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Breast Cancer

What is Breast Cancer ?

Along with lung cancer, breast cancer is a leading killer of women ages 35 to 54. Breast cancer strikes about 10% of all women. The disease seldom occurs in men. Although breast cancer may develop any time after puberty, it's most common after age 50.

Early detection and treatment influences the prognosis considerably. The most reliable breast cancer detection method is regular breast self-examination, followed by immediate professional evaluation of any abnormality. With adjunctive therapy, 70% to 75% of women with negative nodes survive 10 years or more, compared to 20% to 25% of women with positive nodes.

Causes of Breast Cancer

The cause of breast cancer is unknown, but certain factors increase the odds of the disease. A woman is more susceptible if:

  • She is more than 45 years old and has not gone through menopause.
  • She did not become pregnant before age 30.
  • Her mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer, especially before menopause and especially in both breasts.

Signs & Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast. Any change in breast tissue should be reported to a physician or other health care practitioner. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Dimpling of the breast
  • Lump in the underarm
  • A change in the size or contours of your breast
  • Nipple discharge, pain, or inversion (turning inward)
  • Skin irritation (e.g., redness, scaling) of the breast or nipple
  • Swelling
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange

Diagnostic Tests

  • Mammography
  • Fine-needle aspiration and excisional biopsy
  • Ultrasonography
  • Chest X-rays


The choice of treatment usually depends on the stage and type of disease, woman's age and menopausal status, and disfiguring effects of surgery. Therapy may mclude any combination of surgery, radiation, chemomerapy, and hormone therapy.

Surgery: Depending on the stage of your breast cancer, you may need surgery to remove the lump, a part of the breast, or the entire breast. You may also need to have some lymph nodes taken out to help prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of your body.

Chemotherapy commonly relies on a combination of drugs, such as cyclophosphamide, fluorouracil, methotrexate, doxorubicin, vincristine, paclitaxel. and prednisone.

Hormonal therapy lowers levels of estrogen and other hormones suspected of nourishing breast cancer cells. The success of these therapies provides growing evidence that breast cancer is systemic, not local, and has led to decline in ablation surgery.

Biological Therapy - Biological therapy (also called immunotherapy) involves using trastuzumab (Herceptin®) to inhibit tumor growth and enhance the immune system's ability to fight cancer. It also may be combined with chemotherapy as a first line treatment for metastatic breast cancer and may be used after chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. When this treatment used alone or in combination it may have side effects.

Prevention Tips

Following are some suggestions to reduce your risk:

  • Regular mammograms - together with monthly breast self-exams - are the best ways for women to protect themselves.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Aviod Smoking and also limit your taking alcohol.
  • Eat foods high in fiber.

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