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Breast Cancer Treatment

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Breast Cancer Treatment

Only lung cancer kills more women each year in the United States than breast cancer does. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over
184,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in women in 1996 (ACS Breast).
Although these statistics are alarming, there are a number of treatment options available for those that are diagnosed with breast cancer.
The best way to treat any disease is to prevent it. Since little is known about breast cancer, there are no established rules for prevention. The
ACS recommends that women age twenty and older perform monthly breast self-exams, and it also suggests clinical examinations every three years (ACS Breast).
Mammography is also a wonderful tool for detecting tumors; however, there is conflicting data on when and how often women should have mammograms. What is known is that mammography is the best way to determine if a palpable lump is actually cancerous or not.
Treatment methods for breast cancer can be lumped in two major categories; local or systemic. Local treatments are used to destroy or control the cancer cells in a specific area of the body. Surgery and radiation therapy are considered local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells anywhere in the body. Chemotherapy and hormonal therapy are considered systemic treatments.
Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. Although there are many different types of breast cancer surgery, they all fit into a few basic categories. An operation that aims to remove most or all of the breast is called a mastectomy. If at all possible, doctors shy away from mastectomies due to the side effects which include loss of strength in the closest arm, swelling of the arm, and limitation of shoulder movement. If a mastectomy must be performed, the physician will often suggest post surgical reconstruction of the breast (Kushner 37).
Another type of breast cancer surgery is called breast-sparing surgery.
This category would include lumpectomies and segmental mastectomies. In this situation, doctors remove only the tumor and make an attempt at sparing the rest of the breast tissue. These procedures are often followed by radiation therapy to destroy any canc...

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...nbsp; Contrary to the negative press commonly attributed to breast cancer, there are viable treatment options for those diagnosed with this terrible affliction. The push for increased research in breast cancer is even coming from the White House. President Bill Clinton mentioned his support for increased funding for research and prevention in his recent State of the Union
Address, and he urged insurance companies to pay for more mammograms. Hopefully, with the support from the White House, new treatments can be found for breast cancer, and maybe with a little luck we will have a cure by the turn of the century. Works Cited

American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer. Document 004070.

American Cancer Society. For Women Facing Breast Cancer. 1995.

Kushner, Rose. If You've Thought About Breast Cancer. Kensington, MD: Rose
Kushner Breast Cancer Advisory Center, 1994.

LaTour, Kathy. The Breast Cancer Companion. New York: William Morrow and
Company, Inc., 1993.

National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. What You Need to
Know About Breast Cancer. Revised August 1995.
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