Sierra Nevada Cancer Center Helps Women with Breast Cancer
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It is estimated that in the year 2015, about 40,290 wives, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and sisters will die from breast cancer.
However, according to the American Cancer Society, there are currently more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
We like that number.
Yes, breast cancer can be deadly. But the big picture reveals: Many, MANY survive. And we at Sierra Nevada Cancer Center are here to help.
Breast cancer is comprised of malignant cells that start in the cells of the breast and can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.
At Sierra Nevada Cancer, we believe in fighting alongside our patients when treating breast cancer. We strive to educate patients about breast cancer and the treatment options that are best for them.
Early detection is vital for any kind of cancer; specific to breast cancer, the following are the American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms:
* Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
* Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional every year.
* Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
* Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.
So if breast cancer is detected, how can it be treated?
There are numerous ways to treat breast cancer, and the type of treatment recommended will always take stage of the disease, lifestyle and personal patient histories into consideration.
Patients at SNCC experience one-on-one counseling, complete education about options and consultation about side effects, expected outcomes and considerations for each choice.
Primarily, however, these are the main types of treatment for breast cancer:
* Breast-conserving surgery: where only the part of the breast containing the cancer is removed.
* Mastectomy: surgery that removes the entire breast, including breast tissue and other nearby tissues.
* Radiation therapy
* External beam radiation: radiation applied from a machine outside the body on the area affected by the cancer.
* Brachytherapy: known as internal radiation, radioactive seeds or pellets are placed into a device in the breast tissue in the area where the cancer was identified.
* Chemotherapy: cancer-killing drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into a vein) or by mouth.
* Hormone therapy: most often used to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery, but also used to treat cancer that has come back after treatment or has spread.
* Targeted therapy: drugs that target the HER2/neu protein. A number of drugs have been developed that target this protein:
* Trastuzumab (Herceptin)
* Pertuzumab (Perjeta®)
* Ado-trastuzumabemtansine (Kadcyla)
* Lapatinib (Tykerb)
* Bone-directed therapy: drugs like bisphosphonates and denosumab are used when cancer spreads to bones, to lower the risks of pain, fractures and other problems.
Our next post (article) will focus on the importance of personal Cancer Care, risk factors for breast cancer and preventive measures.