What is malignant phyllodes tumour that Rinky Chakma suffered from? | Health - Hindustan Times

What is malignant phyllodes tumour, aggressive form of breast cancer Miss India Tripura Rinky Chakma suffered from?

By, New Delhi
Mar 01, 2024 03:47 PM IST

Miss India Tripura Rinky Chakma has died at the age of 28 due to Phyllodes tumour. An aggressive form of breast cancer, it is common in young women.

Rinky Chakma, the former Miss India Tripura 2017 has passed away at the young age of 28 after her prolonged battle with malignant phyllodes tumour, an aggressive form of breast cancer. The former beauty queen fought bravely with the rare form of cancer for two years but succumbed to the disease as the cancer metastasized to her lungs, progressing to her head and causing brain tumour. She was put on ventilator support after she was hospitalised in a critical state on February 22 as one of her lungs almost stopped functioning. (Also read: Cat Janice, viral TikTok singer dies of rare sarcoma cancer at 31; all about the condition)

What is malignant phyllodes tumour? Rinky Chakma, the former Miss India Tripura 2017 has died at the age of 28 after battling an aggressive form of breast cancer.(Instagram/Rinkychakma_official)
What is malignant phyllodes tumour? Rinky Chakma, the former Miss India Tripura 2017 has died at the age of 28 after battling an aggressive form of breast cancer.(Instagram/Rinkychakma_official)

What is malignant phyllodes?

Phyllodes tumour can develop at any age but is more common in women over 40. According to breastcancer.org, women with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare inherited condition that may cause a higher risk of a number of cancers, including breast cancer, have a higher risk of developing phyllodes tumours.

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Cancerous phyllodes tumours are a form of breast cancer, but are very different from invasive ductal carcinoma, cancer that starts in the milk ducts.

"Malignant Phyllodes Tumor (MPT) is an uncommon and aggressive breast tumor that arises from the stromal tissue. Its rarity poses challenges in both diagnosis and management. Distinguished by leaf-like projections within the tumour mass, MPTs tend to exhibit larger sizes compared to benign phyllodes tumours and carry the potential for aggressive behaviour, leading to local recurrence and distant metastasis," says Dr Kanuj Malik, Sr. Consultant in Department of Surgical Oncology, Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital, Noida Extension.

“Malignant (Cancerous) phyllodes tumors are rare and develop in the stroma, the connective tissue of the breast. A lump in the breast is the most common symptom of a phyllodes tumor. The skin above your breast may become heated and discolored, as well as turn red. You should not overlook phyllodes tumor whether it is a non-cancerous or cancerous tumor as it tends to spread fairly quickly and stretch the skin. Phyllodes tumors may be very small or very large in size from 1 centimeter to 45 centimeters. In some cases, patients can feel pain in the lump,” says Dr. Alok Tiwari, Clinical Director-Onco Surgery, Marengo Asia Hospitals Faridabad.

Who's at risk?

“Phyllodes tumours can affect women at any age, however most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 50 in women who have not been through the menopause. There is no known etiology for Phyllodes tumours. Women with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (a rare inherited condition) are more susceptible to develop a number of cancers, including breast cancer. They are also at greater risk of developing phyllodes tumours,” says Dr Tiwari.

Diagnosis of malignant phyllodes tumour

According to cancer.org, these tumours grow quite fast and can often stretch the skin. While most of the phyllodes tumours are usually firm and painless, some may hurt. Accurate diagnosis can be made through core needle biopsy. At times the entire tumour needs to be removed to know whether it's a phyllodes tumour.

Dr Malik shares how this tumour can be identified.

  • Clinical examination: A thorough physical examination, including breast palpation, is the first step in identifying suspicious masses.
  • Imaging studies: Mammography and ultrasound can provide initial insights, but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often more effective in evaluating the extent and characteristics of the tumour.
  • Biopsy: Core needle biopsy or surgical biopsy is essential for definitive diagnosis. MPTs are characterized by cellular stromal elements, increased mitotic activity, and infiltrative borders.

Treatment options for malignant phyllodes tumour

Dr Malik also shares all the treatment options that are used to treat malignant phyllodes tumour:

Surgery: The primary treatment for MPT is surgical excision. Wide local excision with clear margins is crucial to reduce the risk of local recurrence.

Adjuvant therapies: Radiation therapy may be considered postoperatively to reduce the risk of local recurrence. Chemotherapy is generally reserved for cases with distant metastasis.

Follow-up care: Regular monitoring is essential due to the potential for local recurrence. Imaging studies, including mammography and MRI, are employed during follow-up to detect any signs of recurrence.

Clinical trials: Participation in clinical trials may be considered for patients with recurrent or metastatic MPT, as novel therapeutic options are continually under investigation.

Connection between malignant phyllodes tumour (MPT) and breast cancer

The aggressive malignant phyllodes tumours can catch young women by surprise and grow rapidly increasing risk of mortality in them. It's important to recognise their unique characteristics for early diagnosis.

"While MPT can affect women across different age groups, it poses distinctive challenges, particularly in young women where breast cancer occurrences are less frequent. The aggressive behaviour of MPT, marked by rapid growth and the potential for local recurrence and distant metastasis, demands specialised diagnostic and treatment approaches. Recognising the unique characteristics of MPT in young women is crucial for early detection, tailored interventions, and comprehensive care, addressing the specific needs of this demographic within the broader spectrum of breast cancer," concludes Dr Malik.

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