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Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer

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Published by ramabahati
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Published by: ramabahati on Mar 08, 2012
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 ==== ====Hello from user.http://7e127ipapnhknxh38pm0p9862b.hop.clickbank.net/  ==== ====Breast cancer is characterized by the growth of malignant tumors in the glandular tissues of thebreast. Today, more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before. Over two million womenare breast cancer survivors. With early detection and prompt and appropriate treatment, theoutlook for women with breast cancer can be positive. No one knows why some women develop breast cancer and others do not. Although the diseasemay affect younger women, 75% of all breast cancer occurs in women age 50 or older. Some ofthe noted risks factors include familial or genetics, exposure to estrogen, demographic factors(age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status), nutrition and lifestyle, and smoking. Symptoms of breast cancer are hardly noticeable when it first develops but as the cancer grows, itcan cause changes that women should watch for. The most common symptom is an abnormallump or swelling in the breast, but lumps may also appear beside the breast or under the arm.Other symptoms may include unexplained breast pain, abnormal nipple discharge, changes inbreast texture, or changes in the skin on or around the breast. Breast Cancer Screening To screen or not to screen - that is the dilemma. The problem is not simply medical but also amatter of economics. Diagnosis of cancer, whether initial or recurrence, is the period of greatestacute stress for a cancer patient. This crisis is defined by sadness (depression), fear (anxiety),confusion, and occasional anger. The goal of screening women for breast cancer is to detect cancer in its earliest stage whensurgery and medical treatment can be most effective in reducing mortality. Screening is onlybeneficial when an earlier diagnosis results in a reduction in mortality and morbidity and when therisks of the screening test are low. There are three methods for breast cancer screening that arecurrently practiced: X-ray mammography, clinical breast examination and breast self-examination. Of the three screening methods, the most reliable by far is mammography. However, in womenwith very dense breast tissue, both ultrasound and mammograms may miss tumors, which,however, can be detected by a Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI). MRI is also more accurate fordetecting cancer in women who carry the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, theprincipal means of diagnosis - and many believe the only definitive one - is biopsy - a minorsurgical procedure in which the lump or part of the lump is removed and examined under amicroscope for cancer cells. A doctor might perform fine needle aspiration, a needle or corebiopsy, or a surgical biopsy. Mammography
 
 A mammogram is a special x-ray of the breast that often can detect cancers that are too small fora woman or her doctor to feel. Screening aims to detect breast cancer at a very early stage whencure is more likely. The amount of radiation needed to produce a clear mammogram (picture)varies with breast size and density. To avoid undue exposure it is highly desirable to use thelowest possible dose of radiation needed. A mammogram cannot distinguish between a benign or malignant tumor and thus is not 100%accurate. However, mammography detects over 90% of all breast cancer though a negativemammography does not necessarily indicate its absence. Mammography and clinical examinationare complementary and if there is strong suspicion of a palpable lesion, the only way to make apositive diagnosis is by having a biopsy. The results of several large studies have convincingly demonstrated that breast cancer screeningby mammography reduces mortality by approximately 30% in women older than 50 years. TheAmerican Cancer Society states that women of 40 to 49 years of age should receive screeningmammograms every one to two years. Yearly mammography screening is recommended forwomen of 50 years and older. However the risks of any screening intervention need to be evaluated as closely as the benefits.The risks associated with mammography screening for breast cancer include, radiation exposure,false positives, and over-diagnosis. The risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from screeningmammography is estimated to be minimal. The excess risk for breast cancer caused by radiationis increased with a younger age of the woman at exposure and increasing cumulative radiationdose. However, the benefits of mammography still significantly outweigh the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer. Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) During a clinical breast examination, the doctor checks the breasts and underarms for lumps orother changes that could be a sign of breast cancer. The CBE involves bilateral inspection andpalpation of the breasts and the axillary and supraclavicular areas. Examination should beperformed in both the upright and supine positions. One of the best predictors of examinationaccuracy is the length of time spent by the examiner. The efficacy of CBE alone in screening for breast cancer is uncertain. The results of several largestudies have convincingly demonstrated the effectiveness of CBE when combined withmammography as screening for breast cancer in women older than age 50 years. The AmericanCancer Society advises that women should have CBEs every three years from age 20 to 39 years.Annual CBEs should be performed on women 40 years of age and older. Breast Self-Examination (BSE) A systematic examination by a woman in which she uses her fingers to feel for changes in herbreast shape and fluid discharge from the nipple in order to detect any abnormalities. It is ideallycarried out every month. Estimates vary, but 80 to 95% are first discovered as a lump by thepatient. Intuitively it follows that regular breast self-examination as a complementary screeningmodality perhaps along with mammography may help discover some cancers at an earlier stage,
 
when the prognosis is more favorable. Approximately four out of every five breast lumps so detected turn out to be a cyst or other benign(noncancerous) lesion. If a lump is found, however, it is essential to determine as quickly aspossible if it is cancerous or not. There are now several epidemiologic studies indicating thatsurvival is increased in women practicing breast self-examination and that cancers detected bybreast self-examination tend to be smaller. Treatment Once breast cancer has been found, it is staged. Through staging, the doctor can tell if the cancerhas spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. More tests may be performed to help determinethe stage. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment. The choice of treatment for breast cancer depends on a woman's age and general health, as wellas the type, the stage, and location of the tumour, and if the cancer has remained in the breast orhas spread to other parts of the body. There are a number of treatments, but the ones womenchoose most often - alone or in combination - are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, andhormone therapy. Standard cancer treatments are generally designed to surgically take out the cancer; stop cancercells from getting the hormones they need to survive and grow through hormone therapy; usehigh-energy beams to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors through radiation therapy and use anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells through chemotherapy. However, the current view holds that cancer is a systemic disease involving a complex spectrumof host-tumor relationships, with cancer cells spread via the bloodstream, and therefore variationsin local or regional therapy are unlikely to affect a patient's survival. Rather, the cancer must beattacked systemically, through the use of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy andimmunotherapy. For women with early-stage breast cancer, one common available treatment is a lumpectomycombined with radiation therapy. A lumpectomy is surgery that preserves a woman's breast. In alumpectomy, the surgeon removes only the tumor and a small amount of the surrounding tissue.The survival rate for a woman who has this therapy plus radiation is similar to that for a womanwho chooses a radical mastectomy, which is complete removal of a breast. If the breast cancer has spread locally - just to other parts of the breast - treatment may involve acombination of chemotherapy and surgery. Doctors first shrink the tumor with chemotherapy andthen remove it through surgery. Shrinking the tumor before surgery may allow a woman to avoid amastectomy and keep her breast. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lung or bone, chemotherapyand/or hormonal therapy might be used to destroy cancer cells and control the disease. Radiationtherapy may also be useful to control tumors in other parts of the body. Because 30% of breast cancers recur, the National Cancer Institute urges all women with breastcancer to have chemotherapy or hormone therapy following surgery, even if there is no evidence

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