Breast Cancer

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts in the breast tissue, most commonly on the cells that line the milk ducts of the breast. It is the most commonly occurring cancer in women and the second most common cancer overall. There were an estimated 2 million new cases of breast cancer reported globally in 2018.

Common symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, changes to the skin on the breast, discharge from nipples, change of appearance of the nipple and a lump in the armpit. Factors which can increase changes of getting breast cancer include family history, inherited muted genes, age, exposure to radiation and obesity.

Breast cancer can be detected through regular screening which included a physical exam, mammogram, breast ultrasound and a breast tissue biopsy.

Once breast cancer has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan.

Breast cancer treatment varies depending on the stage of cancer and whether or not the cancer has spread.Treatments include surgery, which is usually a lumpectomy or mastectomy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy.

To know more about breast cancer you can refer to our Breast Cancer Guide


Women above 40 years of age should be aware of their risks; get screened yearly and also conduct self -exam screening. Ideally women should get mammograms done yearly or every alternate year after the age of 40 or 45. Regular mammograms should be continued as long as good health is maintained.

Women are also advised to perform self- examination of their breasts at least once a month. It can be performed either in the shower, in form of a mirror or while lying down. Whilst ion the shower, move your fingers around your entire breast in a circular fashion from the outside to the centre, checking the entire breast and armpit. Feel for any knots or lumps in both breasts.

While standing in from of a mirror, look for any changes in size and shape of the two breasts and also changes in the position of nipples. Notice any plucking, dimpling or other changes.

While lying down, the breast tissue spreads on the chest wall and once again palpate using your fingers similar to the process done in the shower.

our experts

Dr Sandip Bipte

Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon

Dr Katy Hogben

Consultant Breast Surgeon



Lumpectomy: This involves removing an area of cancer from the breast. The surgeon removes the area of cancer and some of the surrounding tissue. It is usually performed on patients who do not have advanced stages of cancer.

Mastectomy: This surgery involves removal of the whole breast. The surgeon removes all of the breast including the nipples.

Breast Reconstruction: In the type of surgery the surgeon shall create a new breast shape for you. Your surgeon will talk to you about the different options for breast reconstruction before your operation, You may have it at the same time as the operation to remove the breast (immediate reconstruction) or later (delayed reconstruction).

Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intra – peritoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.

Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks.

Targeted Therapy: This is performed by administrating a number of drugs to the patient which will target certain components of the cancer cells.

Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.

You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.


  • Most patients require a post – surgical recovery period of up to 4- 6 weeks. Speak to your surgeon to understand the amount of recovery you would need following your treatment.
  • Physiotherapy exercises form an integral part of post-surgical rehabilitation. These are particularly important to prevent stiffness in the shoulder and neck.
  • Appropriate rest is also important during this period.
  • If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.

length of stay

Hospital Stay:     3-7 days for surgery

Total Stay:           Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months

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