How Is Breast Cancer Treated
If the tests find cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan to eradicate the breast cancer, to reduce the chance of cancer returning in the breast, as well as to reduce the chance of the cancer traveling to a location outside of the breast. Treatment generally follows within a few weeks after the diagnosis.
The type of treatment recommended will depend on the size and location of the tumor in the breast, the results of lab tests done on the cancer cells, and the stage, or extent, of the disease. Your doctor will usually consider your age and general health as well as your feelings about the treatment options.
Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her individual diagnosis.
Interactive Statistics With Seer*explorer
With SEER*Explorer, you can
- Create custom graphs and tables
SEER*Explorer is an interactive website that provides easy access to a wide range of SEER cancer statistics. It provides detailed statistics for a cancer site by gender, race, calendar year, age, and for a selected number of cancer sites, by stage and histology.
Read Also: Life Expectancy Of Metastatic Breast Cancer
Q: What Is Asco Doing To Reduce Disparities In Cancer Care
Im proud to say that ASCO has made addressing cancer disparities a key aspect of its mission and agenda for more than 2 decades. The first Advisory Group on Health Disparities was established in 2003, and today the ASCO Health Equity Committee develops programs and policies to address health disparities in all aspects of cancer care.
Increasing the diversity of nurses and doctors who help patients with cancer is a key goal. ASCOs Diversity in Oncology Initiative awards program helps recruit and retain underrepresented people in medicine, so they may follow careers in cancer. Efforts are also underway to educate providers and patients about health disparities in cancer care.
Another project helps medical practices that serve underserved populations improve the quality of their cancer care through mentorship and support from ASCO. And ASCO continues to advocate for health equity everywhere.
Read Also: Can Stage 2 Breast Cancer Be Cured
Socioeconomic Disparities In Breast Cancer
Breast cancer incidence, survival, mortality rates as well as its risk factors vary not only between race and ethnic groups but also with socioeconomic status . Studies have suggested that racial disparities in breast cancer are reduced compared to the disparity observed when social and economic factors are examined alone. When socioeconomic status is considered, certain studies suggest that racial disparities in breast carcinoma are smaller than when social and economic factors are examined alone, but these disparities still persist . Socioeconomic determinants affecting disparity in breast cancer mortality involve poverty, culture, and social injustice .
Immune And Excretory Systems
In the later stages of breast cancer, the tumors have spread to other lymph nodes. The underarms are some of the first affected areas. This is because of how close they are to the breasts. You may feel tenderness and swelling under your arms.
Other lymph nodes can become affected because of the lymphatic system. While this system is usually responsible for transmitting healthy lymph throughout the body, it can also spread cancer tumors.
Tumors may spread through the lymphatic system to the lungs and liver. If the lungs are affected, you might experience:
- chronic cough
Don’t Miss: Fish Test Breast Cancer
Social Determinants Of Health
Cancer disparities reflect the interplay among many factors, including social determinants of health, behavior, biology, and geneticsall of which can have profound effects on health, including cancer risk and outcomes.
Certain groups in the United States experience cancer disparities because they are more likely to encounter obstacles in getting health care.
For example, people with low incomes, low health literacy, long travel distances to screening sites, or who lack health insurance, transportation to a medical facility, or paid medical leave are less likely to have recommended cancer screening tests and to be treated according to guidelines than those who dont encounter these obstacles.
People who do not have reliable access to health care are also more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancer that might have been treated more effectively if diagnosed earlier.
Some groups are disproportionately affected by cancer due to environmental conditions. People who live in communities that lack clean water or air may be exposed to cancer-causing substances.
The built environment can also influence behaviors that raise ones risk of cancer. For example, people who live in neighborhoods that lack affordable healthy foods or safe areas for exercise are more likely to have poor diets, be physically inactive, and obese, all of which are risk factors for cancer.
What Is Breast Cancer
Cells in the body normally divide only when new cells are needed. Sometimes, cells in a part of the body grow and divide out of control, which creates a mass of tissue called a tumor. If the cells that are growing out of control are normal cells, the tumor is called benign. If, however, the cells that are growing out of control are abnormal and don’t function like the body’s normal cells, the tumor is called malignant .
Cancers are named after the part of the body from which they originate. Breast cancer originates in the breast tissue. Like other cancers, breast cancer can invade and grow into the tissue surrounding the breast. It can also travel to other parts of the body and form new tumors, a process called metastasis.
Also Check: Breast Cancer Stage 4 Life Expectancy
Taking Charge: Who Gets Breast Cancer
There are no rules about who gets this disease. The two most significant risk factors are being a woman, and increasing age. However, there are other factors that may increase your risk, and some that may lower it.
The development of breast cancer may be influenced by factors that affect the levels of female hormones that circulate in your body throughout life. These factors include the age when you began your menstrual period, the number of times you have been pregnant, your age at first pregnancy, whether you have breastfed your children, and your level of physical activity.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
There are many different signs and symptoms of breast cancer, so regularly checking your breasts for anything different or new is important.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. Getting to know what your breasts look and feel like normally means its easier to spot any unusual changes and check them with your doctor. Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit. You might feel the lump, but not see it.
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
- A change in skin texture i.e. puckering or dimpling of the skin
- A change in the colour of the breast the breast may look red or inflamed
- Rash, crusting or changes to the nipple
- Any unusual discharge from either nipple
Over a third of women in the UK do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer.
According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Breast Cancer Now, a third of those who do check their breasts for possible signs and symptoms dont feel confident that they would notice a change.
Asked what stops or prevents them from checking their breasts more regularly,over half forgetting to check, over a third not being in the habit of checking, a fifth not feeling confident in checking their breasts, not knowing how to check , not knowing what to look for and being worried about finding a new or unusual change .
Some factors are outside our control, including:
Don’t Miss: How Fast Can Breast Cancer Grow
What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
The most common types of breast cancer are:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma. This cancer starts in the milk ducts of the breast. It then breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the surrounding tissue in the breast. This is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of cases.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ is ductal carcinoma in its earliest stage, or precancerous . In situ refers to the fact that the cancer hasn’t spread beyond its point of origin. In this case, the disease is confined to the milk ducts and has not invaded nearby breast tissue. If untreated, ductal carcinoma in situ may become invasive cancer. It is almost always curable.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma. This cancer begins in the lobules of the breast where breast milk is produced, but has spread to surrounding tissues in the breast. It accounts for 10 to 15% of breast cancers. This cancer can be more difficult to diagnose with mammograms.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ is a marker for cancer that is only in the lobules of the breast. It isn’t a true cancer, but serves as a marker for the increased risk of developing breast cancer later, possibly in both or either breasts. Thus, it is important for women with lobular carcinoma in situ to have regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Age And Sex Risk Factors In Breast Cancer Disparities
Age and sex are considered important risk factors in breast cancer incidence rates and mortality. Breast cancer incidence rates are higher among Blacks than Whites for women under age 45. It is rarely diagnosed in women younger than 25 years of age. The median age a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer is 61 years. The median age of diagnosis for black women is 58 years and 62 years for White women. The median age at breast cancer death is 68 years for all races 62 years for Black women and 69 years for White women . Approximately 252,710 women and 2470 men are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Men have a 1 in 1000 risk of developing breast cancer over his lifetime whereas approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Siegel and colleagues estimated that about 41,070 people will die from breast cancer in 2017 .
Don’t Miss: How Long Does Breast Cancer Take To Kill
Radiation For Breast Cancer Can Increase Heart Risks
When my mother was treated for breast cancer several years ago, she had just one objective in mind: to eradicate the cancer. For her, radiation therapy was the best way to do that.
Radiation, on its own or coupled with other treatments, has given many women like my mother the chance to survive their breast cancer. Yet years later, some of these women are encountering a residual side effect from their radiationheart disease.
A new research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicineestimates that the increased lifetime risk for a heart attack or other major heart event in women whove had breast cancer radiation is between 0.5% and 3.5%. The risk is highest among women who get radiation to the left breastunderstandable, since thats where the heart is located.
The heart effects of radiation begin emerging as soon as five years after treatment, according to a large European study out earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine. That study also found that, for every 1 gray of radiation , a womans heart risk rises by 7.4%. Even small doses of radiation can cause trouble, says Dr. Alphonse Taghian, professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School and chief of breast radiation oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally
All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.
Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.
Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.
In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.
You May Like: Side Effects Of Hormone Blockers For Breast Cancer
Black Women And Breast Cancer: The Facts
Previously, Black women were found to have a slightly lower incidence rate of breast cancer than White women, but the gap has closed and the medical community is not sure why. Whats most striking is that the mortality rates between the two are markedly different, with Black women having a 40% higher likelihood of dying from breast cancer than women of other races.
In the early 1990s, breast cancer rates were among the lowest of any race, but over the past 20 years, despite the universal drop in mortality rates, there has been a rise in the incidence of breast cancer in Black women.
For women under 50, the disparity is even greater: The mortality rate among young Black women is double that of young White women. One reason could be the higher likelihood of triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive and treatment-resistant subtype, in Black women.
The HR+/HER2- subtype makes up more than half of all breast cancer cases in Black women. They also experience an increased risk of breast cancer-related death among those diagnosed with stage 2-3 HR+/HER2-.
Another contributor is delayed diagnosis and treatment, which is the result of persistent socioeconomic gaps and lack of access to quality care for Black women.
Despite advances in treatment that have dramatically reduced breast cancer mortality, the positive effects have not equally benefited all groups.
Lung Cancer Risks By Race/ethnicity
Most cases of lung cancer are attributed to cigarette smoke and exposure to radon and other harmful substances. Overall, the population most likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer is African American men. One might think its because African Americans smoke more, but that is not the case. Research suggests that white men are actually more likely to be smokers and to smoke more often than black men.
Also Check: Stage 3 Advanced Breast Cancer
What Are Cancer Disparities
According to the National Cancer Institute , cancer disparities are differences in cancer statistics. These include new cases, screening rates, stage at diagnosis, and death. Cancer disparities can also be seen in cancer outcomessome population groups may be steadily improving, while others are improving at lower rates or falling behind.
Q: How Do Health Disparities Affect People With Cancer
The bottom line is: Cancer outcomes are worse in people who experience health disparities.
Why? Because other diseases affect our ability to treat cancer well. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and infections all disproportionately impact Black communities. These health disparities can make cancer treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and other systemic treatments, and radiation therapy much harder to give, or treatments may cause more severe side effects. Factors that lead to health disparitiesincluding poverty, socioeconomic factors, lack of trust in doctors and medicine, low literacy, and inadequate health insurancecreate barriers to good care along the entire cancer continuum, from prevention and screening through treatment and end-of-life care.
Socioeconomic factors such as job security play a major role in treatment decisions and, ultimately, cancer outcomes. Ive seen this firsthand in my community outreach in many cities, including my work in Boston and Winston-Salem. For instance, I have talked with women around the country who felt forced to choose a mastectomy instead of more time-consuming, daily radiation treatments that may preserve the breast because they worried about being able to take time off from work or the potential loss of pay.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Prevalence rates of triple negative breast cancer differ by race and ethnicity.
- Progesterone receptor-negative
TNBC is more common among Black and African American women than among women of other ethnicities . TNBC may also be more common among Hispanic women compared to white and non-Hispanic white women .
TNBC is often aggressive. TNBC is more likely than estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers to recur, at least within the first 5 years after diagnosis .
Does Race Or Ethnicity Affect Breast Cancer Risk
All women should be aware of their risk for breast cancer. It can affect women of every age, race, and ethnic group. However, the rates of developing and dying from breast cancer vary among different racial and ethnic groups.
According to the National Cancer Institute, white, non-Hispanic women have the highest overall incidence rate for breast cancer among U.S. racial/ethnic groups. Native Americans and native Alaskans have the lowest rate. Among women under age 40, African-American women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than white women. African-American women also have the highest death rate from breastcancer. Native Americans and native Alaskans, along with Asian-American women, have the lowest death rate.
Several factors have been found to affect the breastcancer incidence and death rates among racial and ethnic groups. Differences in certain lifestyle behaviors — such as diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use — can influence the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and breast cancer.
The higher death rate from breast cancer among African American women has been linked to the stage, or extent, of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. Studies show that African-American women tend to seek treatment when their cancers are more advanced and there are less treatment options. A higher death rate in this population may also in part be due to a higher rate of triple negative breast cancers diagnosed in African-American women.
Recommended Reading: Stage Iiia Breast Cancer Prognosis