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American Cancer Society Breast Cancer

Help Getting Through Cancer Treatment

Christine | Breast Cancer Survivor | American Cancer Society

People with cancer need support and information, no matter what stage of illness they may be in. Knowing all of your options and finding the resources you need will help you make informed decisions about your care.

Whether you are thinking about treatment, getting treatment, or not being treated at all, you can still get supportive care to help with pain or other symptoms. Communicating with your cancer care team is important so you understand your diagnosis, what treatment is recommended, and ways to maintain or improve your quality of life.

Different types of programs and support services may be helpful, and can be an important part of your care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help.

The American Cancer Society also has programs and services including rides to treatment, lodging, and more to help you get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.

If You Are Age 40 And Over:

  • Have a mammogram every year
  • Have a clinical breast exam by your health care provider every year
  • Do a breast self-exam each month

Ask your health care provider to teach you the proper way to do a thorough breast self-exam. .

If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, discuss mammography screening guidelines and scheduling with your health care provider.

Surgery For Breast Cancer

Most women with breast cancer have some type of surgery. Common types of breast surgery are lumpectomy, mastectomy, and taking out lymph nodes from the underarm. Women who have breast surgery may also decide to have the breast shape rebuilt, either at the same time or later on. This is called breast reconstruction.

Choosing between lumpectomy and mastectomy

Lumpectomy takes out the lump and a little bit of normal breast around it. It lets you keep most of your breast. The downside is that youll most likely need radiation treatment after surgery. But some women who have a mastectomy also need radiation afterward.

When choosing between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, be sure to get all the facts. At first you may think that a mastectomy is the best way to get it all out. Some women tend to choose mastectomy because of this. But most often, lumpectomy with radiation is just as good as mastectomy. Talk to your cancer care team. Learn as much as you can to make the right choice for you.

Reconstructive surgery

If you have breast surgery, you may want to think about having your breast shape rebuilt . Its not done to treat the cancer. It builds a breast shape that looks a lot like your natural breast.

If you are thinking about having reconstruction, you should talk to a plastic surgeon before the breast surgery is done. Your breast might be able to be rebuilt at the same time the surgery is done or later on.

Read Also: How Big Are Breast Cancer Tumors

Breast Cancer Facts & Figures

Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2019-2020 is an educational companion for Breast Cancer Statistics, 2019, a scientific paper published in the American Cancer Society journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among US women and is the second leading cause of death among women after lung cancer. The Breast Cancer Facts & Figures report provides statistics about the occurrence of breast cancer, as well as information about risk factors, prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Looking for more breast cancer statistics? Visit the American Cancer Societys Cancer Statistics Center website to explore, interact with, and share cancer statistics.

The website can be used to:

  • View and download maps, graphs, and charts
  • Create custom downloadable maps, graphs, and charts
  • Export data to Excel

Breast Cancer Research Highlights

New guidelines: Mammograms should start at 50

The American Cancer Society helps people with breast cancer in every community.Were working tirelessly to find new drugs and treatments as well as new ways to use existing treatments. Our research program has played a role in many of the prevention, screening, and treatment advances that save lives from breast cancer today. And, we continue to fund research to help save even more lives in the future.

Read Also: How Fast Does Breast Cancer Grow

How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated

Inflammatory breast cancer is generally treated first with systemic chemotherapy to help shrink the tumor, then with surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy. This approach to treatment is called a multimodal approach. Studies have found that women with inflammatory breast cancer who are treated with a multimodal approach have better responses to therapy and longer survival. Treatments used in a multimodal approach may include those described below.

American Cancer Society Recommendations For The Early Detection Of Breast Cancer

Finding breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatment are two of the most important strategies for preventing deaths from breast cancer. Breast cancer thats found early, when its small and has not spread, is easier to treat successfully. Getting regular screening tests is the most reliable way to find breast cancer early. The American Cancer Society has screening guidelines for women at average risk of breast cancer, and for those at high risk for breast cancer.

Recommended Reading: Is Stage 1 Breast Cancer Curable

Where Breast Cancer Starts

Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. The breast is an organ that sits on top of the upper ribs and chest muscles. There is a left and right breast and each one has mainly glands, ducts, and fatty tissue. In women, the breast makes and delivers milk to feed newborns and infants. The amount of fatty tissue in the breast determines the size of each breast.

The breast has different parts:

  • Lobules are the glands that make breast milk. Cancers that start here are called lobular cancers.
  • Ducts are small canals that come out from the lobules and carry the milk to the nipple. This is the most common place for breast cancer to start. Cancers that start here are called ductal cancers.
  • The nipple is the opening in the skin of the breast where the ducts come together and turn into larger ducts so the milk can leave the breast. The nipple is surrounded by slightly darker thicker skin called the areola. A less common type of breast cancer called Paget disease of the breast can start in the nipple.
  • The fat and connective tissue surround the ducts and lobules and help keep them in place. A less common type of breast cancer called phyllodes tumor can start in the stroma.
  • Blood vessels and lymph vessels are also found in each breast. Angiosarcoma is a less common type of breast cancer that can start in the lining of these vessels. The lymph system is described below.

To learn more, see Types of Breast Cancer.

Questions To Ask The Doctor

American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Screening Guideline Overview
  • Do you know the stage of the cancer?
  • If not, how and when will you find out the stage?
  • Would you explain what the stage means in my case?
  • How serious is my cancer?
  • Based on the stage of the cancer, how long do you think Ill live?
  • Do you know if my cancer has any of these proteins: estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, or HER2?
  • What does it mean if my cancer has any of these proteins?
  • Does my cancer have any gene changes that might be helpful in choosing drugs for my treatment plan?
  • What will happen next?

There are many ways to treat breast cancer.

Surgery and radiation are used to treat cancer in a specific part of the body . They do not affect the rest of the body.

Chemotherapy , hormone treatment, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy drugs can reach cancer cells almost anywhere in the body.

Doctors often use more than one treatment for breast cancer. The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:

  • The cancer’s stage and grade
  • If the cancer has specific proteins, like the HER2 protein or hormone receptors, or certain gene changes
  • The chance that a type of treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
  • Your age
  • Any other health problems you have
  • Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that come with it

Read Also: Which Of These Tools Can Help Women Detect Breast Cancer

How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed

Inflammatory breast cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Often, there is no lump that can be felt during a physical exam or seen in a screening mammogram. In addition, most women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer have dense breast tissue, which makes cancer detection in a screening mammogram more difficult. Also, because inflammatory breast cancer is so aggressive, it can arise between scheduled screening mammograms and progress quickly. The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may be mistaken for those of mastitis, which is an infection of the breast, or another form of locally advanced breast cancer.

To help prevent delays in diagnosis and in choosing the best course of treatment, an international panel of experts published guidelines on how doctors can diagnose and stage inflammatory breast cancer correctly. Their recommendations are summarized below.

Minimum criteria for a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer include the following:

  • A rapid onset of erythema , edema , and a peau d’orange appearance and/or abnormal breast warmth, with or without a lump that can be felt.
  • The above-mentioned symptoms have been present for less than 6 months.
  • The erythema covers at least a third of the breast.
  • Initial biopsy samples from the affected breast show invasive carcinoma.

Imaging and staging tests include the following:

Types Of Breast Cancer

There are many different types of breast cancer. The type is determined by the specific kind of cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancers are carcinomas. The most common breast cancers such as ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma are adenocarcinomas, since the cancers start in the gland cells in the milk ducts or the lobules . Other kinds of cancers can grow in the breast, like angiosarcoma or sarcoma, but are not considered breast cancer since they start in different cells of the breast.

Breast cancers are also classified by certain types of proteins or genes each cancer might make. After a biopsy is done, breast cancer cells are tested for proteins called estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and the HER2 gene or protein. The tumor cells are also closely looked at in the lab to find out what grade it is. The specific proteins found and the tumor grade can help decide the stage of the cancer and treatment options.

To learn more about the specific tests done on breast cancer cells, see Understanding a Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Treatment For Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Donate Today To Save More Lives From Breast Cancer

The face of breast cancer is familiar it’s the face of a mother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker and sometimes the face in the mirror.

In 2020, female breast cancer became the most diagnosed cancer worldwide and this year, nearly 284,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Thanks to the American Cancer Society, there is hope and there is help! More people are surviving cancer than ever before thanks to improved diagnosis, treatment, programs and services.

Your donation ensures the American Cancer Society is there with 24/7 information and support, plus cutting-edge breast cancer research.

No other nongovernmental organization has invested more funds toward finding treatments and cures for cancer than the American Cancer Society.I am so grateful for the American Cancer Society and all of the efforts they have made in the fight against breast cancer. Because of their fundraising, it has led to the development of the immunotherapy drug that I started on and I am currently taking through November, called Herceptin. Without Herceptin, my prognosis would be drastically different AimeeBreast cancer is something that is usually more well known for women than it is for men, so being a guy, still being relatively young and active and getting the news of having breast cancer, it was pretty devastating to me. Kelvin Shauna Marie

Showing Us What We Dont Know

American Cancer Society Presents Making Strides Against Breast Cancer ...

Once we flagged and filtered out any irrelevant markings or coloring, we were able to set up unsupervised machine learning. We told the machine to identify patterns in the tiles and create 10 clusters. Clustering is when the machine groups similar patterns, like your phone automatically searching through your photos and creating a photo album of your daughter.We fed the computer no information about what it was going to find, says Gaudet. We wanted to let it tell us where to go.The machine created some clusters that the team understood, like identifying the grade of cancer, which validated that the machines were on track. But there are also new patterns that were not yet unable to understand why they were clustered, which was the goal, says Gaudet. For example, clusters two and threewell, to my eye they look exactly the same but thats the whole premise of the project, for the machine to identify differences that the human eye cant.And the time saved is invaluable. It could have taken a pathologist three years to do what Slalom helped us do in three months, says Gaudet.ACS is now analyzing these clusters to discover what the patterns are. Why did the machine group these together? What do they have in common? Are there lifestyle, diet, reproductive factors that are connected to that pattern?Were looking at the clusters that the Slalom team provided us and relating them back to breast cancer survival, says Gaudet.

Recommended Reading: How Do They Treat Stage 1 Breast Cancer

The Future Of Cancer Research

The Slalom team partnered closely with ACS every step of the way to transfer our machine learning knowledge and train Gaudets team. I had no training in machine learning, she says. And I would say I am not the best with technology overall. But the Slalom team has been awesome about training us and getting us up to speed.ACS now has powerful machine learning tools that it can reuse on similar projects. In fact, it plans to use machine learning to analyze other types of cancers.This is an extremely hot area in cancer research right now, says Gaudet. And Slalom drove us to be able to play in this space where we previously were not. Since weve started this collaboration with Slalom, weve built other collaborations with academic partners, all due to Slalom getting us on the right track.We hope that these machine learning tools will help ACS make a dent in cancer, a disease that took a Slalom colleague and friendand so many family members and friendsmuch too soon. My mother and grandmother both passed away from breast cancer, says Yi. Being able to pitch in even a little bit means a lot to me.

Michelle Yi is no longer with Slalom.

What Is The Prognosis Of Patients With Inflammatory Breast Cancer

The prognosis, or likely outcome, for a patient diagnosed with cancer is often viewed as the chance that the cancer will be treated successfully and that the patient will recover completely. Many factors can influence a cancer patients prognosis, including the type and location of the cancer, the stage of the disease, the patients age and overall general health, and the extent to which the patients disease responds to treatment.

Because inflammatory breast cancer usually develops quickly and spreads aggressively to other parts of the body, women diagnosed with this disease, in general, do not survive as long as women diagnosed with other types of breast cancer.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that survival statistics are based on large numbers of patients and that an individual womans prognosis could be better or worse, depending on her tumor characteristics and medical history. Women who have inflammatory breast cancer are encouraged to talk with their doctor about their prognosis, given their particular situation.

Ongoing research, especially at the molecular level, will increase our understanding of how inflammatory breast cancer begins and progresses. This knowledge should enable the development of new treatments and more accurate prognoses for women diagnosed with this disease. It is important, therefore, that women who are diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer talk with their doctor about the option of participating in a clinical trial.

Also Check: Why Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer

Testing For Proteins And Genes

The breast cancer cells will be tested for certain proteins called estrogen and progesterone receptors. If the cancer has these proteins, it’s a hormone receptorpositive breast cancer. The cells are also tested to see if the cancer makes too much of the HER2 protein. If it does, it’s called a HER2-positive cancer. These cancers are sometimes easier to treat because many different kinds of drugs can be used. If the cancer doesn’t test positive for any of these proteins, it’s called a triple-negative breast cancer.

The cancer cells might also be tested for certain genes, which can help decide if chemo might be helpful and how likely it is that the cancer will come back. Other gene tests can help show if certain drugs might be helpful.

Ask your doctor to explain the tests they plan to do, and what the results might mean.

Our Mission Is To Provide Education Access And Financial Assistance To Aid In The Early Detection Treatment And Survival Of Breast Cancer For Underserved And Uninsured Individuals Regardless Of Age Race Or Gender

Reach To Recovery – Peer Support for People Facing Breast Cancer

This is achieved, in part, by the Breast Cancer Assistance Program , the Community Partnership Program, and the newly designed Education and Community Advocacy Program. The BCAP program and the Community Partnership Program are time-honored and tried programs linking patients with facilities and assistance in their areas.

Also Check: Do Breast Implants Increase The Risk Of Breast Cancer


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