Symptoms and Treatment of Breast Cancer

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Symptoms and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women and has the highest fatality rate of all cancers affecting this sex. It is the leading cause of death among women aged 35-54. In 1999 an estimated 175,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. That is one woman every three minutes. At the same time 43,000 will die, at the rate of one every two minutes. The incidence of men diagnosed with breast-cancer' class='brand-secondary'>breast cancer is rare, however it does occur. Approximately 1,300 men a year are diagnosed, and 400 die annually due to the disease. A total of 75% of all breast cancers occur in women with no known risk factors. 80% of breast cancers occur in women aged 50 and up. The mortality rate would decrease if every woman over 50 was informed and followed guidelines. When confined to the breast, the survival rate is 95%. Studies have shown that more white women than black women get breast cancer, however more black women die of breast cancer because they are not diagnosed at an early stage.

Most breast cancers appear as a slowly growing, painless mass, though a vague discomfort may be present. Physical signs include a retracted nipple, bleeding from the nipple, distorted areola or breast contour, skin dimpling over the lesion, attachment of the mass to surrounding tissues including the underlying fascia and overlying skin, and enlarged lymph nodes. In most advanced stages of the disease the skin nodules with ultimate breakdown and ulcer formation may be seen. Metastases should be sought immediately so that further spread will not be a factor. Among the common sites of metastases are the lungs and pleura, the skeleton (specifically the spine, pelvis, and skull), and the liver. Whenever possible, distan...

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...reatest use in palliation of symptoms or in delaying the advancement of breast cancer. It is most often combined with radiotherapy when cancer recurs following a mastectomy and when the tumour is so advanced that surgery is not indicated or is palliative. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is useful in patients that have a high risk of developing recurrent cancer after a mastectomy.. Chemotherapy is used in the management of patients with recurrent breast cancer usually after the failure of previous hormonal manipulations. A variety of chemotherapeutic agents are used in various combinations, sometimes with a corticosteroid to suppress endogenous adrenal function or with the estrogen antagonist tamoxifen. The agents in chemotherapy have demonstrated value in halting or delaying the appearance of metastases, especially in premenopausal patients, and in treating recurrences.

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