You or someone you love has breast cancer. We are so sorry. Please keep in mind that early survival rates greatly depend upon many different factors. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, be sure to share your feelings and your diagnosis and prognosis with your family doctor.
In the United States, approximately one out of fifty women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. While the prevalence of the disease may be higher in certain regions of the country, the United States, as a whole, is not particularly prone to high levels of the disease. Globally, rates tend to be higher in developed countries, especially those that are among the industrialized nations, while the incidence of the disorder tends to be higher in lower-income and middle-income countries.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important that you get yourself checked out by an oncologist as soon as possible. The oncologist will be able to tell you the course of treatment and the prognosis. In many instances, cancer can be treated with surgery. However, there are times when surgery is not an option, and other forms of treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be suggested. The doctor will explain these treatments and their respective pros and cons.
Breast cancer can develop in two different ways. One type develops from abnormal cells that are already present in the body; these cells usually turn into tumors that grow into cancerous tissue. The other type of breast cancer develops when the cells begin to spread to areas around the body. These spread cells are called metastatic cancer cells. These cells typically travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, and they can develop in nearly any area where cells are present. In either case, treatment will depend on how quickly the cancer cells can be treated.
There are some cases in which treatment for the cancer itself may be enough to prolong life. In fact, many people who have early-stage breast cancer often survive many years, especially if they have no other identifiable risk factors. For instance, people with a single large tumor that stops their lymph nodes from functioning can usually go into remission for years. Survival rates for people with metastatic cancers are also much higher. In addition, in cases in which treatment for the tumor itself is not successful, people sometimes turn to cancer therapies that attack the tumor directly.
There are several different types of targeted therapy for breast cancer. Most of these target the tumor cells found in the breast, although there are some treatments that are designed to prevent the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. The most commonly used targeted therapies include surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy. While surgery and radiation therapy can provide excellent short-term improvements in survival, especially for women in the advanced stages, they can cause certain side effects and significant long-term harm, such as disfigurement, infections, and other health problems.
Chemotherapy, however, is often the only treatment available for breast cancer patients. This treatment is used to kill the cancer cells, and it does so by injecting medicines intravenously into the ailing patient's veins. Chemotherapy medications come in different forms and are given in accordance with the type of tumor they're aiming at. Sometimes, the target is simply the tumor; sometimes it's all of the tumors. Also, when targeting just the tumor, certain combinations of drugs are combined in order to maximize the effectiveness.
New treatments for breast cancer now exist that were not available even ten years ago. Advances in genetics and molecular biology have opened doors to potentially curing cancer through prevention and treatment of symptoms. The use of gene therapy and genetic testing to screen patients for future cancer is an example of such prevention. It also provides an effective treatment for patients already diagnosed with cancer.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and is probably the most prolific eulogy writer (and best) anywhere. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones.