Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women. Breast cancer develops due to the uncontrolled mutation of some breast cells. These cells divide and multiply more rapidly than healthy cells, creating a mass or lump.
The affected cells can metastasize (spread) from your breast and invade travel to your lymph nodes or other regions parts of your body. A renowned breast cancer surgeon in Mumbai, Dr. Garvit Chitkara, says that breast cancer if caught early with yearly clinical examination is potentially curable.
A common concern that many patients have is how soon do they need to start treatment. Some common questions that they have are:
“Can I wait a few months, or should I begin the very same day?”
“Can I delay chemotherapy or avoid it altogether and just do surgery?”
“Do I get operated tonight, or can I wait a couple of months till after a family function?”
It is pertinent for Oncologists to be updated with the latest evidence-based care available in order to provide personalised care, says Mumbai’s eminent breast oncologist, Dr. Garvit Chitkara.
Breast Cancer surgery is an important step in a patient’s comprehensive treatment plan. As per Dr. Garvit Chitkara, “The type of surgery that would be recommended will depend on the stage and type of breast cancer, as well as the individual patient’s preferences and overall well-being.”
Here is a quick look at the stages of breast cancer:
Stage 0 – There is a presence of cancer within the ducts; however, they have not breached the duct lining. (pre-cancerous stage)
Stage I – early stage where cancer has not spread beyond the breast.
Stage II – early stage where cancer is contained within the breast and neighboring lymph nodes.
Stage III – Locally Advanced cancer when the cancer still has not spread far beyond the breast and neighboring lymph nodes.
Stage IV – Cancer has spread elsewhere in the body-bones, brain, lungs, liver or other sites.
Lumpectomy/Breast Conservation surgery: This procedure entails removal of only the cancerous cells with a safe margin of normal tissues.
Oncoplasty: After Breast conservation surgery, in case of larger volume defects left behind in the breast once the tumour is removed. Oncoplastic Surgery can be performed to help preserve the breast shape, improve aesthetic outcomes for the patient and can be performed at the same time as the tumor is removed. With oncoplastic procedures, symmetry and other aesthetic issues are addressed to minimize both physical and emotional trauma that may arise during breast cancer treatment.
Oncoplastic Surgery to done may depend on the size of the defect after the tumour has been excised and may vary from simple breast mobilization to local flaps that may be rotated into the breast up till Latissimus dorsi muscle (back muscle) mobilization into the breast to fill larger defects.
Mastectomy: This is a procedure entails removal of the entire breast. It may be recommended for patients with multiple tumours in all quadrants of the breast or extensive disease or simply patients who are not keen on conservation.
Whole Breast Reconstruction: For those women who are unhappy with the idea of losing their breast and are suitable for an immediate breast reconstruction, can chose this option so that they wake up with a breast after surgery. A Plastic surgeon is involved in this case and utilizes the patient’s own tissues to create a breast form which closely matches the opposite breast, if required an artificial implant may also be used.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy: this procedure is done in early breast cancer. It entails removal of a few lymph nodes in the arm pit to confirm the spread of cancer cells. These are scientifically the first node that the cancer spreads to.
Axillary lymph node dissection: This procedure entails removal of all lymph nodes in the armpit area (axilla). It is often recommended for people with more advanced breast cancer to help determine if cancer has spread.
Cancer specialist Dr. Garvit Chitkara adds, “It is important to note that breast cancer treatment plans can vary widely, and the best course of treatment will depend on the individual patient’s needs. It is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare team to determine the best course of action for you.”
Dr. Garvit Chitkara says that the type of surgery offered to a patient depends on what the patient wants and the stage at presentation.
The most reliable way to determine how delays affect breast cancer outcomes should, in theory, be through tumor growth and cellular division. The time it takes for cells to multiply or the tumor doubling time should help identify whether a prolonged interval is harmful. Unfortunately, tumor doubling times vary, which makes accurate prognosis more challenging.
Breast cancer specialist, Dr. Garvit Chitkara, explains that breast cancer surgery is not an emergency that needs to be done the very same day. But it must be addressed urgently.
There is no single conclusive information or data about the time of surgery to survival ratio. But it is certain that one must not delay treatment significantly from the time of diagnosis.
A JAMA Oncology study in 2013 of over 9,000 young women discovered the following 5-year survival rates:
If you are concerned about a lump you detected during a breast self-examination, please do not hesitate to consult with the prominent breast oncologist in Mumbai, Dr. Garvit Chitkara, for an expert diagnosis and reliable treatment options.
Do not panic or rush
Avoid treating cancer as an “emergency.” You may want to reduce your anxiety by having your cancer removed immediately; however, “rushing” to surgery will not increase your chances of beating breast cancer or preventing a recurrence.
Educating yourself on all the treatment options available to you is crucial to prevent making rash choices. Sometimes this entails finishing chemotherapy before surgery.
Dr. Garvit Chitkara always discusses these options with his patients to help them make the best decision that is suitable to them. Dr. Chitkara is among the preferred breast cancer specialist for people seeking breast cancer surgery in Mumbai.
Consider getting a 2nd opinion
One of the most crucial decisions you must make in your battle against breast cancer is finding a highly skilled surgeon to treat your condition. This choice will have a significant impact on how you deal with your cancer diagnosis emotionally, as well as the kind of therapies you are given, the outcome of breast cancer surgery, and the side effects you may experience in the future.
With the aid of second opinions, you might find safer or better suited solutions that were not presented to you in your first consultation. Do not be embarrassed to seek a second opinion. You have the right to as a patient.
Set realistic expectations
What you can anticipate from treatment can be estimated by your doctor. What side effects you are willing to endure will depend on the potential benefits of the treatment. Let your doctor know your preferences.
Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women. But remember, breast cancer can also occur in males.
Breast cancer treatment delays have been a problem for more than a century, and current quality standards are starting to take this into account.
Thanks to significant investment in research and awareness campaigns, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have advanced. With early detection, an innovative customized perspective to therapy, and a better understanding and knowledge of the disease, survival rates in breast cancer have improved, and the number of fatalities linked to the early diagnosis of the disease is rapidly reducing.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, please do not delay consulting an experienced breast cancer specialist like Dr. Garvit Chitkara for a correct diagnosis and the best treatment options.