Breast Cancer: Prevention Tips, Common Spread Sites And Treatment Methods


Patient Education

Breast Cancer: Prevention Tips, Common Spread Sites And Treatment Methods

Breast cancer is a common type of cancer that starts in the cells of the breast. Many cases are diagnosed in Singapore each year. If not detected early, it can spread to other parts of the body. The disease is caused by abnormal cells growing uncontrollably in breast tissue.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer can help you take steps to lower your risk. Common risk factors include being female, getting older, having a personal or family history of breast cancer, inherited genes that heighten your risk of breast cancer, radiation exposure to your chest area, obesity, starting your period early, starting menopause late, not having children or having them later in life, postmenopausal hormone therapy and drinking alcohol.

Prevention tips:

To lower your risk, maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet, limit alcohol consumption, get screened regularly by doctors, and speak to oncology consultants in Singapore if you notice any changes in your breasts.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can have various symptoms, and it's important to be aware of them. Symptoms may include a lump or thickening in the breast that feels different from the surrounding tissue, changes in breast size, shape, or appearance, changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling, a nipple that is newly inverted, peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of the skin around the nipple or breast, and skin on the breast that looks like an orange peel with pits or redness. If you have any of these symptoms, it is crucial to speak to a reputable cancer specialist in Singapore such as OncoCare.

Common Spread Sites For Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, brain, and liver. However, it can also affect other parts of the body. This is why it is essential to detect cancer early by going for cancer screenings with a breast cancer specialist in Singapore.

Treatment Methods For Breast Cancer

There are several breast cancer treatments in Singapore, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.

1. Surgery

Breast cancer surgery is a common treatment option for breast cancer. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancerous tissue from the breast. The type of surgery recommended will depend on the size and stage of the tumour, as well as other factors such as the patient's age and overall health. Some of the surgical options for breast cancer include lumpectomy, where only the cancerous lump and surrounding tissue is removed, and mastectomy, which involves the removal of the entire breast. In some cases, breast reconstruction may be performed after a mastectomy to restore the breast's appearance. It's important to discuss the surgical options with a cancer doctor in Singapore to determine which option is best for you.

2. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill breast cancer cells. These drugs target the vulnerabilities of tumour cells compared to normal cells. Cancer cells need different mechanisms to grow faster, repair themselves, use certain nutritional pathways, increase blood flow, reduce cell death signals, and evade immunity. Chemotherapy and other anti-cancer therapies rely on these mechanisms to attack and kill cancer cells.

3. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy drugs use the body's immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. When used with chemotherapy, this drug class has been most effective in treating triple-negative breast cancers.

4. Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is a type of breast cancer treatment that uses drugs to target the hormones that stimulate the growth and spread of hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells. This type of cancer grows in response to hormones like oestrogen, which can cause cancer cells to multiply and spread rapidly. Hormone therapy works by blocking or reducing the production of oestrogen in the body, which starves the cancer cells and slows down their growth. Hormone therapy drugs are typically used in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, which means the cancer cells have receptors that bind to oestrogen and/or progesterone. By targeting these receptors, hormone therapy can stop the cancer cells from dividing and growing, and can even shrink the tumour. Hormone therapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, depending on the stage and type of breast cancer.

5. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) is a treatment that uses high-energy X-rays to treat breast cancer. It can also be used in advanced cancer to treat certain conditions such as bone pains or nerve compression in the spinal cord. Brain metastases from breast cancer may also need radiotherapy. The treatment is given over several weeks and avoids the main organs as far as possible. Focal radiation to selected tumour sites, called stereotactic radiotherapy, may be used in some situations to minimise side effects.

Why Go to a Breast Cancer Specialist for Screenings

If you are experiencing any breast cancer symptoms or have any risk factors, it is important to seek medical attention and get screened regularly. Early detection of cancer leads to a higher chance of successful treatment. A breast cancer specialist in Singapore like OncoCare can provide you with the best care and advice.

OncoCare is a leading cancer specialist in Singapore, providing comprehensive and compassionate care to patients with breast cancer. At OncoCare, we offer a range of screening tests and diagnostic services to detect breast cancer at an early stage. These tests include mammography, ultrasound, and breast MRI. We also have a team of experienced oncologists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals who work together to provide personalised treatment plans for each patient.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, OncoCare offers a range of treatment options, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. Our goal is to provide the best possible care and support to our patients, from diagnosis to survivorship. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

“Expert knowledge means better care for cancer”

Written by:

Dr Peter Ang

MBBS (Singapore)

M.Med (Singapore)

MRCP (United Kingdom)

FAMS (Medical Oncology)