Breast disorders represent a significant health concern to women more predominantly for older women. Nearly every women experience certain types of cystic or fibrocystic changes in her breasts. Whether it is benign or malignant intense feelings of shock, fear and denial often accompany the initial identification of a breast problem. Nursing care is the most important key role in the prognosis of the patient preoperative and the post-operative period.

Breast cancer is the formation of lump as the cells in the breast region grows out of control. The tumor will be malignant if the cells out grow and invade the adjacent tissues and spread over the other areas. It is one of the common types of cancer that targets women and cause for number of women deaths across the world.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer:
  • Mass or thickened breast tissue that becomes visible
  • Size change either in one or two breast
  • Swelling in the armpit region
  • Occurring of rashes in and around the nipple region
  • Formation of dimples in the breast skin
  • The nipple part becomes sunken and looks odd
  • Discharge of fluid with or without blood from the nipples
Types of breast cancer:

There are mainly two types of breast cancer and are:

  • Non-invasive breast cancer:– In this type, the lump is restricted to the ducts of the breast and does not have the ability to spread outside. The lump is usually found in the mammogram and ductal carcinoma is the example of non invasive type.
  • Invasive breast cancer: – The tumor found has the ability to spread outside the ducts and hence is called as Invasive breast cancer. The common form of this type of cancer is invasive ductal cancer which occurs in the cells that line the ducts and it accounts for about 80% of the cases.
  • Invasive lobular breast cancer – which the cells that line the milk producing lobules are targeted.
Causes of breast cancer:
  • Agewomen who are above 50yrs have greater risk of developing breast cancer and also women who have attained their menopause have greater chances.
  • Family history those who have their close relatives suffered from breast cancer or ovarian cancer have higher chances of getting breast cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed earlier with breast cancer or non-invasive breast cancer then you have possibility to develop the invasive type.
  • If you have high breast density then there is possible chance of developing breast cancer this is because the breast cells are dense which can become cancerous.
  • Exposure to increased estrogen hormones will stimulate the breast cancerous cells and make them to grow rapidly.
  • If you have attained menopause and have become obese then you have increased chances to develop breast cancer because more amount of estrogen will be formed after menopause.
  • If you are taller than the normal range then you have a possibility to develop breast cancer and the exact reason for this is unknown.
  • Consuming increased amount of alcohol will lead to breast cancer.
  • Exposure to radiations such as X-rays and CT scans make to increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • Those who undergo hormone replacement therapy have a slight risk of breast cancer.
Stages of breast cancer:

The stages are rated from scale of 0 to IV in which 0 describes the non invasive cancer and IV describes the invasive one.

Stage 0:

It explains the non invasive cancer mainly ductal carcinoma in situ. There is no indication of cancer cells or abnormal cells.

Stage 1:

It explains the invasive breast cancer in which the cancer cells have just started invading the adjacent tissues mainly the cells that line the ducts or lobules.

Stage 2:

The tumor is about 2cm but not larger than 5cm and cancer cells are found in little area in the lymph nodes.

Stage 3:

The tumor is more than 5cm and the cancer cells are found in the lymph glands under the arm or the lymph glands near the breast bone.

Stage 4:

The tumor will be any size and the lymph nodes may or may not have malignant cells. The cancer cells have metastasized and spread to other organs such as lungs, liver, bones and brain.

Treatment for breast cancer:

The treatment plan varies to each individual and it depends on the following factors,

  • The stage of the tumor
  • The site in which the tumor is located.
  • Age of patient.
  • General health of the patient.
  • The patients menopausal status.

It is the first line of treatment against breast cancer. There are several options which are,

  • Lumpectomy: It is the breast conserving surgery in which only the tumor and the surrounding tissues are removed.
  • Mastectomy: All of the breast tissue is removed.
  • Lymph node dissection: If the cancer has spread outside of the milk duct areas then the axillary lymph node are excised along with lumpectomy or mastectomy.
  • Breast reconstruction: The breast is reconstructed to regain its shape usually after mastectomy or sometimes after lumpectomy.


It is one of the effective ways to eliminate cancer cells. It is called as ‘Systemic therapy’ which uses combination of drugs to kill the cancer cells from its origin and also to the parts where it has spread. The medication goes along the blood stream and hence affects the whole body.

Radiation therapy:

This treatment mode is usually applied after the surgery and is very effective in remaining killing cancer cells. High energy waves are used to kill the cancer cells and are done by the radiation oncologist.

Hormonal therapy:

It is used mainly in hormonal receptor positive breast cancer patients as it lowers the amount of estrogen level in the body and also inhibits its action on the breast cancer cells.


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