The female breast is made up mainly of:
Ducts (tiny tubes that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipple)
Breast cancer is a group of cancer cells or malignant tumour that has developed from the cells in the breast. These cancer cells have grown into the surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. It usually starts in the cells of the lobules (the milk-producing glands) or the ducts (the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple).
In other cases, this type of cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which are the fibrous and fatty connective tissues of the breast.
* People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor.
In the early stages of breast cancer, there is usually no pain or symptoms at all. Breast cancer may cause any of the following signs and symptoms:
* The chart below states the recommended guidelines for breast screening.
Source: Health Promotion Board
Like other cancer types, regular screening can detect breast cancer early — when it is likely to be curable. In addition, breast cancer, as doctors often say, is sometimes found right after the symptoms appear, but many of those with early cancer have no symptoms. This is why getting the following recommended screening tests is important:
Listed below are the main types of treatment:
Surgery is the most common form of treatment for the disease. During the procedure, a surgeon removes the tumour and other affected areas. Surgical options may include the following:
This uses a combination of drugs to either destroy the cancer cells or slow down their ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy is often prescribed by a medical oncologist.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy X-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. The most common type of radiation therapy is the external beam radiation therapy, wherein radiation is emitted from a machine outside the body.
If you choose hormone therapy, the doctor may prescribe hormone therapy drugs. These drugs destroy cancer cells by limiting their hormone supply.
Here at NCIS, we adopt a comprehensive and holistic three-prong Total Breast Cancer Care approach in managing patients who have been afflicted with breast cancer. Under the Total Breast Cancer Care approach, emphasis is centered on the patient with clinical, research and educational initiatives focused on them. Current treatment is optimised, value-added resources are provided and there is increased access to new drugs to counter patient relapse. Furthermore, continuous research is conducted to seek out new treatments alongside patient education to guide patients through their journey with breast cancer.
Breast cancer presentation varies widely between patients, some presenting with early, curative disease (Stage 0) and others with late disease. It is essential that all patients are properly staged and the appropriate treatment planned. At NCIS, we work as a multidisciplinary team – surgeons and oncologists together with radiologists and pathologists so that a diagnosis is obtained and treatment started in a timely manner. The treatment for every patient is discussed at regular weekly meetings by the whole team and the best option is chosen for each individual.
In a patient's journey through this – there are many specialists involved and part of the problem may be navigating different clinic locations. Here at NCIS, all specialists involved in breast cancer care have been housed in one convenient location (Levels 8-10 Medical Centre).
Breast cancer treatment has improved tremendously in the past two decades, and this is due to active research in the disease. All specialists on the team are engaged in research covering all aspects of breast cancer care and treatment– and patients are regularly invited to participate in research activities to increase our understanding of the disease, its behavior and how we can improve treatment responses.
A diagnosis of cancer is always overwhelming – more so for breast cancer as women have to accept changes in physical appearance as well.
To provide our patients with a relatable support system to ease them through their journey with the illness, we offer the following support services and functions:
Complete breast cancer treatment is the coordinated effort
of four specialist teams involved in diagnosis (Surgeons & Radiologists)
and treatment (Surgeons & Oncologists).
Our Breast Imaging Centre, located behind the Breast Care
Centre is helmed by Associate Professor Quek Swee Tian with a team of dedicated
breast radiologists. We also have a team of seven breast surgeons, six medical
oncologists and two radiation oncologists.
Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery