Breast Cancer Prevention
What every woman should know about breast lump or breast cancer and what their options are. What type of treatment are availabe for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women and is the leading cause of death in
women between the ages of 40 and 55. There are about 180,000 new cases each year in the United
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are:
1. A lump in the breast, although, not all lumps are cancerous.
2. An unusual increase in the size of the one breast.
3. One breast unusually lower than the other.
4. A puckering of the skin of the breast.
5. A new dimpling of the nipple.
6. A discharge or bleeding from the nipple.
7. A change in the skin of the nipple.
8. An enlargement of the lymph nodes.
9. An unusual swelling of the upper arm.
10. A scaling or erosion of the nipple.
If you have any of the above symptoms, see your doctor immediately....
There are more than 15 types of breast cancer, which vary in surgical treatment and other treatments,such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy. At this time there is no standard treatment for all breast cancers.
Treatment is based on the following:
1. The type of tumor.
2. Size of the tumor.
3. Size of your breast, as some breasts may be to small in comparison to the lump to retain good cosmetic appearance when the lump is removed.
4. Location of the tumor in your breast.
5. Possible spread of the cancer to lymph nodes or spread of cancer to the skin, muscle chest wall, bone, or other organs.
6. Your general health.
7. Which surgery will give the best chance for a cure, best cosmetic results, and best use of your arm after surgery.
8. Study results made on the tumor, such as, if hormones promoted its growth, how fast it is growing.
It is normal to be upset when receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer, crying and feelings
of depression, are of course normal responses.
Survival rates are very high. Treatments for breast cancer have greatly improved and side
effects from the treatments have been greatly reduced over the years.
Surgery, is the primary course of treatment. There are three types of surgery, one being the lumpectomy, removal of the lump only and followed with either radiation or chemotherapy.
The second type, is modified radical mastectomy, followed by radiation. With this procedure some or all of the axially lymph nodes are removed to check for possible spread of the cancer to see if there is a need for additional therapy.
The third type of surgery is the radical mastectomy, followed either by radiation, chemotherapy, or both. This procedure involves removing the whole breast along with all nodes and muscle from the chest wall.
A number of studies have shown that in the early stages, the long-term survival rate following
lumpectomy is similar to the survival after a modified radical mastectomy.
Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of the two may be recommended following surgery,
depending on the risk factors for recurrence of the cancer.
Women should perform a monthly self exam of their beast and if a lump is found should see their doctor immediately.
To perform a self breast exam, do the following:
1. Put a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head.
2. Using the top third of your three fingers of your left hand, press firmly to feel for lumps in your right breast.
3. Move your fingers around the breast in either a circle, making sure you cover the whole breast, including the area from the breast to your underarm area.
4. Place the pillow under your left shoulder and examine the left breast in the same method using the tips of the three fingers of your right hand.
Always do self exams 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after your menstrual cycle.
If any changes are noted, call your doctor immediately.
You should also get a routine mammogram each year or sooner if your doctor finds a lump.
If a lump is found, your doctor may want to perform a needle biopsy or remove the lump completely for examination.
Remember, if found early enough, it can be treated. But also remember, not all lumps are malignant.