The treatment of breast cancer depends primarily on how advanced the disease is, or its stage. Cases of breast cancer are stage 2 when the size of the tumor is small (2- 5 cm) and has not spread outside the breast or has only spread to the underarm lymph nodes.
In stage 2 breast cancer patients, following the biopsy and a confirmed diagnosis, it may be possible to surgically remove the cancerous cell since the tumor has not spread to other organs. Then, the estrogen and progesterone receptors are investigated in the cancerous tissue removed during surgery to determine whether the patient can benefit from hormone therapy.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
There are many important factors to consider that increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Advanced age, the onset of the first menstrual bleeding before the age of 12, and the history of breast cancer in the mother or a sibling are primary risk factors that cannot be changed or avoided. In addition, other risk factors for breast cancer are:
- Never giving birth or having the first birth after the age of 30
- Not breastfeeding after birth or only breastfeeding for a short time
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive weight or obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Long-term estrogen therapy
- Being exposed to radiation, especially in the chest area
- Previously having breast cancer
Do Men Have Breast Cancer?
Although most cases are in women, men also have breast tissue. However, although the disease is possible, the risk of breast cancer in men is quite low compared to women. The disease, which is seen in approximately 1 of every 100 breast cancer cases, is mostly seen in men over the age of 60-65. Since the possibility of breast cancer in men is so low, diagnosis and treatment are often started quite late in male patients.
What are the stages of breast cancer?
The staging of breast cancer is determined by the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread elsewhere. Breast cancer is graded from stage 0 (zero) to stage 4 (four). However, stage 0 (zero) actually refers to lesions that may be the precursor of breast cancer.
- Stage-1: The tumor size is smaller than 2 cm in the breast or in the axillary lymph nodes. The tumor has not spread to any other place or organ.
- Stage-2: The size of the tumor is between 2 and 5 cm. However, in some subgroups, the tumor cells can spread to the axillary glands.
- Stage-3: If the tumor is larger than 5 cm, or smaller than 5 cm but has spread to other axillary lymph nodes. Or, the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, chest wall, or above the collar bone.
- Stage-4: Cancer cells have spread to other organs beyond the breasts and nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2 Breast Cancer Symptoms
Most of the symptoms of breast cancer can be noticed by the patient themself. Cancerous masses appear relatively hard, with irregular edges and a rough surface. Common symptoms:
- A palpable hardness or mass in the breast
- Recent asymmetry between two breasts
- Inward pulling on the nipple or breast skin
- Redness, wound, eczema, crusting, or cracking in the breast
- A pitted, orange peel-like, appearance on the breast skin
- Shape or direction change in the nipple
- Unusual swelling or size increase in the breast
- Different types of pain felt in the breast during menstrual periods
- Discharge from the nipple; especially pink or red color
- Stiffness, swelling or mass under the armpit
People who feel stiffness or other symptoms in the breast are advised to consult their doctor immediately, even if the previous mammogram results are normal.