Breast cancer – Diagnosis and treatment

In 2020, more than two lakh women in India were estimated to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As per the 2020 National Cancer Registry Program Report, the number is expected to rise to more than 2.3 lakh cases in 2025. Let’s get a deeper knowledge of breast cancer from experts.

Dr. Rahul Kulkarni is a renowned Medical Oncologist and Haematologist in Pune and currently practicing at Sahyadri Hospital, Pune. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a Medical Oncologist.

Breast cancer

Dr. Rahul begins, “Cancer is the abnormal growth of a cell that forms into lumps. Some cancers have got a presentation in the form of a lump, although not necessarily present in all cancer types. Cancers that generally present as a lump are breast cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, or nasopharyngeal cancer. Not all lumps are cancer, many of them are benign (non-cancerous). Only those which have the potential to invade or spread to other body parts develop into cancer.

Abnormal cell growth of ducts or lobules occurs in breast cancer.”

Causes of breast cancer

Non - Modifiable risk factors

  • Age – The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed after the age of 50.
  • Gender – More common in females.
  • Family history – A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases if she has a family member on either her mother’s or father’s side who has had breast cancer. 
  • Personal history – Women who have had any kind of cancer earlier or have gone through radiation are more likely to get breast cancer. 
  • Menstrual history – Women with early menarche and late menopause have higher chances of developing breast cancer. 

Non-modifiable risk factors

  • Bad habits – Alcohol and smoking
  • Obesity – Sedentary unhealthy lifestyle
  • Post-menopausal hormonal replacement therapy – Excessive consumption of oral contraceptives 
  • Late marriages and late pregnancy
  • Avoiding breastfeeding

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

  • Lump in the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Redness or flaky skin on the nipple or breast area
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast

In 2020, more than two lakh women in India were estimated to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As per the 2020 National Cancer Registry Program Report, the number is expected to rise to more than 2.3 lakh cases in 2025. 

Stages of breast cancer

It has 4 stages-

Stage I – Cancer cells are limited to the breast and the size of the lumps is also very small.

Stage II - Cancer cells are limited to the breast and the size of the lump has increased to 2-5 cm.

Stage III – Cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes. 

Stage IV - Cancer cells have spread to nearby and distant lymph nodes as well as distant organs.

Early detection is very important for complete treatment.


Stage I, II, and III of breast cancer can get cured. Here cure means minimizing the chances of recurrent breast cancer.

Stage I – 90-85% 

Stage II – 80-85%

Stage III – 60-75%

Stage IV – With advanced techniques, patients can live a quality life. 

Treatment of breast cancer widely depends on the stages and severity of the condition. Early diagnosis and timely treatment aid in getting positive outcomes.

Treatment of breast cancer by a Medical Oncologist

First, a doctor examines and performs various tests like mammography and biopsy to verify the type of cancer, and then the patient undergoes different scans to determine the stage. Once the stage is out, treatment is planned according to it. The role of a medical oncologist starts with the diagnosis and executing the treatment plan. If the patient is in the first stage, she is referred to the surgeon for surgery, and then radiation or chemo is given. If the patient is in stages II or III, chemotherapy is given first to minimize the lump size so that surgery is performed well. 


1. Are only women affected by breast cancer?

No, incidences of breast cancer in males also occur however it is more prevalent in females.

2. Is breast cancer genetic?

15-20% of breast cancer cases are genetic. These are mostly seen in triple-negative breast cancers.

3. Does breast cancer always cause a lump?

It is one of the common symptoms, but there are other symptoms also. If you see any of the above-listed symptoms or changes in your breast, do contact your doctor immediately. 

(Edited by Renu Gupta)


Contributed By: Dr. Rahul Kulkarni, Medical Oncologist, Sahyadri Hospital
Tags : #Healthcare-trending-topics #Breastcancer #DrRahulKulkarni #SahyadriHospital #Breastcancerscreening #Mammography #Breastcancersymptoms #Breastcancerexamination #Breastcancerstages #Breastcancertreatment #Nippledischarge #Lumpinthebreast #Radiation #cancer #Chemotherapy #Cancersurgery #Medicircle #SmitaKumar

About the Author

Renu Gupta

With a background in Pharmacy which is the clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry, I had the desire to mix creativity to these fields. Medicircle provides me an avenue to apply my training in science and interest in creativity together.

View Profile

Related Stories

Loading Please wait...


Trending Now

Seminar on RERA: Concerns in Real Estate heldDecember 09, 2023
Commonwealth youth leaders want action, not just rhetoric at COP28December 09, 2023
South India’s biggest Gaushala, Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gau Nivas to conduct Annakut Celebrations on Sunday on the eve of its 23rd AnniversaryDecember 08, 2023
Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine Introduces Groundbreaking Service – Preliminary Clinical and Technical Testing for Medical SoftwareDecember 08, 2023
FTCCI to hold a Seminar on RERA: Concerns in Real EstateDecember 08, 2023
Adoption of Public Health Strategies and Early Detection Key for Cancer Mitigation: ExpertsDecember 08, 2023
Are online spaces safe for women?December 08, 2023
Prescribing Equality: Tackling Gender Disparities in India's Healthcare LeadershipDecember 07, 2023
Digitalizing Health: Generative AI's Impact Amplified by AWS Cloud in IndiaDecember 07, 2023
Eyes on the Future: Dr. Agarwal's Group Channels Rs 100 Crore for Cutting-edge Eye Hospitals Across KeralaDecember 06, 2023
Organ Transplant Scandal: Apollo Hospital Faces Government InquiryDecember 06, 2023
Breaking Barriers in Cancer Treatment: Max Healthcare's CAR-T Therapy PartnershipDecember 06, 2023
Exploring the Link Between Covid-19 Vaccination and Sudden Cardiac Arrests: ICMR StudyNovember 22, 2023
Powering the Future: China's Biodegradable Wireless System for Bioelectronic InnovationNovember 22, 2023
IMS BHU Pioneers Advanced Cardiac Care: Unveiling Cutting-Edge Technologies for Precise DiagnosisNovember 18, 2023
Inito's $6 Million Boost: Transforming Women's Health with AI-Backed Fertility MonitoringNovember 18, 2023
Madras High Court Advocates for Equality: PG Medical Students to Receive Incentive Marks for COVID-19 DutyNovember 18, 2023
Next-Gen Healthcare: CarePods and AI Redefine the Patient ExperienceNovember 17, 2023
Air Quality Crisis: Alarming Rise in Premature Births Linked to Air Quality in Begusarai, BiharNovember 17, 2023
Limerick Contest-2023: A Celebration of Wit and PoetryNovember 17, 2023