Breast cancer has remained a prominent disease despite advances in treatment. Although much more common in women, it can be present in men as well.
Definition of Breast Disease and Breast Cancer
Breast disease is defined as any pathologic process that impacts the tissue of the breast. Breast cancer is a type of breast disease that has malignant cells with the potential for metastasis.
Anatomy of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can affect the soft tissue, the nipple, the blood vessels, and the lymph nodes of the breast in both men and women.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is mostly a sporadic finding. However, some patients have a genetic abnormality that makes breast and other cancers much more likely over the course of a lifetime.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
Symptoms can include a change in skin color, a breast lump, blood or fluid excretion from the nipple or milk ducts, or dimpling of the skin.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Like most cancers, the diagnosis is best made with a biopsy. However, imaging such as mammography and ultrasound can help determine if a breast mass is likely to contain cancer.
Prevention of Breast Disease
Prevention of breast cancer centers around regular physical exams and screening for women. For many patients, avoiding exogenous sexual hormones and identifying those patients with genetic abnormalities is also a key strategy.
Am I At Risk for Breast Disease?
Anyone with a family history of breast cancer in their family should speak with their physician to learn more about their risk for breast cancer. Patients who started menstruation at a very young age, menopause at an older age, and those with multiple breast biopsies are also at risk.
Treatment of Breast Cancer
The treatment options are medical as well as surgical. Treatment will depend on the stage and type of cancer. Medical options include hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgical options include a lumpectomy, mastectomy, with or without lymph node sampling or complete axillary resection.
To learn more about treatment procedures for this condition please visit the following:
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