Cancer, breast

Other names: Breast cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. It is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States after skin cancer. Breast cancer can also occur in men but is far more common in women. Advances in screening, diagnosis, and treatment have led to improved survival rates and a decrease in deaths from breast cancer.

SYMPTOMS

When to see a doctor: If you notice any changes in your breasts, even if recent screenings were normal, it's important to see your doctor promptly for evaluation.

CAUSES

The exact cause of breast cancer is not known. It occurs when breast cells grow abnormally and form a mass or lump. Hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental factors may increase the risk of breast cancer. About 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to inherited gene mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for breast cancer include being female, increasing age, personal or family history of breast cancer, inherited gene mutations, radiation exposure, obesity, early menstruation or late menopause, and hormone therapy among others.

Tests and Diagnosis

Tests used for diagnosing breast cancer include breast exams, mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, and MRIs. Staging helps determine the extent of cancer spread using blood tests and imaging studies.

TREATMENTs and Drugs

Treatment options include surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drugs like trastuzumab and lapatinib. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce risk.

QUESTIONS

  1. What are some symptoms of breast cancer?

A breast lump or thickening

Bloody discharge from the nipple

Changes in breast size or appearance

  1. What are some risk factors for developing breast cancer?

Increasing age

Family history of breast cancer

Inherited gene mutations like BRCA1/BRCA2

  1. How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Through tests like mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies

  1. What are some treatment options for breast cancer?

Surgery (lumpectomy/mastectomy)

Radiation therapy

Chemotherapy

  1. How can one reduce their risk of developing breast cancer?

Maintaining a healthy weight

Limiting alcohol intake

Regular exercise

  1. What are some questions to ask your doctor about breast cancer?

What stage is my cancer?

What treatment options are available?

  1. What is the role of hormone therapy in treating breast cancer?

Hormone therapy may be used for hormone-sensitive cancers.

  1. Are there genetic factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer?

Yes, mutations in genes like BRCA1/BRCA2 can increase risk.

  1. What are some lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer?

Exercise regularly

Limit alcohol consumption

  1. Can alternative medicine cure breast cancer?

No alternative medicine treatments have been found to cure breast cancer; however they may help cope with side effects of treatment when combined with conventional care.

By staying informed about symptoms, risk factors, and available treatments for breast cancer, individuals can take proactive steps towards early detection and effective management of this disease.