Although cancer is often thought of as a single disease, the term actually refers to a group of related
diseases that begin in the cells (The Mayo Clinic, 2012, p. 18). According to the Canadian Cancer Society,
breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death from cancer in
Canadian women (Canadian Cancer Society 's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics., 2015). Breast
cancer is a common term for a cancerous tumor that starts in the cells that line the ducts (ductal
carcinoma) and lobes (lobular carcinoma) of the breast (The Mayo Clinic, 2012, pp. 45-47).
Like many other types of cancer, breast cancer may be asymptomatic initially. In some cases, however,
the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast that the patient or their physician can
feel. A lump that is painless, hard, and has uneven edges is more likely to be cancer. But sometimes
cancers can be tender, soft, and rounded (Symptoms of Breast Cancer, 2015). Other times, tumors are
found through routine screening using advanced imaging techniques such as ultrasound or
mammography. Evaluation of breast cancer includes clinical examination, imaging such as
mammography and/or ultrasound, and fine needle aspirate (FNA) biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. FNA
biopsy is used to confirm whether or not cancer is present and if it is in situ (non-invasive) or invasive.
Following diagnosis, conventional treatment would include a lumpectomy with or without removal of
sentinel lymph nodes. Both the lump and lymph nodes undergo pathology to determine the staging of
the cancer (I, II a and II b, III, IV) and which course of treatment would be best suited to the tumor type.
This is done through molecular subtyping. The...
... middle of paper ...
... radiation therapy for previous cancers or occupational exposures to
materials such as benzene, styrene, solvents, dyes, radioisotopes, fertilizers and pesticides (The Mayo
Clinic, 2012, p. 72). Toxic chemicals, heavy metals, organochlorides (DDT, hexachlorobenzene, dioxins)
and air pollution (Alschuler & Gazella, 2010, p. 24) have also been identified as substances that increase
Establishing a healthy lifestyle can help to prevent breast cancer as well as offer an integrative approach
to breast cancer treatment. In fact, because poor food choices can play a role in the development of
many cancers, a healthy diet should be viewed as a critical part of the first line of defense (Alschuler &
Gazella, 2010, p. 57). Some health-promoting guidelines are included on the next 2 pages as well as a 7-
day meal plan and recipes that will serve as an example wellness plan.
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