What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. (Skin cancer is first.) While men can get breast cancer, it is usually found in women.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 207,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and roughly 54,000 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer (the earliest form of breast cancer) diagnosed in 2010.
The exact cause of breast cancer is not known, but experts say a person’s risk increases with age and a family history of breast cancer or certain genetic factors. Smoking, drinking, being overweight and not exercising also appear to increase breast cancer risk.
Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
To give yourself the best chance at survival, the cancer should be caught in its earliest stage possible. That’s why doctors recommend that women over 40 have a mammogram every year, and women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of an annual check-up. The sooner breast cancer is detected, the more treatment options you may have and the greater your chances of surviving.
The following common treatment options may be used individually or in conjunction with one another.
Surgery. Surgery is used in breast cancer treatment to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Women can elect to have only part of their breast removed or the entire breast removed. If the tumor is small enough, a woman might choose to have only the lump and some tissue around it removed. After having part or all of the breast removed, women can have breast reconstruction surgery—sometimes, even immediately.
Radiation. During radiation therapy, high-energy rays are used to either kill cancer cells or shrink the tumor.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs—whether ingested as with a pill or given as a shot. These treatments are typically used to kill cancer cells that have spread to areas of the body outside the breast.
Why Parrish Medical Center?
At Parrish Medical Center, we make sure you never feel alone in your treatment and recovery. We’re here for you every step of the way. And we’re proud to have the best oncologists, radiation therapists and breast surgeons in the area.
Our breast health navigator works with patients to coordinate care. This helps ensure care is delivered when needed, provides education for better self-management, decreases patient and family anxiety, and improves patient safety and outcomes.
Women with a family history of breast cancer before the age of 50, or ovarian cancer at any age, may be concerned about inheriting BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 abnormalities (two genes linked with hereditary breast and ovarian cancers). PMC offers a simple blood test that helps determine your risk of developing BRCA-1 or BRCA-2-related breast or ovarian cancer. Work with your doctor to determine if you should have this test.