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The Cost of Diagnosing and Treating Breast Cancer in India

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The Cost of Diagnosing and Treating Breast Cancer in India

Breast cancer is a leading cause of illness and mortality in women. It occurs due to the uncontrolled growth of breast cells. In addition, the disease leads to huge medical expenses, which affects the patient and her family. However, it can be treated using various methods including surgery like breast conservation, radial rejections, and different reconstructions using sentinel lymph node methods. Here is an overview of the diagnosis and the cost of breast cancer treatment in India.

Breast cancer diagnosis

There are various tests and approaches used to diagnose breast cancer. They include the following:

Breast exam: The physician will check your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit to feel any lumps or other abnormalities.

Mammogram: It is an x-ray of the breast. The test is used to screen for breast cancer. If a healthcare provider notices an abnormality on the screening, they may suggest a diagnostic mammogram to assess the abnormality further.

Breast ultrasound: Ultrasound utilizes sound waves to create images of in-depth structures in the body. In breast cancer diagnosis, they determine whether a lump on the breast is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.

Biopsy {Removing of a sample of breast cells for testing}

A biopsy is the surest way to diagnose breast cancer. During a biopsy, the physician uses a unique needle guided by an x-ray or different imaging tests to extract a core tissue from the area of interest. In most cases, a small metal marker is left at a spot in the breast to make it easier to identify the area for future imaging tests.

The samples are sent to the lab for analysis by the experts to determine if the cells are cancerous. The samples are analyzed to determine:

  • The type of cells involved
  • The hostility of the cancer
  • if the cancer cells have hormone receptors or not as it may influence treatment options.
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Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The machine uses a magnet and radio wave to create images of the insides of the breasts. Before a breast MRI is done, you get an injection of dye. MRI is different from other imaging tests as it does not use radiation to create the pictures.

However, your doctor might use other tests and techniques depending on your situation.

Breast cancer staging

Once the physician has diagnosed your breast cancer, they then work to know the cancer stage. It helps determine your prognosis and the best treatment options. The physicians use the following tests and procedures to stage cancer.

  • Blood tests
  • Mammogram
  • Breast MRI
  • Bone scan
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)

Not everyone needs these tests and procedures. The physician picks the tests depending on a person’s specific circumstances and looks at new symptoms you might be experiencing. 

There are various breast cancer stages ranging from 0 to 4. 0 shows noninvasive cancer restricted to within the milk ducts. Stage 4 cancer, also known as metastatic breast cancer, shows cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

When physicians do cancer staging, they also consider:

  • Presence of tumor markers such as estrogen receptors progesterone and HER2 and proliferation factors. 
  • Treatment
  • The physician determines the breast cancer treatment depending on:
  • The stage and grade
  • Size
  • Sensitivity of the cancer cells to hormones
  • General health and your preferences

In most cases, women receive surgery and other additional treatments after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation. However, chemotherapy can be used before surgery sometimes.

There are various breast cancer treatments, and they include:

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Breast cancer surgery

Some of the operations used to treat breast cancer include;

Lumpectomy (removing breast cancer) – it’s also known as breast-conserving surgery. The surgeon eliminates the tumor and a small margin of surrounding tissues during the procedure.

It is best for removing small tumors. However, those with bigger tumors may need chemotherapy before the surgery to shrink them.

Mastectomy (removal of the entire breast)- it’s a procedure to remove all your breast tissue. This process removes all breast tissue, the lobules, fatty tissue, ducts, and some skin, including the nipple and areola.

Removing both breasts (contralateral prophylactic mastectomy)

Radiation therapy– uses high power beams of energy such as x-ray and proton to kill cancer cells 

Chemotherapy is a treatment technique that uses drugs to destroy fast-growing cancer cells. It is recommended if your cancer has a high chance of recurring.

Hormone therapy is a form of cancer treatment for breast cancer sensitive to hormones. Medications used in this form of treatment:

  • Medicine to block hormones from attaching to cancer cells
  • Medicine that stops the body from producing estrogen after menopause

Immunotherapy– uses the immune system to fight cancer.

Targeted therapy drugs- these drugs attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells.

What is the cost of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in India?

The cost of breast cancer treatment in India depends on the hospital, treatment option, and the patient’s preference. Different hospitals have varying rates for these services, so it’s best to contact them and get a breakdown of the expenses.

Breast cancer affects millions of women globally. Visit Max Hospital for the tests to confirm your diagnosis and consult their team of expert oncologists for the treatment plan.

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