Beauty Fitness and Dermatology

Breast Cancer Prevention and Causes - Treatment, Surgery and Laser Information for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the development of abnormal cells in the breast tissue, forming a lump or tumor. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and there are atleast 15 different kinds, depending on the site of development. All have different rates of growth and varying tendencies to metastasize (spreads to other areas). It is normally found when a suspecious lump is detected, but 90% of all breast lumps are benign. Other signs of cancer are a change in breast size or shape, a swelling in the armpit or upper arm, nipple retraction, thickening, dimpling or ulceration of skin and a lump on the nipple.

Women are recommended to examine their breasts once a to detect any changes or lumps. If breast self-examination detects a lump, the family doctor should be consulted, who will normally refer the woman to a hospital clinic for further investigation. mammography to locate the lump or ultrasound examination may be carried out.

Thermography can also locate a cancer nodule as it is hotter than surrounding tissue. If a lump is confirmed, it needs to be examined by draining some cells from it via a needle (needle aspiration), Biopsy or surgical removal. The tissue removed is tested for cancer and, if positive, treatment begins as soon as possible. Further tests will be done to establish if the cancer has spread-possibly including bone and liver scans. This helps to determine the stage of development of the cancer, which affects the course of treatment.

Current convention means that breast cancer is usually treated surgically along with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Surgery used to involve the removal of the whole breast, but this is less common today.

Techniques of lumpectomy or segmentectomy remove the breast lump and some surrounding tissue, with follow-up radiotherapy.

Mastectomy (removal of the breast) may still be necessary if the lump is not easily accessible, and some women prefer this so that the disease cannot recur. Radiotherapy kills any remaining cancer cells using gamma radiation or X-Rays.

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic drugs to kill cancer cells both in the breast and elsewhere in the body. Hormone therapy may be used, as estrogen and progesterone influence all breast cells, including cancerous ones. However, many cancers are hormone-dependent. Estrogen promotes growth of cancer cells, so it may be advisable to stop the production of estrogen. This used to be done by surgically removing the ovaries, adrenal glands or pituitary gland, but today certain drugs are given instead.

Modern treatments have greatly improved the quality and quantity of life for breast cancer patients. In many cases, the disease can be cured, and survival times are increasing. Women should not regard diagnosis of breast cancer as an automatic death sentence.

Many try complementary therapy in the form of vitamin and mineral supplements, acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, healing, massage, homoeopathy, counseling, visualization, deep relaxation techniques and meditation. These may help lessen the side-effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, aid recovery and help provide a positive boost to self-confidence.

Breast cancer has severe mental and emotional effects on a woman and her partner. Many women are now treated in specialist cancer units, where surgeons have more experience of treating the disease and specialist breast-care nurses offer support and advice from diagnosis onwards. There are also many self-help groups that offer help and support.

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