Breast cancer is one of the conditions which affects about 3 out of 10 women in US. A colossal number of approximately 40 000 women are exposed to death in the next year because of breast cancer. Cancer is defined, in general, as a disease that makes healthy cells grow abnormally, in an uncontrolled manner, causing damage to the human body. Yet, breast cancer is the most common type in women, although lung cancer remains the leading cause of death in both women and men. Contrary to the widespread belief, men can develop breast cancer too.
As mentioned below, all types of cancer cause a change in the way the human body’s cells grow. In breast cancer, these cells grow on the edge of the lobules of breast tissue. It is classified according to the microscopic appearance of the cells involved. Each stage indicates the spread of cancer in the breast tissue. Not only the breast tissue can be affected, but also the neighboring tissue and the other organs. Specialists are the only ones who can determine the stage of breast cancer with information provided by specific tests, such as the axillary lymph node, biopsy, blood tests, bone scintigraphy or even simple radiographs. Identifying the stage of cancer present is one of the most important factors which will influence the treatment decided later on. This is the reason why it is so important checking up regularly.
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. See below a list with the risk of each category of people:
Other factors that could influence the apparition of breast cancer:
See below a series of symptoms of multiple breast damage that require a person to consult a specialist in order to check if everything is alright. If a patient is experiencing any of the breast cancer symptoms mentioned below, a medical check-up is required.
What kind of doctors one can consult to find out if there is anything wrong with the breast tissue?
What one should know about breast cancer diagnosis – subsequent tests
Further examinations often include:
Approximately 25% of all women with breast cancer experience a type of overexpression of the protein that stimulates the growth of cancer cells. When a doctor suspects a metastatic breast cancer type may recommend even more additional tests that include computer tomography (detailed images of organs and structures in the chest, abdomen or pelvis), a bone scintigraphy where bone metastases are identified or a CT for any cerebral metastases present. Women who experienced breast cancer in the past are at increased risk of developing a new type of cancer or a recurrent/metastatic breast cancer. For non-recurrence safety, seeing a doctor regularly and including physical examinations and mammography in the periodical medical check-up is a must. If a woman who has been treated for breast cancer develops unusual changes in the respective area, urgent medical attention is recommended.
There are several types of breast cancer treatment that can be taken into account. Here is a list of them:
The treatment for breast cancer is usually surgical, medical or involved radiotherapy. The decision regarding the breast cancer treatment that is going to be followed is based on a combination of different factors that include specific information about the cancer type, the patient’s preferences and requirements, considering the patient’s health status in the respective moment. When deciding on the method of treatment for breast cancer, a doctor should consider the following:
Many women who experience breast cancer require complete removal of the affected breast. It may be necessary to totally or partially remove the axillary lymph nodules. Even if the entire affected intraoperative area is extirpated, radiotherapy will be required. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy can be a solution when nothing else works. Reducing the size of the existent cancer is recommended before the actual surgery and these methods are called neoadjuvant therapies.
In the latest diagnosis of breast cancer, women experience a variety of feelings. Most of them will go through feelings of denial, anger and fear. Each woman reacts differently to this diagnosis and there is no typical reaction involved. Of course, there is a variety of methods to help women who find themselves in this situation. Discussing with family and friends about the type of breast cancer treatment desired is essential in the first place. If emotions interfere with the ability to make decisions about their health, discussing with someone who knows each detail about this subject is paramount. Cancer treatment centers can provide various psychological services too.
A woman affected by breast cancer needs to make a decision: mastectomy, breast nodules removal, breast preservation, dissecting the axillary lymph nodes, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy etc. The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the chemotherapeutic drug administered. In the same time, the side effects of a drug vary from patient to patient. The hormone therapy which includes tamoxifen may increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Because of this reason, an annual pelvic exam is highly recommended.
After choosing the type of breast cancer initial treatment, regular checkups are recommended. Someone suffering from breast cancer should see a doctor, general practitioner, oncologist, radiotherapist or surgeon (depending on the health status of each patient) more often than before. The length between regular controls will gradually increase after the initial treatment phase. The follow-up with patients who have been treated for breast cancer often includes:
If signs of recurrence occur, the patient needs to run additional tests (blood tests, radiographies, computed topographies, MRIs etc.). If mammalian cells have estrogenic/progesterone receptors, then tamoxifen or other kinds of hormonal preparations are recommended. Women who reached menopause may need to administer aromatase inhibitors as well.
Even though the entire affected intraoperative area is extirpated and radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy are all combined, the possibility of recurrence in breast cancer after a treatment is possible. It depends on a large number of factors, including the size and stage of breast cancer, the presence of cancer cells in the axillary lymph nodes or an unusual response to the chosen treatment.