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Mammograms, Ultrasound or Breast Self Exam?

While some of the factors are unavoidable, am not saying that it's not treatable, the goal of the discussion is to diagnose and detect breast cancer as early as possible, and to give you the best achievable option against the disease. If breast tumors caused signs early in their growth, they would be easier to be detect and treated successfully. But tumors can grow and spread for years without causing any unusual symptoms. Mammograms, clinical breast exams (CBE) which are done by a doctor or a nurse and breast self exams (BSE) are the three ways to detect tumors.

Experts recommend the following guidelines for finding breast cancer early:

  • Women who are 50 and above should undergo mammograms every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.

  • Women who are 40 and above should have a mammogram every two years.

  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam by a health professional at least every three years.

  • Every woman who is in teens or post-menstruating should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast Self Exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.

Women with greater risks of breast cancer including women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and women who were treated for Hodgkin disease should undergo ultrasound and MRI.

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Together, these methods offer the best chance of finding breast cancer early. Typically, the earlier a cancer is detected and diagnosed, the most successful the treatment, thus enhancing the survival rate. A mammogram can often identify breast lumps that may be cancerous before physical symptoms develop; nevertheless, some cancers that are not detectable on a mammogram may still be felt by yourself or your nurse. You may not even want to know if a tumor is growing inside you, however, by doing your breast self exam regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally look and feel and you can more readily detect any signs or symptoms if a change occurs.

In the early stages of some types of abnormalities, the cancerous cells make a cluster and there is an increase in blood flow to the area. This increase in the number of small vessels may create a dark shadow or dark area when you go through your monthly screening. It's not only mammograms or ultrasound or breast clinical screening but all these techniques should make up your strategy against breast cancer.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Cancer is a disease that can affect any part of the body. Though it affects different areas, it has several characteristics that are common to all of the diseases. It starts with the occurrence of malignant cells in a specific area. It comes with several stages and as these stages advance, there is a high possibility that the malignant cells are going to spread to other parts.

In breast cancer, the disease can begin in any part of the breast. It can be on the milk duct lining or on the breast tissue. Either way, these malignant cells can multiply and spread not only on the entire breast area. The time that the cancer metastasizes, this is where secondary cancer comes in. Aside from the primary cancer, there is another form, one that has been an after-effect of the first one, only that it has advanced. Just like the primary cancer, it requires treatment in order to prevent it from causing further damage.

Metastatic breast cancer is type that has advanced its stage. Breast cancer, in a some cases, can be treated right away and the patient has a good chance of recovery. If it advances its stage, that's when metastatic breast cancer occurs. It is originally primary breast cancer but since the cancer has progressed, there are other surrounding organs that have been affected.

The selection of metastatic breast cancer treatment must be based on two things. The first one must be to help prevent further spread of the cells and stop it from causing damage. It must work to completely control the cancer cells. The other one includes treatment for the other symptoms that might come with the cancer by reason of its advancement.

Also, the choice of metastatic treatment can be between treatments normally administered in hospitals or normally known as conventional cancer treatment or those treatments that can be done anywhere or those known as alternative cancer treatment. Both of these treatments work to prevent further growth of the cancer cells as continuing such will only make the patient's condition worse and could be the cause of death.

Though chances may look slim, there are a lot of metastatic breast cancer treatment options out there that can help improve a patient's condition and chances for survival. Look and evaluate the patient carefully before which treatment to administer. The right combination of treatments could help save a patient's life.

There are a lot of ways to cure cancer. It's a matter of choosing which one is the best. Though difficult, there are many metastatic breast cancer treatment options to choose from.

Most Common Breast Cancer Treatment Options

With advancement in research there are many breast cancer treatment options to choose from and the one you are offered depends on certain factors. Scientists have recently claimed that they have discovered a new route to a potential breast cancer cure. Currently there are a combination of treatments available. The main treatments are surgery, hormone therapy, biological (Herceptin), radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These may be given individually or in combination depending on several factors such as:

  • the type of breast cancer present
  • whether menopause has occurred or not
  • the size of the tumor
  • the grade of the cancer cells
  • the stage of the cancer
  • whether particular receptors are present
  • the general health of the patient

All these factors will be taken into account by the doctor.

Cancers are given stages and grades to help doctors categorize and assess the tumor and to decide the appropriate treatments to give. Breast cancer stages consider whether the cancer has spread and how much it has grown. The grade means how the cancer cells appear when viewed through a microscope. There are three grades namely, low (grade 1 slow growing), intermediate grade (grade 2) and high grade (grade 3) which is a rapidly growing tumor. These have a higher risk of returning after initial treatment and if surgery has taken place to excise the tumor, a course of chemotherapy will likely be administered to destroy any lingering cancer cells and therefore reduce the risk of it returning. The grades and stages of breast cancer give a general rule of thumb as it is impossible to generalize about how a tumor will behave.

If the cancer has spread beyond the localized breast area and lymph nodes in the armpit then treatment my not include surgery but a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in conjunction with other treatments. The majority of people however start their treatment with surgery and there are different types of surgery that maybe offered depending on the position and size of the tumor. A mastectomy is where the whole breast is removed with a reconstruction possible later on. A lumpectomy is where the tumor itself is removed along with a small amount of surrounding breast tissue. Then course of radiotherapy focused on the breast will likely be offered.

There are many factors to consider when choosing treatment and mostly is is about how the patient feels about their options once a selection of appropriate treatments is offered. There are no correct or incorrect answers to these decisions and each woman feels differently. It can feel overwhelming to have a whole breast removed, so, if possible, a lumpectomy with radiotherapy is preferable for some women. Some feel they do not want radiotherapy but others will choose this if it leads to retaining their breast.

There are different types of breast cancer and different types of cancers altogether. Mesothelioma cancer is a completely different type of cancer and caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma symptoms can be general like chest pain, shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Symptoms of breast cancer however, are more specific and things to look out for include a dimpling of the skin, change in breast shape or size, a thickening or lump in one area of the breast, irregular nipple shape especially if it turns inward like it's being pulled from the inside, a rash on the nipple or area surrounding, nipple discharge (blood-stained), a lump or swelling in the armpit.

There are many breast cancer facts, features, symptoms and breast cancer treatment options to be aware of, but advancing knowledge and research