Breast cancer affects millions of women around the world. It is estimated that every 1 in 14 girl child born around the world will develop breast cancer at a later stage of life. It accounts for over 10 percent of all cancers that affects women during their lifetime.
Breast cancer treatment cost in India is far less than cost in other countries. For example, total mastectomy costs around $7,000 in India. On the other hand, a patient has to pay around $22,000 for the same procedure in other countries. Similarly, the cost of lumpectomy in India is $3,000 and the same procedure costs five times more, around $15,000 in the US.
Breast cancer starts in the tissue of the breast, mostly in the cells of the ducts or lobules that supplies milk to it. These two types of cancer are known as ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma.
The breast cancer may remain confined to its origin or spread to other parts of the body through metastasis. When the cancer cells do not affect the surrounding tissues, the cancer is known as in-situ. When the cancer leaved the place of its origin and spreads to other locations, then the cancer is known as metastatic or invasive breast cancer.
There are different stages (extent) of cancer, and the treatment for breast cancer depends on the extent of tumor growth that the patient is suffering from. The stage is defined according to the size of the tumor, its type (invasive or in-situ) and the extent of its spread.
Breast Cancer Causes
The scientists and researchers have not been able to identify the exact cause of breast cancer as yet. However, there are certain risk factors for risk factors that are known to cause the disease. Some of these factors include:
- Family history of breast cancer
- Early menopause
- Early menses
- Exposure to carcinogenic agents and radiation
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Exposure to certain chemicals such as organochlorines
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Women suffering from breast cancer may not experience any symptom at all during the early stage. However, the symptoms start to dominate as the cancer of the breast grows and develops in size. Formation of a lump in the breast, swelling in the armpits and constant pain and tenderness in the affected breast or both the breasts are some of the common symptoms of breast cancer.
The patient may also notice a change in the texture, contour and temperature of the breast. In advances stages of breast cancer, the skin tends to appear more pitted and reddish in color. In addition, the patient may notice itching an burning sensation in the nipple area. In certain cases, patients may report of an unusual discharge form the nipples.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Early diagnosis of breast cancer is the key to timely treatment and reduction in rate of breast cancer deaths. A majority of women do not experience any symptoms during early stages of breast cancer. As a result, it is difficult to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage.
However, there are certain diagnostic tools that can help make breast cancer diagnosis as soon as the patient reports experiencing breast cancer symptoms. These diagnostic tests for breast cancer include:
- Ultrasonography (USG): This test makes use of high frequency waves to check for the presence of a lump and to see whether it is completely solid or had liquid in it.
- Mammogram: This is a traditional diagnostic tool that makes use of X-rays to identify any abnormal tissue formation in the breasts.
- Biopsy: During this examination, a piece of tissue or some liquid is extracted from the lump inside the breast and seen under the microscope. This helps pathologist identify whether the cells are cancerous or not. The tissue or liquid is extract surgically or with the help of a thin needle during a procedure called aspiration.
Breast Cancer Treatment in India
Breast cancer treatment in India can be availed at an affordable cost. The best hospitals for breast cancer surgery in India are equipped with all the modern facilities and state-of-the-art machinery that help remove cancer with great accuracy and precision. Moreover, India possesses a brigade of trained medical professionals, doctors and nursing staff that are available around the clock to provide best treatment services to the patient.
This type of treatment is typically used to remove the tumor from the breast altogether. It is best used in cases where the tumor is localized, that is, present in just one location. The following are the types of local treatment for breast cancer:
Surgery: This is the most common type of breast cancer treatment used to remove the tumor from the breast. The doctor may decide to just remove the tumor or the entire breast (mastectomy) during the surgery.
Radiation therapy: This treatment make use of high dose radiation to damage the remaining cancer cells present at the original location. Radiation therapy is mandatory in case just the cancer is removed and optional if entire breast is removed
This type of treatment is typically used to reduce the chances of cancer recurrence. It includes the following types of treatment:
- Chemotherapy: This therapy involved the use of drugs to kill off cancer cells. Chemotherapy is typically used in cases the cancer has spread to other locations in the body as well.
- Hormonal therapy: This treatment is a promising option in case the breast cancer cells possess the receptors for female hormones estrogen or pregesterone. These hormones are related to breast cancer and their administration for a more than at least five years is linked to reduced chances of cancer recurrence.
Breast Cancer Treatment Cost in India
Breast cancer treatment cost in India is much less than other countries around the world, including the US, the UK, Singapore and Canada. This difference is cost is not there in just one procedure, but all breast cancer treatment procedures. This is the reason why hundreds of patients travel to India for treatment of breast cancer.
It is estimated that patients from the US save around 60 to 70 percent of their money if they decide to get breast cancer treatment in India. The figure remains the same even when hotel accommodation, cost of air tickets and doctor fees are taken into account.