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Breast Cancer

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I) Anatomy of the breast

The breast is a gland designed to make milk.

II) What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells.

These abnormal growths are called tumors. Not all tumors are cancerous.

Non-cancerous tumors Ð'- benign

Cancerous tumors Ð'- malignant

If not treated the cancer may spread to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and the

second leading cause of cancer death next to lung cancer.

The incidence of breast cancer is very low in women in their twenties,

plateaus at 45 and the increase dramatically after fifty. Fifty

percent of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over sixty-five.

III) Risk factors

Early onset of menses/menstrual cycle prior to age 12


Diets high in saturated fats

Family history

Late or no pregnancies

Moderate alcohol intake


History of prior breast cancer

Estrogen replacement therapy

Therapeutic radiation to chest wall

Gene mutations

Moderate obesity


**Every woman is at some risk for breast cancer (does not necessarily mean that just because it does not run in your family that you will not develop breast cancer Ð'- According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 85% of women with breast cancer have a negative family history

IV) Symptoms/Early signs

A lump in or near your breast

A change in the size or shape of your breast

Veins on the surface become more prominent on one breast

Discharge from the nipple other than breast milk

Breast tenderness

Ridges or depression/pitting of the breast

A change in the way the breast feels

**The earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better your chances of beating it.

V) Breast cancer types

Ductal Carcinoma in-situ

Infiltrating Ductal Ð'- most common type

Medullary Carcinoma

Infiltrating Lobular

Tubular Carcinoma

Mucinous Carcinoma

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

VI) Screening and testing

Brest self exam

Breast physical exam Ð'- help to find lumps that women may miss with their own


Mammogram - include 2 views of both breasts

detect calcifications, cysts and fibroadenomas

Ultrasound Ð'- sends high frequency sound waves through the breast and converts

them to images Ð'- complements other testing

MRI Ð'- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Ð'- uses magnetic fields, no radiation to create

images of the body - Not used for general screening

CAT Ð'- Computer Axial Tomography Ð'- x-ray technique in two-dimensional slices

or cross-sections. Not for routine evaluations.

PET Scans Ð'- Positron Emission Tomography Ð'- patient is injected with a small

amount of radioactive material.

Biopsy Ð'- a small operation that removes tissue from an area of concern from the

body to get cells for microscope analysis.

Chest X-Ray - performed in those who have or ay have breast cancer to evaluate

the possibility that cancer may have spread to the lungs.

Bone Scan Ð'- to determine whether cancer has spread to any part of the bone


Blood Tests - there are several protein markers in the blood related to breast


VII) Stages of breast cancer

Breast cancer grows in stages with each stage being a more advanced form

of the disease.

The stages range from 0 to IV depending on which parts of the breast are affected.

Stage 0 Ð'- cancer is in the lining of a lobule or duct but not has spread elsewhere.

Stage I Ð'- Cancer has spread from the lobules or ducts to nearby breast tissue.

Stage II Ð'- fits the criteria of stage I but the tumor size is larger.

Stage III Ð'- divided into 2 categories

Stage IIIA Ð'- invasive breast cancer

Stage IIIB Ð'- invasive breast cancer

Stage IV Ð'- the cancer has spread to other organs in the body.

Recurrent cancer Ð'-



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