DOCTOR-SPEAK—Breast Cancer, Dr Gautam Goyal

Dr Gautam Goyal

Dr Gautam Goyal MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Medical Oncology), ECMO, ACORD (Aus)
Editor in chief, Section – International Data – Lung Cancer Consortium Asia
Consultant, Medical Oncologist and Hemato-Oncologist
Max Super Specialty Hospital, Mohali, Punjab
Is Breast cancer hereditary? If in a family one lady has Breast cancer, what are the chances of her siblings or daughters to have it? Is it preventable?

Breast cancer is usually not hereditary. Only one in twenty breast cancer is hereditary in nature. If the age of lady is more than 60 years, then the chances of breast cancer for her siblings or daughters is equal to that of general public. There is no added risk. It is preventable only in heredity cases with BRCA mutation positive. Bilateral breast removal is the prevention strategy.

How is Breast cancer diagnosed? What are its symptoms? Is screening of general population advised, if yes, at what age?

Most common symptoms are breast lump, change in shape or size of breast or the nipple. Changes of skin of breast, nipple discharge, swellings in axilla are other symptoms. Breast cancer is diagnosed by clinical examination, Mammography and FNAC or biopsy of the breast lump. Screening is advised in women more than 50 years of age. It is clinical examination and mammography.

Can Breast cancer occur in males too?

Yes, we do see patients with male breast cancer.

What, in your opinion, is the best treatment approach for a patient diagnosed with Breast cancer? What is the total expenditure involved?

The treatment depends upon whether the cancer is localized to breast and axilla only or had spread to other parts of body. In localized breast cancer, main treatment is surgery. This may be preceded or followed by chemotherapy. It is then followed by radiotherapy. In some cases, we do give hormonal therapy for 5 – 10 years. In cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, the main treatment is chemotherapy in most of the cases. The cost of treatment depends upon the stage of cancer, type of breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. In today’s world of personalized treatment, we cannot generalize the treatment for all breast cancer patients. Hence, the expenditure will be different from patient to patient.

Is Breast cancer completely curable? Does stem cell or gene therapy have any role here? If yes, where can it be done and what is the cost involved?

Yes, the breast cancer is completely curable. Stem cell or gene therapy is still in developmental stage. It is not advised in breast cancer at present.

Can Breast reconstruction be done in patients who have undergone surgery?

Yes, breast reconstruction can be done in patients after breast surgery.

What is the one advice that you would like to give to the patients suffering from Breast cancer?

Don’t hide. Just fight and win.



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