The facts about breast cancer awareness | News – The Albany Herald

Posted: October 8, 2019 at 1:45 am

ALBANY An important question to consider during this special months is What is breast cancer? Breast cancer occurs when normal cells in the breast mutate and grow uncontrollably.

Breast cancer is the most ubiquitous form of cancer in women worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 240,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Breast cancer continues to rank second, after lung cancer, as a cause of cancer death in women in the United States, and it is a leading cause of premature mortality for women. In 2012, deaths from breast cancer accounted for 783 000 years of potential life lost and an average of 19 years of life lost per death.

Screening describes the process of looking for signs of a particular disease, such as breast cancer, before a person has noticeable symptoms. The goal of screening tests is to detect cancer at an early stage when it can be treated and may be cured. Researchers hope to better understand those who are predisposed to a particular type of cancer. For example, they look at the persons age, their family history, and certain exposures during their lifetime, which helps the physician recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.

Early detection has been shown to be associated with reduced breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Breast cancer screening detects the breasts for early signs of cancer in patients without any symptoms.

Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also may be used to screen women who have a high risk of breast cancer.

Other screening tests have been or are being studied in clinical trials, including:

Screening tests for breast cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

Who should be screened for breast cancer? Opinions regarding optimal breast cancer screening age can differ. Its important to talk to ones doctor or nurse about the benefits and drawbacks of screening.

The American Cancer society commissioned a systematic evidence review of the breast cancer screening literature:

They recommend that women with an average risk of breast cancer should undergo regular screening mammography starting at age 45 years.

Women aged 45 to 54 years should be screened annually.

Women 55 years and older should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue screening annually.

Women should have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 years. Women should continue screening mammography as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.

The primary benefits of screening are to find cancer early and lower the chances of dying of breast cancer. Drawbacks include:

False-positive test results can occur.

False-positive results can lead to extra testing and cause anxiety.

False-negative test results can delay diagnosis and treatment.

Finding breast cancer may lead to breast cancer treatment and side effects, but it may not improve a womans health or help her live longer.

Mammography exposes the breast to low doses of radiation.

Pain or discomfort during a mammogram.

If these tests show any suspicious findings, a more detailed test is ordered. A biopsy is undertaken and sent for tissue diagnosis.

Treatment options for breast cancer patients include:

Mastectomy is surgery to remove the whole breast.

Lumpectomy is surgery to remove the cancer and a section of healthy tissue around it.

Radiation therapy that kills cancer cells.

Chemotherapy The medical term for medicines that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.

Hormone therapy Some forms of breast cancer grow in response to hormones.

Targeted therapy Some medicines work only on cancers that have certain characteristics.

There are medications to help prevent breast cancer for women who are at high risk. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer should ask their doctor what they can do to prevent cancer. Genetic testing also assists in identifying genes that can cause breast cancer. Once an abnormal gene is identified, surgical and hormonal interventions can reduce or prevent breast cancer.

Cancers that can be screened:

Breast cancer The main test used to screen for breast cancer is mammogram.

Colon cancer There are multiple screening tests for colon cancer.

Cervical cancer Tests used to screen for cervical cancer is the Pap smear.

Prostate cancer Test used to screen for prostate cancer is a PSA test.

Lung cancer Test used to screen for lung cancer is a low-dose CT scan.

Ovarian cancer To screen for ovarian cancer, a blood test called CA 125, and an ultrasound, or both, are used.

Yash Jani, a senior at Deerfield-Windsor School, plans to study medicine upon high school graduation.

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The facts about breast cancer awareness | News - The Albany Herald

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