Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast develop out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. Each kind depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. It can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast comprises of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue.
Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. It can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. Such a process is known as metastasis.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
The symptoms vary from person to person. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. Some warning signs of breast cancer are as follows:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
Remember that these symptoms can occur with other conditions apart from cancer too. If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
Post-puberty, a woman’s breast contains fat, connective tissue, and thousands of lobules, tiny glands that produce milk for breast-feeding. Tiny tubes, or ducts, transport the milk towards the nipple.
In cancer, the body’s cells multiply uncontrollably. It is excessive cell growth that causes cancer. Breast cancer is said to begin in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. From there, it may spread to other parts of the body.
Diagnosing Breast Cancer
Doctors use medical examinations to diagnose breast cancer. They may refer women to a breast specialist or a surgeon. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems.
Breast Ultrasound: A machine that uses sound waves to make detailed pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.
Mammogram: If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
Biopsy: This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast. This, thereafter, is examined under a microscope for further testing.
Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy Treatment
There exist a variety of breast cancer treatments. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and to what degree it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
While you’re being treated for breast cancer, you may not possess the energy you once did. Swelling occurs right after breast cancer surgery and is common. If the swelling persists, you may have a condition called lymphedema.
Pre-Habilitation: Even before surgery, physical therapy can help. Pre-habilitation is defined as the time of care that occurs between the time of diagnosis and actual cancer treatment. It usually involves identifying any impairments that may affect recovery such as muscle weakness, postural dysfunction, and pain. Educating in lymphedema and risk reduction also accounts to it. Establish an exercise program prior to and after surgery.
If you have any physical problems that persist after surgery or during treatment, approach a physiotherapist or rehabilitation professional. Together, you and your therapist can design an appropriate treatment plan. Your plan may include:
Stretching and Flexibility Exercises: Your therapist can help you learn exercises that gently stretch the arms and improve your pain-free scope of motion. He or she can teach you exercises to do at home and advise you on how often to do them.
Manual therapy: Your therapist also may moderately massage your arm. Using manual therapy, your therapist would gently pull the tissue on your outstretched arm, starting in the upper arm and moving down into the forearm.
Functional Training: Your physical therapist shall design a treatment plan that enables you to get back to your routine life.
Postural Training: Physical therapy will address the postural changes after surgery with postural specific exercises and ergonomic assessments.
If you suffer from breast cancer and wish to resume your daily routine, reach out to us at RBH Health Physiotherapy and Rehab Centre.