of a breast abscess can include a high temperature and inflammation (redness and swelling) of the skin over the  affected area. Most breast abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection.

    Other benign causes:
    Other benign causes of breast lumps include: Mastittis, fat necrosis, lipoma and intraductal papillioma.

    Breast cancer
    Although the vast majority of breast lumps are benign, a lump in one of the breasts can sometimes be a sign of breast cancer.
    A lump is more likely to be a sign of breast cancer if it:
    • is clearly defined
    • feels firm
    • doesn’t move around and persists after your periods or develop after the menopause.

  • Breast Pain

    Women of all ages report having breast pain, also known as mastalgia. Pain can occur both before and after the menopause. However, breast pain is most common in younger menstruating women. While nearly 70% of women report breast pain at some point during their lives, only around 15% require medical treatment. The severity and location of breast pain can vary. Pain can occur in both breasts, one breast, or in the underarm. Severity can range from mild to severe and is typically described as tenderness, sharp burning, or tightening of the breast tissue. Hormonal changes due to events such as menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause can also have an effect on the type of breast pain experienced.

    Common causes of breast pain:
    The following are common causes of breast pain.
    Breast cysts: At times, women may develop milk duct or gland changes resulting in breast cyst forming. Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can be soft or firm and may or may not cause pain. These cysts typically enlarge during the menstrual cycle and go away once menopause is reached.
    Medications: Certain medications can contribute to the development of breast pain. Oral hormonal contraceptives can lead to breast pain in some cases.
    Breast surgery: Undergoing breast surgery and the formation of scar tissue can lead to breast pain.
    Costochondritis: Costochondritis is a type of arthritis that occurs where the ribs and breastbone connect. While this condition is not related to the breast, the burning pain caused by it can be confused with actual breast pain.
    Fibrocystic breast changes: Women who are premenopausal and those who are undergoing treatment with postmenopausal hormone treatment may develop lumpy, tender, and swollen breasts caused by the buildup of fluid. This harmless condition is referred to as fibrocystic breast changes.
    Mastitis: Mastitis is a painful infection of the breast. It is most commonly experienced by lactating women due to a clogged milk duct.
    A poorly fitted bra: Breast pain can be caused by an improperly fitted bra. At times, bras are worn too tight or loose, leaving the breasts improperly supported.
    Breast cancer: Most breast cancers do not cause pain. However, inflammatory breast cancer and some tumors can lead to breast discomfort.