Breast cancer is defined as cancer which originates from breast tissue. Breast cancer is the major cause of death now days in middle aged women in western countries.
Breast cancer is the second most carcinoma site of cancer in women; onset of breast cancer is more common after age 30. Age and health history can affect the risk of developing breast cancer. Fertility, ovarian function, and estrogen exposure play a role in the onset of breast cancer.
Exposure to diets that produce high levels of oestrogen seems to be most important in utero and after menopause; high oestrogen levels during reproductive years seem to be protective. Breast cancer may be related to oxidative stress. Obesity and western dietary patterns may independently provoke hyperinsulinemic insulin resistance at puberty. In teen girls, anovulation may decrease breast cancer. Alcohol intake is a problem, especially if folic acid intake is low.
Breast cancer can be treated effectively, especially when it is diagnosed in early stages. Tumors are frequently found in the upper/outer quadrant of the breast and nipple area, in early stages, a single nontender, firm, or hard mass with poorly defined margins may exist. Later, skin or nipple retraction, axillary lymphadenopathy, breast enlargement, redness, mild edema, and pain may occur. In late stages, ulceration, moderate oedema, and metastasis to bone, liver, or brain are common.
Cause of Breast Cancer
Many etiological factors are responsible for causing breast cancer.
- Age – the highest risk is found between 40-60 years of age.
- Sex – females and male ratio is 99:1, risk in female sex is much higher then male sex.
- Geographical – breast cancer is the disease of WHITE, WESTERN, and WOMEN. It is rare in Japan and Taiwan. Genetic predisposition exists in a few cases, especially in bilateral breast cancer.
- Frequent abortions – frequent abortions increases the risk of breast cancer in females.
- Endocrinal cause – longer the cumulative period of menstruation more the risk (early menarche and late menopause)
- More the cumulative period of lactation better the protection
- More abortion and each occurring later increases risk
- More oestrogen content in OCP and OCP taken early in the reproductive life (before first pregnancy) increases risk
- Hormonal replacement therapy increases risk if the oestrogen content is higher and if taken more than 5 years.
- Family history of breast cancer – if there is history of cancer in close relation like mother, grand mother, and risk is increase in such females.
- Dietary factor – increased intake of saturated fat and reduced intake of phytooestrogens increases risk. Increased risk has been found in post menopausal obese women and is due to increased synthesis of oestrogen in the body fat. Vitamin C may have protective value.
- Chromosomal abnormalities – have been found in short arm of chromosome 17 in women with a family history of carcinoma of the breast.
Signs and Symptoms of breast cancer
- Changes in size and shape of the breast
- Lump in the breast is the most common presentation. Typically it is hard and irregular but it can also be firm.
- Swelling and redness of the breast
- Bleeding from nipple is an uncommon symptom of breast cancer, it involves multiple ducts.
- Nipple tender, red, ulcerated, inverted with discharge.
- Fixation of the skin, ulceration, peau d’ orange, fixation to chest wall and pectorals occurs late.
- Areola becomes thick with presence of peau d’orange.
- Puckering or dimpling of skin over the breast.
- Bone pains in case of bony metastasis. About 5% of patients present with bony metastasis giving rise to bony pains.
Diagnosing Breast Cancer
Investigations mainly include
- Complete blood count – Hb% may be decreases.
- Chest X-ray – to rule out pulmonary secondaries, or effusion, mediastinal widening
- Ultrasound – of the breast to detect solid cystic lesion. It is indicated in patients less than 40 years of age.
- Abdominal ultrasonography – is done to rule out secondaries in the liver, ascites, recto-uterine deposits.
- FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) – is quick, safe, easy method in which a cytological diagnosis can be made.
- Mammography – it should always be combined with clinical examination
Treatment of Breast Cancer
Treatment of breast cancer depends upon medical condition or stage of cancer. Breast cancer treatment with surgical and allopathic mode of treatment – Mainly include surgery, Radio therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
Homeopathy Treatment of Breast Cancer
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat breast cancer but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility.As far as therapeutic medication is concerned; several well-proved medicines are available for breast cancer treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for breast cancer treatment:
Hydrastis, Phytolacca, alumen, conium, calendula and many other medicines
Conium maculatum is a excellent medicine for breast cancer where mammary glands are hard and sore. A typical breast cancer that is scirrhous adenocarcinomas, which begins in the ducts and invades the parenchyma. Sometimes the condition is associated with the inflammation of breast tissue. The region is hard and nodular, tender to touch. Piercing pains, worse at night. Burning and stinging type of pain in the breast. The skin over the tumor is adherent. Occasionally there is discharge of pus from nipple. The lesion is hard, almost cartilaginous. The edges are distinct serrated and irregular, associated with productive fibrosis. the breasts are painful even to the touch of the clothes or the jar of walking. Cancer after injury (like a blow) or trauma to breast.
Inflammation, indurations and enlargement is the fundamental pathogenesis of this drug. The mammary gland is enlarged and it is lumped, hard, stony in nature. It is very sensitive to touch. The glands which are enlarged are tender with infiltration. Patient present as lobular but not serrated mass with firm rubbery consistency. Their edges are sharply defined. Most commonly the tumors are solitary or occasionally be multiple. A bloody nipple discharge is indication of this drug.
The patient have tendency to indurate glands. Swelling of the mammary glands. Patient complaints of pain and tenderness. Engorged nipples, cracks and discharge of watery, of serosanguinous discharge.
This remedy predominantly acts on the enlargement of the mammary gland which may be malignant. The mucus membrane of the glands and the breast tissue are inflamed. The breast tissue is hypertrophied, enlarged, hard and nodular. Tumors are well differentiated.
Cancer of the mammae; Hard, irregular tumor with retracted nipples, sore lame feeling extended to the arm. Pain in the nipple, which was fissured across the crown. The breasts are very sensitive during nursing, with an excessive flow of milk. They have a tendency to suppurate. The pains seem to radiate or extend from the nipples to all over the body, especially down the arm from the axilla.
This remedy corresponds to hard indurated swellings in the female breast. It is useful both for fibroadenomas as well as breast cancer.
Development of breast tumors after suppression of menses or with scanty and irregular menstruation. Extreme sensitivity to pain in general. Desire for sympathy and weeping while telling her complaints.
Note: Breast cancer is a serious medical condition and may require emergency intervention. If a patient suspects having cancer or lump in breast, they should immediately consult a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.