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Breast Cancer Treatment in India | Best Hospital for Breast Cancer | MedicoExperts India

In 2020, more than 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths worldwide. 

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer type in Women. Earlier, cervical cancer used to be the most prevalent cancer in women.

Moreover, the average age of women with breast cancer is reducing every year. Young females as early as in their thirties are now diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, with the advancement of technology, experience, and new protocols, the survival rates of breast cancer patients are also increasing. With breast reconstruction surgery, females can live the next phase of their life without even telling anybody about the event.

Let’s meet Oana, a 32-year-old female from Lagos, Nigeria.  She is a fun-loving woman who loves to party with friends. She is unmarried and lives with her father and mother. She works as a business development manager in an MNC in Lagos. She has a very cheerful and friendly personality. She is very punctual, and all her clients are very amazed by her personality.

Two years ago, She felt a lump on her right breast, This was the first time she suspected something was wrong. She was concerned about it and curious to know what was wrong with her breast. 

Oana visited a gynecologist nearby and the gynecologist suggested an ultrasound, but the test findings were normal. She came back as nothing was detected, but the lump was still there, and she could feel it.

After 3 months, Oana still felt the lump, but this time she observed that her areola had a dark spot and her nipple had crustiness and discharge. 

breast-cancer-treatment-in-India-Oana
breast cancer treatment in india

This time she decided to visit another gynecologist. Oana requested for a thorough evaluation. The doctor suggested her to do a mammogram, Ultrasound, and MRI. The next day report came and the doctor got suspicious of cancer and suggested the biopsy.  

The results revealed she had HER2-positive breast cancer.  Oana was terrified and almost lost, but her family helped Oana come out of shock. 

Oana’s father started finding the possible treatment options. One of the oncologists suggested chemotherapy and mastectomy.

 Oana got scared when the doctor told her that her right breast need to be removed. 

Oana creates an image in her mind of how bad she might look after her breast is removed. How people will think about her and she might also not join the office back. 

Oana and her family started to search for the best treatment for breast cancer. Oana’s boss came to know about her condition and he advised Oana that she should go to India for the treatment. 

Oana got in touch with MedicoExperts while searching for the best breast cancer treatment in India. She inquired about treatment on the MedicoExperts website and the MedicoExperts patient care department got in touch with her and she sent all her reports. MedicoExperts arranged an online video consultation for her with a Breast cancer surgeon, she cleared all her doubts regarding the treatment and she doesn’t want to remove her breast. The doctor explained breast conservation surgery, mastectomy, and breast reconstruction surgery to her. The doctor also mentioned that the final decision will depend on a few more investigations. However, whatever would be the final decision, she will have the option for breast reconstruction.

She got convinced after talking with the doctor and decided to come to India for the treatment. 

Oana came to India for the treatment and the hospital evaluation is performed to check the current status of the cancer. Based on the reports the doctor suggested for the mastectomy ( Breast removal) of the right breast. The breast surgeon did the mastectomy and her multiple cancer tumors was removed along with the breast. 

breast cancer treatment

After the mastectomy, a few sessions of chemotherapy was given. Chemotherapy was also followed by radiation therapy. She eventually got rid of her cancer but it was very difficult for her to see herself in the mirror with one breast.

Oana decided to go for breast reconstruction surgery as she didn’t find herself complete. Her breast reconstruction surgery was also conducted in three stages. 

After the reconstruction, she was very happy and finally had a feeling of victory over cancer. 

Oana shared her experience.

Everyone was very supportive and caring through my surgery, and treatment afterward. After the surgery, I received chemotherapy and radiation. I was also suggested on what to eat and how to manage my side-effects of treatment. I must say, they really know how to handle sensitive cases as well and also ensure there is a lot of positivity and care. I am glad we chose to travel to India and chose MedicoExperts to be our guide in our journey.

You can also win your battle against breast cancer and live a life as if nothing happened.

Before moving forward, Let’s first understand what breast cancer is.

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What is Breast Cancer?

It is cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer begins when cells start to grow out of control. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age and weight gain. There are several types of breast cancer that depend on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. A Breast is made up of three parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue.

The lobules are the glands that produce milk and ducts are the tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue which comprises fibrous and fatty tissue encircles and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread out of the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels.

What is breast cancer
Breast Cancer Types

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is mainly divided into 2 types – invasive and non-invasive. Invasive cancer spreads from the breast ducts to other parts of the breast whereas non-invasive cancer has not spread from the original tissue.

  • Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

    It is a non-invasive condition where the cancer cells are confined to the ducts in your breast and haven’t invaded the surrounding tissue.

  • Lobular Carcinoma In Situ

    It is cancer that grows in the milk-producing glands of your breast. In this also, the cancer cells have not invaded the surrounding tissues.

  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

    It is the most widespread type of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer develops in your breast’s milk ducts and invades surrounding tissues in the breast. Once it spreads to surrounding tissues, it begins to spread to other organs and tissues.

  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

    It first develops in your breast’s lobules and has already invaded the surrounding tissues.

Stages

Stages of Breast Cancer

There are four stages of breast cancer. The stages are classified according to the size of the tumor and whether the tumor has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

The cells are limited to the ducts and have not spread to surrounding tissues. Stage 0 is also called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS).

  • Stage 1 A – At this stage, the tumor has not affected the lymph nodes or there are small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes. During this stage, the tumors measure up to 2 centimeters.
  • Stage 1B – Cancer is found in nearby lymph nodes and either there is no tumor in the breast or is smaller than 2cm.
  • Stage 2 A – At this stage, the tumor is 2 centimeters and has started to spread to 1-3 lymph nodes or is 2-5 centimeters and has not spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2 B – At this stage, the tumor is between 2-5 cm and has spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes or it is larger than 5cm and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3A – At this stage, the tumor is up to 5 cm, and it has spread to 1-3 axillary lymph nodes, or the tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to a few of the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3B – A Tumor has conquered the chest wall or skin and may or may not have conquered up to nine lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3C – At this stage, cancer is found in 10 or more axillary lymph nodes.

At this stage, cancer can have a tumor of any size. Cancer has spread to many organs that include bones, liver, lungs, or brain.

Causes

Causes of Breast Cancer

The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, but there are some risk factors that you should know to prevent breast cancer.

  1. Age: The risk factors of breast cancer increase with age with women over the age of 50.
  2. Family history of Breast Cancer: Women who carry certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have higher chances of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both. People take over these genes from their parents.
  3. History of Breast Cancer: Women who had breast cancer in the past are more likely to have it again than those who have no history of the disease.
  4. Dense Breast Tissue: Women with more dense breasts are likely to receive breast cancer.
  5. Estrogen Exposure: Estrogen exposure could increase due to people having their periods earlier or entering menopause at a later age. 
  6. Bodyweight: Women who are overweight or develop obesity after menopause also have higher chances of developing breast cancer.
  7. Consumption of Alcohol: Women who consume alcohol (moderate to high levels of a drinker) have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who do not (and light drinkers). 
  8. Hormonal Treatment: According to NCI, oral Contraceptives may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer.
causes of breast cancer
Blood Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The first symptom of breast cancer typically appears with a thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast or an armpit. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the armpits
  • Sunken nipple
  • Scrambling of the skin on the breast or nipple
  • Rash around the nipples
  • Discharge from a nipple
  • Inflammation of the skin of the breast
  • Variation in the size or shape of the breast

Most breast lumps are not cancerous; however, women should visit a doctor for an examination if they notice such lumps.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

The first symptom of breast cancer typically appears with a thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast or an armpit. Other symptoms include:

Tests that can help to diagnose breast cancer include:

  • Breast Exam: The doctor will examine your breast and lymph nodes in your armpit to feel any lumps or any abnormalities.
  • Ultrasound: It uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissue deep in your breast. It helps doctors to distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst.
  • Mammogram: It is an imaging test that can see below the surface of the breast. If your doctor suspects that you may have a tumor or suspicious spots, then they will request a mammogram.
  • MRI: It is a type of scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer that provides detailed pictures of areas in the breast.
  • Biopsy: In this test, tissue or fluid is removed from the suspicious area of the breast to test for cancer. There are different kinds of biopsies such as fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, or open biopsy.
breast cancer diagnosis test

Treatments

Breast Cancer Treatment in India

After the stage of the disease is determined then the surgeon decides the treatment plan for the specific case of breast cancer. Most of the time, It’s a multi-modality treatment. 

Surgery is the most popular treatment for breast cancer. However, surgery needs to be complemented with another treatment too such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation, or hormone therapy.

There are several types of breast cancer surgery used to remove cancer cells that include:

Lumpectomy

This removes the tumor and surrounding tissues which are affected.

Mastectomy

In this surgery, the entire breast is removed and in a double mastectomy, both breasts are removed.

Breast conservation surgery

BCS (breast-conserving surgery) removes the cancer while preserving as much of the normal breast as possible. Some healthy tissue and lymph nodes are usually removed as well. Depending on how much tissue is removed, breast-conserving surgery is referred to as a lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, partial mastectomy, or segmental mastectomy.

Sentinel Node Biopsy

In this surgery, a few of the lymph nodes that receive drainage from the tumor are removed and tested for cancer.

Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

If the lymph nodes removed during sentinel node biopsy contain cancer cells, then your doctor will remove a few more lymph nodes for testing.

Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

In this surgery, even though cancer is present in one of the breasts, people tend to remove the healthier breast to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer again.

Breast reconstruction surgery

Many women having breast cancer surgery have the option to reconstruct their breast to rebuild the shape of their breast. Breast reconstruction usually falls into two categories: Implant reconstruction and Flap reconstruction. In Implant reconstruction, breast implants are done to form a new breast mound whereas, in flap reconstruction, a patient’s own tissue from another part of the body is used to form a new breast.

Oncoplastic Surgery

Most women who have a lumpectomy or breast conservation surgery might end up with breast deformity as a result of the surgery hence oncoplastic surgery is done either at the time of the initial surgery or after completion of treatment.

It is a drug treatment used to destroy cancer cells. If there is a scope of reoccurrence of cancer, then the doctor might prescribe chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells. Sometimes, doctors might choose to administer chemotherapy prior to surgery to shrink the tumor and remove it easily.

In this therapy, high-powered radiation is used to target and kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is done after the surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells that might be left after the surgery is done.

Targeted therapy uses drugs to target specific genes and proteins that lead to the growth of cancer cells. This treatment can affect the tissue environment that enhances the growth and survival of cells that are related to cancer growth like blood vessel cells.

If your breast cancer is sensitive to hormones, then this treatment is carried out by doctors. This therapy works by blocking your body’s production of hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone). This treatment is carried out to prevent hormone-sensitive breast cancers from returning after treatment.

The typical approach of doctors to treat breast cancer

Sequence of treatment

  1. Early Disease: The sequence of the treatment if someone has an early disease. Surgery is followed by Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy and in some cases, hormone therapy is required.
  2. Locally Advanced disease: Neo Adjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery then radiation therapy and in some cases hormone therapy is required.
  3. Metastatic disease
    1. Single Metastasis/ oligomers: Treatment is the same as a locally advanced disease with extra radiation to the metastasis site.
    2. Multiple metastases: Palliative chemotherapy is given with hormone therapy with radiation therapy.
Breast-Cancer-Treatment-in-india

Survival Rate

Survival rate of breast cancer in India

The survival rate depends on different stages of cancer in women. The 5-year survival rate for local breast cancer (Stage IA, Stage IIA & Stage IIB) is 99%. The 5-year survival rate for regional breast cancer (Stage IB, Stage IIA, Stage IIB and all Stage III) is 86%. The 5-year survival rate for distant breast cancer (stage 4) is very low.

Treatment cost

Treatment cost in India

Breast Cancer treatment cost in India

The cost of undergoing breast cancer treatment in India is relatively much less compared to the US, UK, or Thailand. The affordability in cost comes with technological advancement and superior comprehensive surgical care which is at par with the international standards.

A medical evaluation is done to determine the site, size, and spread of cancer. The cost of cancer evaluation starts from 500 USD (37858 INR).

Based on the evaluation, the onco-surgeon will be able to comment on the patient’s treatment plan. The cost for breast cancer treatment in India starts from 2200 USD (166578 INR).

The onco-surgeon would suggest either simple, radical, or modified radical mastectomy based on the spread of the cancer cells. For a complete cure, the surgeon may also suggest chemotherapy and radiation therapy along with surgery based on the patient’s condition. The cost of chemotherapy ranges from 500 to 1000 USD / cycle (37858 to 75717 INR).

However, the cost depends upon multiple factors including stage, treatment, protocol, age, and associated comorbidities. You should treat this cost as an indicative cost.

To know, what would be cost in your case, you may like to get in touch with us and we can advise tentative cost and treatment plan.

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Get in touch with us and we can advise tentative cost and treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

Is Breast Cancer curable?

Breast cancer cannot always be cured but can be treated. Early detection of cancerous cells and tumors is more likely to be cured after treatment. After a patient has been free of symptoms for 5 years or more than some oncologists consider their patient as cured. However, there are chances of some cancer cells that may stay in the body for many years even after treatment.

How to check Breast Cancer at home?

It is also called breast cancer self-examination where women can check their breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, hardened knot, or any other changes. Look for any swelling, changes in the nipples like any sores, peeling, or change in their direction. Check your nipples for fluid discharge.

How to cure Breast Cancer without surgery?

Cryoablation is an alternative to surgery of breast cancer that uses a needle-like probe to freeze and eradicate the tumor. But it only replaces surgery and does not negate the need for radiation or chemical treatments. The non-surgery plan is open only to women with certain types of breast cancers that respond to drug treatment.

How to prevent Breast Cancer naturally?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be Physically active
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid contraceptive pills especially after age 35
  • Breast Feed

How many chemo treatments for Breast Cancer?

The course of treatment usually takes between 3 to 6 months. You might have sessions every 2 to 4 weeks. After each set of treatments, you have a break to allow your body to recover. Each session is known as a cycle, and you may have up to 8 cycles of chemotherapy.

How to diagnose Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer can be diagnosed through multiple tests that include:

  • Diagnostic mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Biopsy

How to cure Breast Cancer with food?

Research suggests that these foods may lower the risk of breast cancer:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fatty Fish
  • Berries
  • Fermented Foods
  • Allium vegetables
  • Peaches, apples, and pears
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Beans
  • Herbs and spices

How many radiotherapy sessions for Breast Cancer?

Radiotherapy is typically given daily for 5 to 6 weeks. Most people have 5 therapies each week, one treatment a day from Monday through Friday with a break at the weekend.

How common is Breast Cancer in men?

Men too have breast tissue like women do, but there are very rare cases of breast cancer that may develop in them. About 1 out of 100 men are diagnosed with breast cancers.

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