Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting elderly women. Elderly women need to know the signs, causes, and different types of breast cancer, as well as about the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting elderly women. The survival rate in women over 65 who are diagnosed with early breast cancer is lower compared to the women in the younger age group. Also, the disease is more likely to recur in elderly women.
Types of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer, in general, refers to any form of cancer that develops in and around the breast. It can be either:
- Invasive: When the disease spreads to healthy tissue.
- Non-invasive: The disease is restricted to the milk ducts and cells of the breast.
Other types of breast cancer include:
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) – it starts in the milk ducts and moves to other healthy tissues.
- Invasive Lobular Carcinoma- it starts in the lobules.
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer– it starts with a reddening and inflamed breast
- Paget’s Disease– affects the nipple
Causes of Breast Cancer
- Gender- 99 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women.
- Age- Chances of breast cancer increase with age. However, the chances decrease once you attain the age of 75 years.
- Genetics– 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer cases are inherited.
- Race- breast cancer is more common in white and African-American women.
- Dense Breasts– dense breast tissue can be a risk factor for breast cancer
- Family History- women, whose close family member has had breast cancer, are more likely to get the disease.
- Reproductive History- If your periods started before the age of 12 or your menopause set in after 55, you are more likely to get breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer symptoms include:
- Lump on the Breast
- Discharge From the Nipple
- Swelling and Soreness
- Swelling in the Underarm
- Changes to the Skin – Such as redness, swelling, dimpling, as well as peeling, flakiness, and crustiness in and around the breast
Diagnosis for Breast Cancer
If you notice any of the symptoms of breast cancer, mentioned above visit the doctor as soon as possible. Getting in touch with a reputed doctor from a cancer hospital in India will be helpful in diagnosis. There are about 80 cancer hospitals in India and finding a one in your city will not be difficult.
Your doctor will perform a few tests to detect the disease.
Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention. Treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, the size of the tumor and the spread. Treatment options for breast cancer include:
- Mastectomy- refers to surgical removal of the whole affected breast
- Lumpectomy- it is the partial removal of breast tissue
- Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy drugs are meant to kill cancer cells
- Radiation- use of high-energy beams to attack the cancer cells
- Hormone Therapy- to stop the growth of cancer
There is no clear, defined way to prevent breast cancer. However, as per research, the following may aid in preventing the disease:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Quitting smoking and drinking.
- Being physically active.