Multifocal breast cancer is a type of cancer where multiple tumors arise in the same area of the breast. There are various kinds of breast cancer. A person who has received treatment for multifocal cancer has more than one invasive tumor in one single area of the breast.
Following are the different categories of breast cancer depending on their characteristics.
- Unifocal breast cancer:
Here, there is only one tumor in the breast.
- Multifocal breast cancer:
This is where more than one or at least two tumor develops in the same area or quadrant of the breast. All tumors arise from one original tumor.
- Multicentric breast cancer:
This is where at least two tumors develop in different areas of the breast.
Multifocal breast cancer is not necessarily more aggressive than a single tumor in cancer. Multifocal staging cancer depends on the characteristics of the largest tumor. There is more risk of large tumors spreading to the lymph nodes.
There are several hospitals providing the best treatment for breast cancer in India. The list includes Tata Memorial Hospital, Apollo Hospital, KIMS cancer center, AIIMS, and the list goes on.
How common is it?
Four to seventy-five percent of the breast tumors are multifocal or multicentric. There was a study involving 1158 people with cancer of stages 1,2,3 and found multifocal cancer in 11.3% of the people. The approximate cost for breast cancer treatment in India through a private practitioner would be 5-6 lakh including surgery, investigation and treatment plan. While the cost may further up to 20 lakh depending on factors such as the location of the hospital, stage of cancer, and such factors.
Other classification of breast cancer:
Most of the breast cancer are carcinomas meaning they grow in the cells that line the body tissues and body organs. It is either invasive or non-invasive.
- Non-invasive cancers are the ones that develop in the milk producing duct, lobules or glands and do not spread outside these areas.
- Invasive cancers are the one that grow beyond the ducts, lobules or glands and also spread to other breast areas and parts of the body.
How to stage multifocal breast cancer?
Staging of multifocal breast cancer depends on characteristics of the basic tumor and whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment and outlook plan also depends upon the stage of the cancer. There are five stages of cancer that indicate how far the tumor has spread. It ranges from stage 0 where the cancer hasn’t spread to the surrounding tissues to stage IV where the metastatic cancer has spread to the other parts of the body.
A doctor can determine the stage of the cancer by looking at the tumor, node and metastasis (TNM) factors. All these factors vary between individuals.
- Tumor (T): It’s the size and location of the tumor and whether or not it has spread to the surrounding tissue.
- Node (N): Whether or not the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes and how many lymph nodes are affected.
- Metastasis (M): Whether the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, where have they spread and how far are they from the original site.
The TNM system does not include whether the cancer is unifocal or multifocal.
Diagnosing multifocal breast cancer involves medical examination while in some cases medical procedures:
- Breast exam:
A medical practitioner will self examine the breast for lumps and changes in the breast area by touching.
Mammogram is a regular screening of the breast that captures images of the breast through X-ray. Then a specialist examines the X-rays to detect early signs of breast cancer.
Ultrasound is the creation of detailed images of the body’s internal; structures in real time.
- MRI scan:
Multifocal breast cancer is accurately detected through MRI scan rather than ultrasound and mammogram.
Biopsy is an invasive procedure where a small tissue is removed to test for any signs of the tumor.
The average cost for breast cancer treatment in India varies from $2000-7000 USD. The cost is based on the type of treatment and stage of cancer. The price is inclusive of the cost of diagnosis, investigation, treatment plans, and aftercare.
For multifocal breast cancer, relapse is a significant concern. Recurrence is the occurrence of cancer again after the treatment. Recurrence cancer can develop in the same place as the original tumor, or it may develop in a new place in the body.
There was a study conducted on 152 people with multifocal breast cancer. The research team has found no difference in relapse or mortality rates in the groups after 7 years.
The prognosis for someone with breast cancer will depend on the stage of its cancer. There is a survival of 5 years but women do live more than 5 years as well. Following is the parameter of 5-year survival rates.
- Stage 0 and 1 is close to 100%
- For 2 it’s 93%,
- stage 3 it’s 72% and the treatment is often successful.
- And For stage 4, the treatment is 22%
Overall survival rates for multifocal cancer depend on various other factors such as age, size of the tumor, overall health status, how cancer reacts to the treatment, and if cancer has spread beyond the original position.
The treatment varies person to person depending on a number of factors such as the stage of the cancer, whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and beyond.
Following are the treatment plan for multifocal breast cancer:
During the lumpectomy, the surgeon will try to remove the tumor while saving as many healthy cells as possible. This is very effective treatment if the cancer is only at a quadrant of the breast.
This is a surgical procedure where the entire breast and lymph nodes are removed. Unless the tumor is 2 inches or larger, doctors will usually suggest you to go for a lumpectomy procedure.
- Radiation therapy:
Radiation therapy is often suggested with a lumpectomy procedure. By removing cancerous cells through lumpectomy procedure, surgeons will use radiation therapy to destroy the remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy is an effective method to prevent relapse of the cancer.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to prevent cancer cells from multiplying. When treating multifocal cancer, chemotherapy may be used before or after the primary treatment.
At Max Hospital, you will get the best cancer treatment in India .
Treatment side effects:
Multifocal breast cancer treatment can significantly increase the survival rate of the person but also can cause side effects:
Following are the side effects of surgery that may occur by lumpectomy and mastectomy:
- Pain in the breast
- Swelling in the breast
- Change in the appearance of the breast
Following are the side effects of radiation therapy:
- Sore throat
- Tenderness in the breast
- Swelling in the breast
- Change in the appearance or shape of the breast
- Redness of the breast skin
- Peeling of the skin
Following are the side effects of chemotherapy treatment:
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Weak immune system
- Increased risk of infection
Multifocal breast cancer occurs when at least two invasive tumors are present in the same quadrant of the breast area. Although there are several treatment options available to treat multifocal breast cancer. The treatment options will vary from person to person depending on several other factors, so speak to your doctor about your preferences and concerns.