Breast Cancer

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What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast usually form a tumorthat is malignant and can invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.

How to diagnose breast Cancer?

  • Breast physical examination
  • Mammogram
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • MRI
  • CT scan

What are the types of breast cancer?
There are two types of breast cancer tumors: those that are non-cancerous, or ‘benign’, and those that are cancerous, which are ‘malignant’.

Benign Tumour
When a tumor is diagnosed as benign, doctors usually don’t remove it. Even though these tumors are not generally aggressive toward surrounding tissue, occasionally they may continue to grow, pressing on organs and causing pain or other problems. In these situations, the tumor is removed, allowing pain or complications to subside.

Malignant Tumour
Malignant tumors are cancerous and aggressive because they invade and damage surrounding tissue. When a tumor is suspected to be malignant, the doctor will perform a biopsy to determine the severity or aggressiveness of the tumor.

Metastatic Cancer
Metastatic Cancer is when cancer cells of a malignant tumor spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system, and form a secondary tumor.

What are the grades of tumour?
The tumor cells are graded based on a scale of one to three which represents how aggressive the cancerous cells are:

  • Low grade - Well-differentiated
  • Intermediate grade - Moderately differentiated
  • High grade - Poorly differentiated

Low grade tumors look like normal tissue and high grade tumors look abnormal under the microscope and tend to be aggressive.

What are the treatment procedures and the recent advances?
Local treatments: Some treatments are called local therapies.In this, they treat the tumor without affecting the rest of the body. Types of local therapy used for breast cancer include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy

They are more useful for earlier stage cancers.These treatments are more likely to be useful for earlier stage (less advanced) cancers, although they might also be used in some other situations.

Systemic treatments: Breast cancer can also be treated using drugs, which can be given by mouth or directly into the bloodstream.They can reach cancer cells anywhere in the body, so called as systemic therapies. Depending on the type of breast cancer, several different types of drugs might be used, including:
The main breast cancer treatment options may include:

  • Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
  • Surgery
  • Biological therapy (targeted drug therapy)
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy


  • Lumpectomy– Removal of tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue around it surgically.It isoften known as breast sparing surgery in breast cancer.
  • Mastectomy - surgically removing the breast. Simple mastectomy involves removing the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue, nipple, areola, and some skin. Radical mastectomy means also removing muscle of the chest wall and the lymph nodes in the armpit.
  • Sentinel node biopsy - one lymph node is surgically removed.
  • Axillary lymph node dissection - if the sentinel node was found to have cancer cells, the surgeon may recommend removing several nymph nodes in the armpit.
  • Breast reconstruction surgery - a series of surgical procedures aimed at recreating a breast so that it looks as much as possible like the other breast. This procedure may be carried out at the same time as a mastectomy. The surgeon may use a breast implant, or tissue from another part of the patient's body.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
After one month of surgery or chemotherapy,radiotherapy occurs. The patient may require three to five sessions per week for three to five session per week for three to six weeks.

The type of breast cancer the woman has will decide what type of radiation therapy she may have to undergo. In some cases, radiotherapy is not needed.

Radiation therapy types include:

  • Breast radiation therapy - after a lumpectomy, radiation is administered to the remaining breast tissue
  • Chest wall radiation therapy - this is applied after a mastectomy
  • Breast boost - a high-dose of radiation therapy is applied to where the tumor was surgically removed.
  • Lymph nodes radiation therapy - the radiation is aimed at the axilla (armpit) and surrounding area to destroy cancer cells that have reached the lymph nodes
  • Breast brachytherapy - patients with early-stage breast cancer in the milk ducts which has not spread, seem to benefit from undergoing breast brachytherapy with a strut-based applicator.

Medications are used to kill the cancer cells - these are called cytotoxic drugs. The oncologist may recommend chemotherapy if there is a high risk of cancer recurrence, or the cancer spreading elsewhere in the body. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.If the tumors are large, chemotherapy may be administered before surgery. The aim is to shrink the tumor, making its removal easier. This is called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy may also be administered if the cancer has metastasized.It is also useful in reducing some of the symptoms caused by cancer.

Chemotherapy may help stop estrogen production. It encourages the growth of breast cancers.

Protecting female fertility – An arsenic-based chemo medication,which is very gentle on the ovaries are used for attacking cancer.
Hormone therapy (hormone blocking therapy)
Hormone therapy is used for breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. These types of cancer are often referred to as ER positive (estrogen receptor positive) and PR positive (progesterone receptor positive) cancers. The aim is to prevent cancer recurrence. This therapy is used after surgery or may be used before to shrink the tumor.
If for health reasons, the patient cannot undergo surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, hormone therapy may be the only treatment she receives.

The following hormone therapy medications may be used:

  • Tamoxifen.
  • Aromatase inhibitors

Biological treatment (targeted drugs)
Some drugs are given to the patient to deastroy the cancer cells

Bone-directed treatments
When breast cancer spreads, it often goes to the bones. Some drugs can help treat the spread of cancer to the bones, and might even help prevent it. Newer drugs are introduced to treat breast cancer that has spread to the bones. They are also looking for ways to identify and target the markers that affect bone turnover.

Oncology Hospitals in India

Oncology Top 20. Top Ranked Hospitals for Oncology in India. Get Opinion and cost estimate from any three Hospitals Times of India National Rank in Oncology The Week National Rank in Oncology
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital Delhi India
The India’s First Hospital which is Internationally Accredited by Joint Commission International(JCI) is the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. It is the best multi-speciality tertiary acute care hospitals with over 700 beds. It... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 718
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
1 5
Medanta Hospital Gurgaon Delhi India
Medanta – The Medicity is one of India's largest multi-super specialty institutes located in Gurgaon, a bustling town in the National Capital Region. Founded by eminent cardiac surgeon, Dr. Naresh Trehan, the institution has been... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 1,250
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
HCG Hospital Bangalore India
HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd, the specialist in cancer care has its headquarters in Bangalore, India and is known to be the only dedicated cancer care network with quality care across 20 centres. Being a leader in the area of... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) :
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
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Apollo Hospitals Chennai
In 1983 , the Apollo Group established the flagship hospital named as Apollo Hospital , Chennai. The Hospital has 60 departments organized by Internationally Trained Doctors , having hi-tech facilities of vaious health disorders and... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 500
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
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Omega Hospitals Hyderabad India
A vision to create a world-class integrated healthcare delivery system in India, entailing the finest medical skills combined with compassionate care gave birth to Omega Hospitals in July 2010. When a few well-known, dedicated Oncologists... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 175
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
5 7
Jaslok Hospital Mumbai India
Jaslok Hospital was set up in 1973 with a very simple mission. Our founders, Jasoti and Lokoomal Chanrai, wanted to ensure that we provide the best possible medical care using state-of-the-art technology to every single patient,... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 600
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
Apollo Hospital Hyderabad India
Apollo hospital , Hyderabad is the best hospital in the world , in terms of technical expertise , deliverables and outcomes. The first health city in Asia and a perfect example of an integrated healthcare system offering solutions across... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 350
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
P.D. Hinduja National Hospital Mumbai India
Established in the early 1950's under the leadership of the late Shri P.D. Hinduja, our vision is to deliver quality healthcare. As an ultramodern tertiary care hospital in Mumbai, India we are motivated to lead the pathway to medical... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 400
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
Global Hospitals Chennai India
Global Hospitals Group, India's most renowned healthcare services provider offering better care, cutting-edge research and advanced education to caregivers, is one of the country's fast growing chains of Multi Super Specialty Tertiary Care... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 1000
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
Max Super Speciality Hospital - Patparganj New Delhi India
Max Multi Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, subsidiary of Max healthcare that have 11 top hospitals in Delhi- NCR, Punjab and Uttarakhand with over 1900 bedding facilities including 525 ICU bedding, 2100 world class doctors. They follow a... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 500
Accredited By :
  • JCI
Continental Hospitals, A Gleneagles Facility Hyderabad India
Continental Hospitals is a part of the Parkway Pantai Ltd. Parkway Pantai is one of the region's largest integrated private healthcare groups with a network of 22 hospitals and more than 4,000 beds throughout Asia, including Singapore,... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 750
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Center Mumbai India
Established over five decades ago, in 1952, The Bombay Hospital was the result of the enormous philanthropy displayed by Shri Rameshwardas Birla, Founder Chairman of the Bombay Hospital Trust. It began as a 440 bed hospital whose objective... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 830
Accredited By :
  • NABH
Apollo Gleneagles Hospital Kolkata India
A 510-bedded multispecialty tertiary care hospital – Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals Kolkata, is a perfect blend of technological excellence, complete infrastructure, competent care and heartfelt hospitality - this is how the people, whom we... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 150
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH
Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru is a tertiary care leading unit of the Apollo hospitals group. It has made a presence in Bengaluru and reached 42nd Super Specialty Hospital of the crowd. It is a 250 bedded hospital, beautifully redesigned over... + Read More
Size of Hospital (Beds) : 250
Accredited By :
  • JCI
  • NABH