In the first stage of breast cancer, tumors are found only in the breast, and have not metastasized to other parts of the body. The survival rate of breast cancer depends on the patient’s health condition, and how early the cancer has been detected.
Cancer, a dreaded disease that does not have a cure as yet, can affect any part of the body. When it affects the breasts, it is known as breast cancer, and is mainly caused due to the development of unhealthy cells, which spread at a breakneck pace. An increase in hormonal levels, particularly estrogen, as a result of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, is responsible for this unnatural growth of cells. Other factors like age, family history, or mutated genes can also be responsible for the occurrence of breast cancer.
What is Stage 1 Breast Cancer?
As we have seen earlier, breast cancer is staged according to the metastasis of the cancerous cells in the body. There are four stages of every type of cancer. The first two stages indicate that the cancer has just begun and spread to the nearby organs. But the third and fourth stage are a matter of grave concern, since the disease has spread to almost all the organs in the body and destroyed their functioning. This cancer is categorized according to the presence of tumors in the breast-lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma.
In lobular carcinoma, the lump grows in the lobules, the part which produces milk. On the other hand, ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer is seen in most women suffering from breast cancer, and can occur in the ducts, which are carriers of milk from the breast to the nipples.
It is essential to undergo genetic testing for breast cancer in case there is a family history of this disease. In the developmental stage of breast cancer, the carcinogenic cells form a mass and develop into a tumor. This tumor can be felt as a hard lump in the breast or near the armpit. However, sometimes the presence of the tumor can only be detected with the help of a mammogram. In the next step of development, the blood vessels in the breast realign themselves so as to supply blood to the tumor. This process is known as angiogenesis and there is a whole new bunch of blood vessels that support the growth of the tumor with oxygen, nutrients, and energy.
Once the tumor has completely developed, it begins to migrate and invade the nearby healthy tissues. The lymph nodes are the first to get affected, from where the cancerous cells are passed on to other parts of the body. From this phase, the cancer progresses to the remaining stages and metastasizes. Thanks to new findings and development in breast cancer research, the severity of this health disorder has considerably reduced and women are finding it easier to cope with breast cancer.
Observing symptoms of the initial stage of breast cancer is indicative of the presence of this deadly disease in the body. Here are some of the symptoms seen in the first stage of breast cancer.
- One of the early symptoms of breast cancer is noticing the growth of a hard lump. This lump can appear anywhere on the breast and can be felt while bathing or during self-examination.
- Another sign of breast cancer, as this disease progresses, is shrinking of the skin around the nipples. The areola may become pale and begin to resemble a lemon or orange peel.
- Fluid secretions, sometimes traced with blood, is also another breast cancer symptom. The secretions can appear at any point of time and as the cancer metastasizes, the amount increases.
- Other symptoms exhibited are unexplained weight loss, fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite, etc.
The prognosis can be decided taking a few factors, like age and the health condition of the patient, metastasis of cancer, and response of the patient to the treatment provided, into consideration. A positive streak is that a person can get cured completely if diagnosed and treated on time.
- Chemotherapy is opted to destroy cancerous cells and curb their spread. Radiation may also be administered to kill the harmful tissue.
- Lumpectomy, which is the surgical removal of the tumor, is also carried out to completely discard the lump from the breast. However, if the entire breast has been affected, then the patient may have to undergo mastectomy, or removal of the breast.
- Modern approaches like hormone therapy and biological therapy have come into existence to prevent the formation of cancer-triggering protein. This treatment option is still experimental.
The survival rates for five years is 100%, provided it is diagnosed and treated on time. Unfortunately, the survival rate in stage 4 cancer is poor, as during this stage the cancer has completely metastasized throughout the body.