Date: 03 Oct 2011 | Posted by: Dr. Olivier | 0 Comment |
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual health campaign serves to increase awareness of the breast cancer and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of breast cancer. It is critical that all women know the facts, as breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, other than skin cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, in 2011 there will be:
About 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women, and 1,700 in men.
About 57,650 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
About 39,520 women and 450 men will die from breast cancer.
The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is approximately 1 in 8.
RISK FACTORS FOR BREAST CANCER
Risk factors you cannot change:
Gender: Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men.
Age: Risk of breast cancer increases with age. Two thirds of women with breast cancer are over 55 when diagnosed.
Family and personal history of breast cancer: Women with a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer have 2 times increased risk of developing breast cancer. Although, family history increases the risk of breast cancer, over 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer. A woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast.
Genetics: BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to development of breast cancer in about 5% to 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Women with these gene changes have up to an 80% chance of getting breast cancer during their lifetimes.
Medical & Other Factors: Dense breast tissue (often identified by a mammogram), past radiation therapy to the breast or chest area, exposure to DES, a history of hormone treatments—such as estrogen and progesterone are associated with breast cancer.
Risk factors related to lifestyle choices:
Not having children or having them later in life: Women who have had not had children, or who had their first child after age 30, have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.
Alcohol: Women who have one drink a day have a very small increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, women who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. The American Cancer Society suggests limiting the amount you drink to one drink a day.
Being overweight or obese: Women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of breast cancer. This risk is higher if the extra fat is around the waist.
Lack of exercise: Studies show that exercise reduces breast cancer risk. However, it is not known how much exercise is needed to reduce this risk. One study found that as little as 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2½ hours of brisk walking per week reduced the risk by 18%.
COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Change in the feel of breast or nipple: There may be tenderness, a lump or thickening in the breast.
Change in the look of the breast or nipple: There may be a change in the size or shape of the breast. The may become distorted, and inverted. The skin of the breast, areola or nipple may appear scaly, red or swollen or may resemble orange peel.
EARLY DETECTION: SCREENING
There have been recent reports stating that breast self exams are not needed and screening mammograms should be performed every two years beginning at age 50. However, the recommendation of the American Cancer Society is:
Breast self exam (BSE): BSE is an option for women in their 20s. Performing a BSE on a regular basis, allows a woman to get to know how her breasts normally look and feel, making it easier to notice changes.
Clinical breast exam: This should be performed by a medical professional every three years from age 20 to 39.
Mammogram: In women age 40 to 49 this should be performed every one to two years. In women age 50 and older it should be performed yearly.
BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
The purpose of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Surgery can also be done to find out whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm, to restore the breast’s shape after a mastectomy, or to relieve symptoms of advanced cancer. Below is a list of some of the most common types of breast cancer surgery.
Lumpectomy (breast-conserving surgery) is the removal of only the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. It is usually followed by radiation therapy.
Mastectomy is the removal of all of the breast tissue.
Lymph node removal or axillary lymph node dissection, can take place during lumpectomy and mastectomySome people qualify for the less-invasive sentinel lymph node dissection
Breast reconstruction is the rebuilding of the breast using a breast implant or flap after mastectomy and sometimes lumpectomy. Reconstruction can take place at the same time as cancer-removing surgery, or months to years later.
Prophylactic mastectomy is the removal of the breast to lower the risk of breast cancer in high-risk people.
Cryotherapy also called cryosurgery, uses extreme cold to freeze and kill cancer cells. Right now, cryotherapy is an experimental treatment for breast cancer.
Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells in the breast that may still be present after surgical removal of the breast cancer. Radiation can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 70%.
Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy which uses medicine to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body, including cells at the original cancer site and any cancer cells that may have spread to another part of the body. In many cases, a combination of two or more medicines will be used as chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Hormonal therapy medicines treat hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers by lowering the amount of the hormone estrogen in the body or by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells. The reduction of the amount of estrogen or blocking its action can reduce the risk of early-stage hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers coming back (recurring) after surgery. Hormonal therapy medicines can also be used to help shrink or slow the growth of advanced-stage hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.
There are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today. Great strides that have been made in early detection and treatment of breast cancer allowing most breast cancer survivors lead long and fulfilling lives.
About the author
Dr. Wendy-Ann Olivier is a female, board certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Olivier specializes in breast surgery, body contouring, and facial rejuvenation. Dr. Olivier also specializes in plastic surgery for African Americans.
Dr. Olivier brings to her practice, superior professional training blended with artistic skills. Dr. Olivier works with her patients to enhance their beauty, providing both balance and rejuvenation. Dr. Olivier is committed to providing her patients with individualized treatment plans to meet their special needs. She uses the latest techniques to give her patients a more youthful appearance. She strives to not only enhance beauty, but to improve overall wellness.