Breast cancer


Breast cancer


Breast cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer after skin cancer which affects one in eight women up to 80 years old. The disease develops when the breast cells mutate (change), and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. Untreated cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body. Those with a family history of the disease, who are obese, or who have dense breasts have a greater risk of disease. Symptoms include a lump, skin changes, nibble discharge and discomfort. Our doctors treat breast cancer through every stage. At Cure My Cancer, our physicians have the training and expertise to diagnose breast cancer efficiently, and customize a treatment plan to meet the unique needs of each patient. Our oncologists have early-stage experience with complex breast cancers including triple-negative and inflammatory cancers. Our patients have access to tools such as advanced genomic testing and a wide variety of treatments, including breast-conserving surgery, immunotherapy and clinical trials. Breast cancer is so important to us that every hospital has a Breast Cancer Center dedicated to treating patients with all stages of this complex disease.

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FAQ's on Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms within breast tissues. It occurs in both men and women, though it is extremely rare among men. Following skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States today. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 268,600 women and more than 2,600 men are diagnosed with this disease each year.

Breast cancer is caused by uncontrolled cell division and growth, and usually develops within the mammary ducts or lobules. Cancerous breast tumors typically mature at a slow rate. It is highly possible that a tumor may continue growing for up to 10 years before it becomes large enough to be felt as a lump. Breast cancer is usually separated into two categories: invasive and carcinoma in situ.

Breast cancer primarily affects females, however approximately 1 percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men. Any woman is at risk, and her risk of getting breast cancer increases with age. Being female — regardless of age or ethnicity — is the number one risk factor for breast cancer. Aside from gender, there are other factors that may further any woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. Women with personal or family histories of either breast cancer or ovarian cancer are at high risk, as are women with certain genetic abnormalities such as BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes. Additionally, women who begin their menstrual cycles before age 12 or began menopause before age 50 are at higher risk for breast cancer. Women who are overweight and inactive are at high risk. Long term use of hormone replacement therapy and radiation therapy to the chest increase a woman’s risk, as well. Because the majority of breast cancer cases occur in women without any of the previous risk factors, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise are also believed to contribute to the development of breast cancer.

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast
  • A lump in the underarm area
  • Change in the size or shape of a breast
  • Nipple pain, tenderness or discharge, including bleeding
  • Itchiness, scales, soreness or rash on nipple
  • Nipple turning inward or inverted
  • Change in skin color and texture: dimpling, puckering or redness
  • Breast that feels warm or swollen

Certain risk factors, such as age and family history, cannot be controlled by the individual; therefore, early detection is the best weapon against breast cancer. While you may have no control over your age or genetics, you do have control over your lifestyle. You are capable of reducing your risk for breast cancer by simply leading a healthy life.

  • If you consume alcohol, limit drinks to one a day for women, two for men.
  • Be physically active and exercise 30 to 60 minutes daily.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • If you have children, breast feed them.
  • Have clinical breast exams (CBE) by a health care professional throughout your 20s and 30s, at least every three years.
  • Begin annual CBEs at age 40.
  • Begin annual screening mammograms at age 40.
  • If you are at high risk, talk with your health care professional about beginning annual screening mammograms at a younger age and MRI(magnetic resonance imaging).
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, discuss genetics testing with a genetics counselor.
  • At menopause, talk with your health care professional about whether you should have hormone replacement therapy.

Note: Breast self exam is one way for women to learn what is normal for their breasts. Any changes should be quickly reported to their health care professionals.

Mammography is a special type of imaging that uses a safe, low-dose x-ray system to examine the breasts. Because this imaging is capable of showing changes in the breasts up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them, it plays a central role in the early detection and prevention of breast cancer. Health care specialists rely on mammograms not only to detect early stages of breast cancer in women experiencing no signs of breast cancer, and also to detect and diagnose breast cancer in women experiencing symptoms such as lumps, pain and nipple discharge.