What Is Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors by blocking the bodys ability to produce hormones or by interfering with effects of hormones on breast cancer cells. Tumors that are hormone insensitive do not have hormone receptors and do not respond to hormone therapy.
Hormone therapy for breast cancer should not be confused with menopausal hormone therapy treatment with estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone to help relieve symptoms of menopause. These two types of therapy produce opposite effects: hormone therapy for breast cancer blocks the growth of HR-positive breast cancer, whereas MHT can stimulate the growth of HR-positive breast cancer. For this reason, when a woman taking MHT is diagnosed with HR-positive breast cancer she is usually asked to stop that therapy.
The Risk Of Metastatic Breast Cancer
If youve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, youre not alone. Its estimated there were more than 168,000 women living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. in 2020 . Men can also get metastatic breast cancer.
The risk of metastasis after breast cancer treatment varies from person to person. It depends on:
- The biology of the tumor
- The stage at the time of the original diagnosis
- The treatments for the original cancer
Identifiable Breast Cancer Symptoms
While getting regular screenings is an important part of breast cancer prevention, familiarizing yourself with the most common breast cancer symptoms can be a big help as well. If detected early, before it can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99 percent. There are 8 basic symptoms of breast cancer to be aware of.
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Tumours Shrunk ‘dramatically’ In 11 Days
Health editor, BBC News website
A pair of drugs can dramatically shrink and eliminate some breast cancers in just 11 days, UK doctors have shown.
They said the “surprise” findings, reported at the European Breast Cancer Conference, could mean some women no longer need chemotherapy.
The drugs, tested on 257 women, target a specific weakness found in one-in-ten breast cancers.
Experts said the findings were a “stepping stone” to tailored cancer care.
The doctors leading the trial had not expected or even intended to achieve such striking results.
They were investigating how drugs changed cancers in the short window between a tumour being diagnosed and the operation to remove it.
But by the time surgeons came to operate, there was no sign of cancer in some patients.
Prof Judith Bliss, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said the impact was “dramatic”.
She told the BBC News website: “We were particularly surprised by these findings as this was a short-term trial.
“It became apparent some had a complete response. It’s absolutely intriguing, it is so fast.”
The drugs were lapatinib and trastuzumab, which is more widely known as Herceptin.
They both target HER2 – a protein that fuels the growth of some women’s breast cancers.
Herceptin works on the surface of cancerous cells while lapatinib is able to penetrate inside the cell to disable HER2.
Current therapy for HER2 positive breast cancers is surgery, followed by chemotherapy and Herceptin.
Tips For Chest Diseases
- There is no absolute or definite technique to prevent bosom cancer.
- Routine screening and early detection remain the most effective methods for reducing breast cancer deaths. Regardless, screening does not prevent the development of bosom illness.
- Drugs may be used to reduce the risk of developing bosom cancer in certain women who are at high risk of developing the disease. There is no evidence to suggest that these medications should be used in women who are at low risk.
- Reduced hazard components can help to reduce the risk of developing bosom malignant growth:
Maintain a healthy weight.
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Relationships With Friends And Family
It’s not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, don’t be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself, if that’s what you need.
Want to know more?
- Healthtalkonline: How breast cancer affects families
Treatment Of Breast Cancer Stages I
The stage of your breast cancer is an important factor in making decisions about your treatment.
Most women with breast cancer in stages I, II, or III are treated with surgery, often followed by radiation therapy. Many women also get some kind of drug therapy. In general, the more the breast cancer has spread, the more treatment you will likely need. But your treatment options are affected by your personal preferences and other information about your breast cancer, such as:
- If the cancer cells contain hormone receptors. That is, if the cancer is estrogen receptor -positive or progesterone receptor -positive.
- If the cancer cells have large amounts of the HER2 protein
- How fast the cancer is growing
- Your overall health
- If you have gone through menopause or not
Talk with your doctor about how these factors can affect your treatment options.
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What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer
There are two different staging systems for breast cancer. One is called anatomic staging while the other is prognostic staging. The anatomic staging is defined by the areas of the body where the breast cancer is found and helps to define appropriate treatment. The prognostic staging helps medical professionals communicate how likely a patient is to be cured of the cancer assuming that all appropriate treatment is given.
The anatomic staging system is as follows:
Stage 0 breast disease is when the disease is localized to the milk ducts .
Stage I breast cancer is smaller than 2 cm across and hasn’t spread anywhere including no involvement in the lymph nodes.
Stage II breast cancer is one of the following:
- The tumor is less than 2 cm across but has spread to the underarm lymph nodes .
- The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm .
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm .
Stage III breast cancer is also called “locally advanced breast cancer.” The tumor is any size with cancerous lymph nodes that adhere to one another or to surrounding tissue . Stage IIIB breast cancer is a tumor of any size that has spread to the skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes .
Stage IV breast cancer is defined as a tumor, regardless of size, that has spread to areas away from the breast, such as bones, lungs, liver or brain.
Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan. You should also talk about the possible side effects of the specific treatment plan and palliative care options.
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How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
During your regular physical examination, your doctor will take a thorough personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform and/or order one or more of the following:
- Breast examination: During the breast exam, the doctor will carefully feel the lump and the tissue around it. Breast cancer usually feels different than benign lumps.
- Digital mammography: An X-ray test of the breast can give important information about a breast lump. This is an X-ray image of the breast and is digitally recorded into a computer rather than on a film. This is generally the standard of care .
- Ultrasonography: This test uses sound waves to detect the character of a breast lump whether it is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass . This may be performed along with the mammogram.
Based on the results of these tests, your doctor may or may not request a biopsy to get a sample of the breast mass cells or tissue. Biopsies are performed using surgery or needles.
After the sample is removed, it is sent to a lab for testing. A pathologist a doctor who specializes in diagnosing abnormal tissue changes views the sample under a microscope and looks for abnormal cell shapes or growth patterns. When cancer is present, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is and whether it has spread beyond the ducts or lobules .
Further Tests For Breast Cancer
If a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, more tests will be needed to determine the stage and grade of the cancer, and to work out the best method of treatment.
If your cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, you’ll have further tests in the screening centre before being referred for treatment.
What Are Hormones And Hormone Receptors
Hormones are substances that function as chemical messengers in the body. They affect the actions of cells and tissues at various locations in the body, often reaching their targets through the bloodstream.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced by the ovaries in premenopausal women and by some other tissues, including fat and skin, in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women and in men. Estrogen promotes the development and maintenance of female sex characteristics and the growth of long bones. Progesterone plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
Estrogen and progesterone also promote the growth of some breast cancers, which are called hormone-sensitive breast cancers. Hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells contain proteins called hormone receptors that become activated when hormones bind to them. The activated receptors cause changes in the expression of specific genes, which can stimulate cell growth.
Breast cancers that lack ERs are called ER negative, and if they lack both ER and PR they may be called HR negative.
Approximately 67%80% of breast cancers in women are ER positive . Approximately 90% of breast cancers in men are ER positive and approximately 80% are PR positive .
Dietary Changes To Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Oct 10, 2014Carly FraserSave For Later
A healthy diet is always good for you, but recent studies have shown that diets with less saturated fats and more raw vegetables and fruit can considerably reduce the risk of breast cancer in women over the age of forty.
Although breast cancer is not directly linked to a specific dietary change, eating healthier can keep your body in shape to fight off the disease. A healthy diet will boost your immune system, regulate your metabolism, and help you reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer.
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How To Lower Inflammation
âIf you ask me if there are particular drugs or a particular approach thatâs definitely proven to make a big difference, the answer is no at this moment,â Ueno says. âI think something more exciting will come out down the road. Even 10 years ago, nobody was excited about immunotherapy in breast cancer and now thereâs a dramatic shift in how we approach it. I think whatâs going to happen over the next 10 years is that weâll understand inflammation in more detail and what causes it so we know exactly what medical intervention we need to improve the outcome of breast cancer.â
In the meantime, since things like stress, obesity, being sedentary, and poor diet can play a role in inflammation, lifestyle changes can really help, Lynch says. Plus, Ueno adds, âgeneral lifestyle modifications benefit not just inflammation, but other health conditions too.â
Hereâs what all three experts recommend to reduce chronic inflammation:
How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.
In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.
The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.
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Causes Of Breast Cancer: How Did This Happen
When youre told that you have breast cancer, its natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesnt, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cells DNA.
How Do Tamoxifen Raloxifene Anastrozole And Exemestane Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
If you are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, four medications tamoxifen , raloxifene , anastrozole , and exemestane may help reduce your risk of developing this disease. These medications act only to reduce the risk of a specific type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for about two-thirds of all breast cancers.
Tamoxifen and raloxifene are in a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators . These drugs work by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue by attaching to estrogen receptors in breast cells. Because SERMs bind to receptors, estrogen is blocked from binding. Estrogen is the fuel that makes most breast cancer cells grow. Blocking estrogen prevents estrogen from triggering the development of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Anastrozole and exemestane are in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors . These drugs work by blocking the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors do this by blocking the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which is needed to make estrogen.
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Common Presenting Breast Cancer Symptoms
i) A painless, firm breast lump
The most common presenting breast complaint, for most women who visit their family physician, is a painless, firm breast lump.
In about 70% of cases, a woman discovers the lump herself during a self breast examination.
ii) Other Less Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer
However, there are a few less common symptoms of breast cancer that some people may not be aware of. These more infrequent symptoms include:-
- enlargement of the breast
- shrinking of the breast
- pain in the breast
- nipple retraction
- nipple erosion . Often, nipple erosion is symptomatic of Pagets disease, which in turn often indicates an underlying ductal carcinoma.
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iii) Nipple Discharge
Women also sometimes complain of nipple discharge. Indeed, nipple discharge usually tends to be benign. However, a discharge is more suspicious if it is:-
- Unprovoked: That is you are not breast feeding. Furthermore, nothing has damaged or irritated the nipple.
- Unilateral: That is the nipple charge only occurs on one side
- Uni-orificial: So this means occurring in a single duct
- A serous or bloody discharge.
How Much Do Tamoxifen And Raloxifene Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Multiple studies have shown that both tamoxifen and raloxifene can reduce the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in healthy postmenopausal women who are at high risk of developing the disease. Tamoxifen lowered the risk by 50 percent. Raloxifene lowered the risk by 38 percent. Overall, the combined results of these studies showed that taking tamoxifen or raloxifene daily for five years reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by at least one-third. In one trial directly comparing tamoxifen with raloxifene, raloxifene was found to be slightly less effective than tamoxifen for preventing breast cancer.
Both tamoxifen and raloxifene have been approved for use to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Tamoxifen is approved for use in both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women . Raloxifene is approved for use only in postmenopausal women.
Less common but more serious side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include blood clots to the lungs or legs. Other serious side effects of tamoxifen are an increased risk for cataracts and endometrial cancers. Other common, less serious shared side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
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