What to Know About Breast Cancer and its Treatment- Part One
About 230,000 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. But more women are being diagnosed early and this increase their chances to 98% in beating this complex disease. There are more options for women now in fighting the disease than there used to be. But if they aren't getting early screening due to inadequate health care serious mistakes like overly aggressive treatment or missed cancers can be the result.
Each person is an individual and no one approach is going to be right for everyone. Being well informed is the best way to combat breast cancer. Knowing what surgical options are available and how to choose a mammography facility is very important. There are certain factors that make a woman more vulnerable to this cancer. These factors include:
- Chances increase with age
- Being overweight
- If a blood relative close to you (female or male) has had it
- If you have had the disease in the past
- If you started menstruation before age 12
- Giving birth after 30 or having no children
- The BCRA1 or BCRA2 present or other mutational genetic changes
- Menopause later than age 55
It is important to be aware of your body and its subtle changes. Doctors no longer are recommending that patients do a monthly breast exam because it hasn't really shown that this practice is helping to save lives. But knowing and paying attention to changes in the breast and warning signs of the disease is important. Watch for these warning signs:
- A change in the shape or size of the breast
- A hard knot or lump
- A puckering of the skin
- Redness or swelling
- A sore, discharge or ripple around the nipple
Experts agree that starting mammograms at 40, for those patients who have a vulnerability to the disease, instead of 50 is smart. This can reduce the possibility of dying from the disease by 26%. Regular screening is a must and every year or couple of years if you have had a normal screening is best.
It is important that when you call for your initial screening that you are assured that there is a doctor on staff who is a specialist in the field of breast screening. This means he is spending at least half of his time doing breast screenings.
If a abnormality like a lump is found there is a diagnostic mammogram scheduled. This is where close up x-rays are taken for closer scrutiny of a given area. Delays in treatment can be caused from mistakes made on these important tests. This can prolong treatment and can obviously be dangerous in the long run.
It is important that the breast cancer patient gets the best care available. Beginning to get mammograms as early as 40 is very important in women who may have vulnerability to breast cancer. The age of 50 is when a woman should have regular mammograms if they do not have any vulnerabilities. Be sure that an experienced breast screening specialist is on staff at whatever facility is chosen.
Have written online for more than eight years now on many subjects. Also write under the username of Eve Sherrill York.