Should I Consider Genetic Testing
Genetic testing;may help determine if your cancer resulted from an inherited gene mutation.;Genetic counseling;may help you understand the risks, benefits and limitations of genetic testing in certain situations. A genetic counselor, doctor or other health care professional trained in genetics may help you and your family understand your test results and other findings, such as a genetic risk factor for another disease like diabetes or heart conditions.
Family History Genetic Test For Gene Mutations
The researchers asked study participants about the type of treatment they had, as well as the clinical indications for double mastectomy, including the patients family history of breast and ovarian cancer, and the results of any genetic testing.
Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or with a positive genetic test for mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, may be advised to consider having both breasts removed, because they are at high risk of a new cancer developing in the other breast. This represents about 10 percent of all women diagnosed with breast cancer. Women without these indications are very unlikely to develop a second cancer in the healthy breast, according to the researchers.
What Is Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction may help restore the look and feel of the breast after a mastectomy. Many women who have had a breast removed opt for breast reconstructionin some limited cases, at the same time as the mastectomy, but more often after the mastectomy procedure. With immediate reconstruction, a surgeon performs the first stage to rebuild the breast during the same operation as the mastectomy. A method called skin-sparing mastectomy may be used to save enough breast skin to cover the reconstruction.
Breasts may be rebuilt using saline implants or autologous tissue . Most breast reconstructions performed today use implants. For some reconstructions, more than one surgery may be needed.
Mastectomy with reconstruction done on the same day is an option for many women, but the best approach for an individual should be determined through a discussion of various options between the patient and her surgeon.
The decision to have reconstruction is a personal one. Some women choose not to have reconstruction. Others believe it helps their appearance and recovery.
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.
Treating Stage Iii Breast Cancer
In stage III breast cancer, the tumor is large or growing into nearby tissues , or the cancer has spread to many nearby lymph nodes.
If you have inflammatory breast cancer: Stage III cancers also include some inflammatory breast cancers that have not spread beyond nearby lymph nodes. Treatment of these cancers can be slightly different from the treatment of other stage III breast cancers. You can find more details in our section about treatment for inflammatory breast cancer.
There are two main approaches to treating stage III breast cancer:
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What Type Of Drug Treatment Might I Get
Most women with breast cancer in stages I to III will get some kind of drug therapy as part of their treatment. This may include:
- Hormone therapy
- HER2 targeted drugs, such as trastuzumab and pertuzumab
- Some combination of these
The types of drugs that might work best depend on the tumors hormone receptor status, HER2 status, and other factors.
Will The Nhs Fund An Unlicensed Medicine
It’s possible for your doctor to prescribe a medicine outside the uses it’s licensed for if they’re willing to take personal responsibility for this ‘off-licence’ use of treatment.
Your local clinical commissioning group may need to be involved, as it would have to decide whether to support your doctor’s decision and pay for the medicine from NHS budgets.
Page last reviewed: 28 October 2019 Next review due: 28 October 2022
Also Check: Which Breast Is Most Common For Breast Cancer
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.
Gift Ideas For Breast Cancer Patients
About the Author:;I found a lump in my breast the month after my 24th birthday. As I was about to go in for my lumpectomy/biopsy that I pushed so hard for, I was once again assured that I’d feel “better” once it was gone and that they were sure it was benign since I was young, healthy, very low risk and had minimal family history… Turns out I had Stage 2 Breast Cancer – with invasion of the lymph nodes, diagnosed 10/2/2017. Terrified, but determined to fight as hard as possible, I underwent an eight-hour bi-lateral mastectomy with immediate reconstructive surgery 2 months later, six months of Chemotherapy including Cytoxan, Adriamycin and Taxol, 33 rounds of Radiation, and am taking Tamoxifen daily & having Lupron injections monthly for 5-10 years to prevent recurrence. I will be 1-year cancer-free in September.;
Also Check: How To Tell If Breast Cancer Has Metastasized
What Is The Difference Between Radiation And Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy involves medications delivered by injections or taken in pill form. This type of treatment is circulated throughout the entire body and is generally prescribed by a medical oncologist. Radiation therapy, delivered by a radiation oncologist, uses radiotherapy beams focused on a very specific area of the body in order to deliver high doses of the treatment while reducing the risk of radiation exposure to healthy tissue.
How Does Radiation Therapy Work
Radiation therapy uses special high-energy X-rays or particles to damage a cancer cells DNA. When a cancer cells DNA is damaged, it cant divide successfully and it dies.
Radiation therapy damages both healthy cells and cancer cells in the treatment area. Still, radiation affects cancer cells more than normal cells. Cancer cells grow and divide faster than healthy cells and also are less organized. Because of this, it’s harder for cancer cells to repair the damage done by radiation. So cancer cells are more easily destroyed by radiation, while healthy cells are better able to repair themselves and survive the treatment.
The treatment area may include the breast area, the lymph nodes, or another part of the body if the cancer has spread.
Radiation treatments are carefully planned to make sure you receive the greatest benefits and the fewest side effects possible.
- Brachytherapy/Internal Radiation
- Internal radiation, called brachytherapy by doctors, uses a radioactive substance sealed in seeds or tiny tubes that are placed inside your body directly into the cancer or the place where the cancer was. Read about brachytherapy.
Another type of radiation therapy, called intraoperative radiation therapy, is a type of partial-breast radiation. With intraoperative radiation therapy, the entire course of radiation is delivered at one time during breast cancer surgery. Read more about intraoperative radiation therapy.
Read Also: Does All Breast Cancer Require Surgery
Dealing With Changes To Your Body
A diagnosis of breast cancer may change how you think about your body. All women react differently to the physical changes that happen as a result of breast cancer treatment.
Some women react positively, but others find it more difficult to cope. It’s important to give yourself time to come to terms with any changes to your body.
Want to know more?
Help Me Understand That I Need Help
“It’s so awkward to receive.” Johnson was one of the many breast cancer survivors who expressed this sentiment. Many women are very good at being givers, but not takers. “I’m private,” she says, “and I kept telling myself that it was more comfortable for me to be miserable by myself.” But after repeatedly refusing neighbors’ offers of help, they forced a bit of an intervention. “They came over and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to be more receptive to us doing things for you, even if it’s just for us.’ That’s when I took down those walls.” It took Jodie Maslowski awhile to realize that telling people “No” was devastating to them. “I finally learned to accept the help and I loved it,” she says. “It’s now the first thing I tell cancer patients I mentor: you need to help people help you.”
Read Also: What Happens When Breast Cancer Metastasis
What Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Considered a rare disease, inflammatory breast cancer typically forms in the soft tissues, blocking lymph vessels in the breast skin. That’s why the breast often becomes firm, tender, itchy, red and warm, from the increase in blood flow and a build-up of white blood cells. IBC differs from other forms of breast cancer, especially in symptoms, prognosis and treatment. The term inflammatory is not meant to reflect what’s happening inside the breast, only in how the breast appears. When an infection or injury causes the breasts to become inflamed, they often become tender, swollen, red and itchy, but the underlying cause is not inflammation.
Peaches Apples And Pears
Fruits specifically peaches, apples, and pears have been shown to safeguard against breast cancer.
In a study in 75,929 women, those who consumed at least 2 servings of peaches per week had up to a 41% reduced risk of developing ER breast cancer .
Interestingly, a test-tube study revealed that polyphenol antioxidants from peaches inhibited the growth and spread of a breast cancer cell line .
Furthermore, a study analyzing data from 272,098 women linked apple and pear intake to a lower risk of breast cancer ” rel=”nofollow”>Share on Pinterest
Beans are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Specifically, their high fiber content may protect against breast cancer.
A study in 2,571 women found that high bean intake reduced breast cancer risk by up to 20%, compared with low bean intake .
Additionally, in a study in 1,260 Nigerian women, those with the highest intake of beans had up to a 28% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with those with the lowest intake .
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How Do I Know Which Breast Cancer Treatment To Choose
Your doctor will think about a few things before they recommend a treatment for you:
- The type of breast cancer you have
- The size of your tumor and how far the cancer has spread in your body, called the stage of your disease
- Whether your tumor has things called receptors for HER2 protein, estrogen, and progesterone, or other specific features.
Your age, whether youâve gone through menopause, other health conditions you have, and your personal preferences also play a role in this decision-making process.
Choosing To Stop Treatment Or Choosing No Treatment At All
For some people, when treatments have been tried and are no longer controlling the cancer, it could be time to weigh the benefits and risks of continuing to try new treatments. Whether or not you continue treatment, there are still things you can do to help maintain or improve your quality of life.
Some people, especially if the cancer is advanced, might not want to be treated at all. There are many reasons you might decide not to get cancer treatment, but its important to talk to your doctors and you make that decision. Remember that even if you choose not to treat the cancer, you can still get;supportive care;to help with pain or other symptoms.
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What A Woman Wants
In our study, we looked at how women experienced support during breast cancer treatment. We chose to focus on African-American women because they are more likely to die from breast cancer than all other women in the U.S. We analyzed interviews with African-American women with breast cancer who were previously enrolled in the placebo group of a NCI-funded intervention study entitled, STORY . In the interviews, we asked the women a range of questions such as what kind of support did you get from your doctor to help you get through treatment, to how did the support you received from others make a difference in your treatment decisions.
Our results showed that women experienced support in three key ways. Sometimes the support women got met their needs, sometimes it was better than expected, and sometimes it wasnt. Women shared how they expected cancer care providers to provide them with informational support:
I received a lot of information, printout information and stuff, and if I had any questions, I was given a number that I called. When I went to the hospital to have my port put in and everything, they were real nice there. They sent me a lot of information and I had a person that if I had any questions she was right there for me. All I had to do was make a phone call and, anything I needed, she was right there. Lydia , age 52, 5 years post-diagnosis
Your Breast Cancer Oncologist And The Multidisciplinary Team
;An oncologist is a doctor that specializes in the treatment of all types of cancers. From a potential;diagnosis of breast cancer, a patient is referred to an oncologist who will manage all aspects of care.
Firstly, it falls on the oncologist to break the news of the diagnosis of breast cancer and the stage and type.
In the context of the breast cancer treatment team, the oncologist is a little like the;quarterback.
Following initial tests, if necessary, the oncologist will typically request additional imaging and biopsies. In addition, the oncologist will examine the pathology report in order to stage breast cancer.
Furthermore, it is the oncologist that ultimately decides the appropriate course of treatment. ;However, the oncologist liaises with the surgeon, the radiologist, the radiation oncologist and the pathologist.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
Radiation For Metastatic Breast Cancer
Sometimes breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body. When this happens, the breast cancer is called metastatic or stage IV.
If youve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and are having symptoms, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy to:
- ease pain
- lower the risk of a cancer-weakened bone breaking
- open a blocked airway to improve breathing
- reduce pressure on a pinched spinal cord or nerve that might be causing pain, numbness, or weakness
- treat cancer that has spread to the brain
The radiation dose and schedule to treat metastatic breast cancer depends on a number of factors, including:
- the level of pain or amount of function lost
- the size of the cancer
- the location of the cancer
- the amount of previous radiation youve had
- the schedule for any other treatments
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Breast Cancer Treatment Options
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a very scary time. Once diagnosed, your cancer care team will discuss treatment options with you. Your treatment plan is tailored to you and based on many factors, including the stage of cancer, your age, general health and personal preferences, genetic testing, in addition to the presence of other medical issues. Its important to be educated about these choices in order to make the best decision for you.;There are two types of treatment for breast cancer:; local therapy and systematic therapy.;Each treatment option comes with its own risks and benefits, so youll want to weigh your options carefully.;