When Should I Begin Screening For Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends the following early-detection screenings for women at average risk for breast cancer:
- Optional mammograms beginning at age 40
- Annual mammograms for women ages 45 to 54
- Mammograms every two years for women 55 and older, unless they choose to stick with yearly screenings
- MRIs and mammograms for some women at high risk of breast cancer
The ACS also recommends that women know the benefits and potential harms associated with breast cancer screening, as well as how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their doctor right away.
Helping A Friend Or Colleague With Breast Cancer
Do you have a friend or colleague who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? Are you unsure how this may affect your relationship or what kind of support you can offer?
To help you, we have compiled this page of useful tips and strategies from women who have experienced breast cancer. Of course, not every individual wants the same type of support. Wherever possible, try to take your lead from your friend. Listen for cues and dont be afraid to ask what they need or to make a suggestion.
What About Other Treatments That I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
Read Also: How To Tell If Cancer Has Metastasized
Which Surgical Option Do You Recommend Why
To determine which surgical approach may address your needs and treatment goals, your surgical oncologist may rely on information from the radiologist, who reads imaging tests the pathologist, who interprets the biopsy results the radiation oncologist, who works with the surgeon to plan radiation treatment either during or immediately after surgery and the medical oncologist, to predict how preoperative drug treatment may help reduce the size of the tumor. Depending on the biology and genetics of the tumor, your care team may recommend chemotherapy before or after surgery.
Cancer Research Uk Information And Support
Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We fund research on all aspects of cancer from its causes to prevention and treatment.
We are committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer. As well as looking at the information on this website you can call our nurse freephone helpline on 0808 800 4040. They are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Or you can send us a question online.
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Things That Wont Help:
Its normal to not know what to say to a friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. While just being you and giving her your time can be greatly beneficial, there are some things that probably wont help:
- Dont tell her about the latest cure or treatment youve heard about.
- Dont burden her with your fears or worries.
- Dont tell her horror stories about other people with cancer.
- Dont give up on her or stop ringing or visiting.
- Dont tell her how she should be changing her lifestyle or diet. It may be hard enough for her to get out of bed in the morning.
- Dont tell her to be positive. That may make it hard for her to talk to you about how she really feels.
What Are The Treatments For Breast Cancer
Treatments for breast cancer include
- Surgery such as
- A mastectomy, which removes the whole breast
- A lumpectomy to remove the cancer and some normal tissue around it, but not the breast itself
Also Check: How To Remove Breast Cancer Naturally
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine are medicines and health practices that are not standard cancer treatments. Complementary medicine is used in addition to standard treatments, and alternative medicine is used instead of standard treatments. Meditation, yoga, and supplements like vitamins and herbs are some examples.
Many kinds of complementary and alternative medicine have not been tested scientifically and may not be safe. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits before you start any kind of complementary or alternative medicine.
Breast Cancer: Types Of Treatment
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about the different types of treatments doctors use for people with breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
This section explains the types of treatments that are the standard of care for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. Standard of care means the best treatments known. When making treatment plan decisions, you are strongly encouraged to consider clinical trials as an option. A clinical trial is a research study that tests a new approach to treatment. Doctors want to learn whether the new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than the standard treatment. Clinical trials can test a new drug and how often it should be given, a new combination of standard treatments, or new doses of standard drugs or other treatments. Some clinical trials also test giving less treatment than what is usually done as the standard of care. Clinical trials are an option to consider for treatment and care for all stages of cancer. Your doctor can help you consider all your treatment options. Learn more about clinical trials in the About Clinical Trials and Latest Research sections of this guide.
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How Is Breast Cancer Treated
Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread.
Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
- Surgery. An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy. Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
- Hormonal therapy. Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy. Works with your bodys immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy. Using high-energy rays to kill the cancer cells.
Doctors from different specialties often work together to treat breast cancer. Surgeons are doctors who perform operations. Medical oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with medicine. Radiation oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with radiation.
For more information, visit the National Cancer Institutes Breast Cancer Treatment Option Overview.external icon This site can also help you find health care services.external icon
The Tnm System The Grading System And Biomarker Status Are Combined To Find Out The Breast Cancer Stage
Here are 3 examples that combine the TNM system, the grading system, and the biomarker status to find out the Pathological Prognostic breast cancer stage for a woman whose first treatment was surgery:
If the tumor size is 30 millimeters , has not spread to nearby lymph nodes , has not spread to distant parts of the body , and is:
- Grade 1
The cancer is stage IV .
Nonprofit And Government Financial Assistance Programs
American Cancer Society provides information and referrals to numerous education, community and patient support services, including financial assistance and transportation programs. To reach your local ACS, contact the national office at 800.227.2345.
CancerCare provides limited financial assistance for homecare, childcare and transportation.
CancerCares Linking A.R.M.S. program provides limited financial assistance for hormonal therapy, oral chemotherapy, pain and anti-nausea medication, lymphedema supplies and durable medical equipment.
The Healthwell Foundation provides financial assistance to those with chronic or life-threatening diseases. Eligible individuals can receive help with copayments for prescription drugs, coinsurance, deductibles and other selected out-of-pocket costs.
Hope for Young Adults with Cancer helps young adults in active treatment and in remission for up to five years pay for daily living expenses.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps eligible patients obtain needed medications either free of charge or close to it. Being uninsured or underinsured is part of qualifying.
Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief provides direct financial assistance for prescription drug co-payments to eligible patients.
The Pink Fund provides short-term financial aid for basic living expenses to eligible breast cancer patients.
RXAssist provides information about free and low-cost medicine programs and other ways to manage medical costs.
Which Treatment Is Right For Me
Choosing the treatment that is right for you may be hard. Talk to your cancer doctor about the treatment options available for your type and stage of cancer. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and their side effects. Side effects are how your body reacts to drugs or other treatments.
Sometimes people get an opinion from more than one cancer doctor. This is called a second opinion. Getting a second opinionexternal icon may help you choose the treatment that is right for you.
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What Are The Different Options For Surgery
Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. Procedures may include:
- Mastectomy: This surgery removes one or both breasts, including the breast tissue, nipple, areola and skin.
- Lumpectomy: Also known as breast-conserving surgery, this operation removes only the cancerous breast tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible. A lumpectomy is not an option for every breast cancer patient.
- Sentinel node biopsy: This is the removal of one or a few of the first draining lymph nodes to determine whether cancer cells have spread beyond the breast.
- Oncoplastic and breast reconstruction surgery: This reconstructive technique reshapes the breast and also may be used to prevent scarring and deformation of the breast.
If You Have Side Effects
Nausea. If you experience nausea, your dietitian may recommend that you try to eat more foods that are cool or at room temperature because they dont have a strong odor. It may also help to eat lower-fat food since fats take longer to digest.
Dont skip meals entirely if you have nausea, since an empty stomach can make nausea worse, Taylor says. Instead, focus on small bites of food throughout the day. Avoid strong flavors. Feel free to incorporate ginger root into your recipes, as this can help settle a nauseated stomach.
Constipation. If constipation becomes an issue, your dietitian may encourage you to eat fiber-rich foods and increase your fluid intake, Taylor adds. Low-intensity walking and warm beverages also can help encourage regular bowel movements.
Fatigue. To combat fatigue, choose high-protein snacks and small frequent meals rather than large meals. People often experience more fatigue when theyre not eating well, or when theyre losing weight during treatment.
If youre experiencing any side effect that affects your ability to eat regularly, ask your care team if you can meet with a dietitian to review individualized nutrition recommendations.
Also Check: Do You Gain Weight With Breast Cancer
Help A Cancer Patient
Sometimes asking for help can be hard. For those who know someone battling breast cancer, find a way to make their life easier without them asking. Whether it is offering to walk their dog, drive them to their doctors appointment, or preparing frozen meals, simple acts can make a huge difference.
Also, many chemo wards even take donations of clothing, scarves, and hats for patients. Reach out to local organizations to see what good or services would benefit the community.
Treatment Of Locoregional Recurrent Breast Cancer
For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.
See the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer section for information about treatment options for breast cancer that has spread to parts of the body outside the breast, chest wall, or nearby lymph nodes.
Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.
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Treatment For Breast Cancer
A team of specialists will meet to discuss the best possible treatment for you. This is called a multidisciplinary team .
Your doctor will explain the different treatment options and their side effects. They will also talk to you about the things you should consider when making treatment decisions.
The first treatment for breast cancer is often surgery to remove it. Your surgeon will talk to you about having one of these operations:
- Breast-conserving surgery
Breast-conserving surgery is when the cancer and some surrounding normal breast tissue is removed.
You will usually need some, or all, of the lymph nodes in your armpit removed.
Some women may be asked to decide if they want surgery to make a new breast shape during the operation. Others may decide to have this done later.
We have more information about your operation. You may also need support when dealing with changes to your body after surgery.
Patients Can Enter Clinical Trials Before During Or After Starting Their Cancer Treatment
Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.
Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Information about clinical trials supported by NCI can be found on NCIs clinical trials search webpage. Clinical trials supported by other organizations can be found on the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
Also Check: What Is Grade 2 Breast Cancer
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Each Treatment Option
Breast cancer treatments may cause temporary side effects that go away soon after treatment is completed, as well as longer-term side effects that last months or years. Below is a list of the side effects associated with each treatment option.
Surgery: Surgical procedures for breast cancer may cause short-term pain or discomfort in the treated area. Also, the muscles of the arm may feel weak, and the skin in the breast area may feel tight. Surgery involving the lymph nodes may also cause swelling in the arm, a condition known as lymphedema.
Radiation therapy: Many breast cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy experience skin irritation and breast pain. These conditions usually begin within a few weeks of starting treatment and go away on their own within six months after treatment ends. For some patients, however, these symptoms may not develop until several months or years after treatment. Another common radiation-related side effect is fatigue, especially in the later weeks of treatment and for some time afterward.
Chemotherapy: Certain chemotherapy drugs may cause potential side effects like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, nerve damage, sore mouth, diarrhea, constipation and decreased blood counts.
Targeted therapy: Side effects for HER2-positive targeted therapy drugs are typically mild, but serious side effects are possible and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, mouth sores and rashes.
Lifestyle Changes After Breast Cancer
Lifestyle Changes after Breast Cancer Treatment: Conversations on Survival. A group of breast cancer survivors openly discuss what lifestyle changes were continued or changed after treatment. The importance of living in the moment, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and knowing what is really important in life are all discussed.
1) Take care of yourself emotionally
- Put your needs first sometimes
- Attend a support group or find a breast cancer survivor you can talk with
- Stay informed about new breast cancer research
- Consider psychotherapy and/or antidepressants if warranted if youre taking tamoxifen, check with your oncologist to ensure the prescribed antidepressant does not interfere with your endocrine treatment
- Communicate with your doctor about fears or concerns
- Volunteer or become a breast cancer advocate
2) Take care of yourself physically
- Exercise regularly
- Report any physical changes to either your oncologist or primary care provider
- Seek treatment for lymphedema if you experience signs
3) Eat healthy
Research has shown that a diet high in fat and calories increases circulating estrogen in the blood. Consuming a low fat and low calorie diet after breast cancer can improve your overall health and wellness. Here are some dietary suggestions:
4) Reduce stress
5) Limit alcohol
6) Exercise regularly
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