Statistics show that about 12.5 percent of women will likely be diagnosed with one of the most common type of cancers afflicting women around the world – breast cancer. Curable at its early stages, breast cancer can be detected early on with medical tests and screening.
Earlier studies reveal a number of risk factors associated with breast cancer:
• Family history
• Age and Gender
• Menstrual cycle
• Alcohol use
• Child birth
• Hormone replacement therapy
Detecting Breast Cancer
As you already know, genetics is one of the major risk factors of breast cancer. If you believe that you are at risk, regular visits to your doctor will be helpful. Most of the time, early detection of breast cancer means higher chances of survival.
Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, further tests to detect the presence of tumors or abnormal growth in your breasts may include mammography, MRI, breast biopsy, CT scan, or PET scan. Initial procedures such as a physical examine of your breasts, neck, armpits, and chest may initially be conducted prior to other screening tests.
The treatment of breast cancer may vary according to the type of the cancerous growth, stage of the disease, and the sensitivity of some cancer cells to hormonal changes. In addition, tests can reveal the presence of a particular gene, HER2/neu, which when expressed by certain cancerous cells, can prompt the doctor to take a specific course of treatment for such a cancer type.
Possible treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation, or even the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. Although surgical procedures may be an invasive approach, certain stages and types of breast cancer may require this. Surgery involves either lumpectomy (removal of the lump in breasts) or mastectomy (removal of all of the breast and nearby parts). Breast cancer, just like other types of cancer, progresses in stages: 1, 2, 3 and 4, in which the fourth stage is no longer curable.
Post-treatment care should be observed among recovering patients because of some complications that may arise during this stage. For most women, medications such as tamoxifen are continued for an extended period. Also, successful treatments do not guarantee complete remission of the condition. Thus, continued testing such as mammograms and regular blood tests should follow after the treatment.
Breast cancer is as diverse as there are unique differences among women out there. For one, the risk factors may dictate who in a certain population will be more likely to develop breast cancer. Thus, women who are at risk, based on the factors mentioned, should always visit their health care providers regularly.