Cancer of the breast is considered to be the 2nd leading cancer-related cause of death in women. Every year, over 40000 females suffer in the United States from breast cancer. A timely detection through routine breast cancer screening, followed by the right treatment can stop some of the deaths. If a physician fails to suggest routine screening for patients with breast cancer and to follow-up on abnormal test results could be considered medical malpractice.
Screening for breast cancer
Specialists in cancer generally suggest that doctors arrange annual mammograms as well as annual breast exams that are clinical in nature on all women aged 40 and older, regardless of whether there is no previous history of breast cancer in the family and is not suffering from signs. A physician should conduct an annual breast examination every three years for those in between 20 and 30. If a patient has a moderate risk of developing breast cancer (15 20 to 20 percent) then the doctor will need to discuss the possibility of annually an MRI in the screening procedure. For patients who are at high risk (>20 percent) for the rest of their lives the physician should consider adding an annual MRI to the screening procedure. The risk of life is evaluated in relation to factors such as the family history, the presence of genetic mutations breast characteristics, as well as personal medical background.
A breast exam for women in a clinical setting determines whether there are visible lumps or any other abnormalities in the breasts that may be a sign of cancer. Mammography as well as MRI employ imaging technology to determine lumps or changes in the breast which may not be detected during a routine breast exam. In the event that an issue is detected then a biopsy (sample of breast tissue) is performed to determine that there is cancer.
The progression of breast cancer is monitored in stages
After breast cancer has been diagnosed the progression of cancer is classified by a five-level staging system:
- Stage Stage (also called cancer in the situ): There are 2 types : (1) dural cancer in the situ (DCIS) that is a non-invasive disorder which is characterized by the presence of abnormal cells that are confined to the mammary duct’s lining and (2) the lobular carcinoma in the situ (DCIS) that is characterized by abnormal cancerous cells in the breast lobules.
- Stage 1 the tumor measures smaller than 2 centimeters and isn’t spreading beyond the breast.
- Stage IIA A: Either (1) no tumor has been detected in the breast, but cancer is detected in or near one of the lymphoid nodes (the lymph nodes that lie under the arm), (2) the tumor is less than 2 centimeters and has spread expanded to the axillary nodes or (3) the tumor is between 2 to 5 centimeters in size, and has not expanded to the axillary nodes.
- Stage IIBEither (1) The tumor measures between 2 to five centimeters in the size, and it has spread into lymph nodes in the axillary region or (2) the cancer is larger than 5 centimeters and hasn’t spread to lymph nodes of the axillary area.
- stage IIIA or (1) no tumor has been discovered in the breast, however cancer is detected in the lymph nodes axillary to the breastbone that connect to each another or to other structures, or cancer may be found in those lymph nodes that are close to the breastbone (2) that the size of tumors is smaller than 2 cm with the tumor spreading to the axillary lymph nodes attached to one another or other structures or may have developed to lymph nodes located near the breastbone. (3) that the cancer is greater than 2 centimeters however it is not more than 5 centimeters, in size, and it has been spread to axillary lymph nodes that are connected to each other or other structures or structures, or may be spreading to the lymph nodes that are located near the breastbone as well (4) the tumor is greater than 5 centimeters. The tumor has spread lymph nodes of the axillary area that may be linked to each other or to other structures or may be able to extended to lymph nodes located near the sternum.
- Stage IIIB The tumor could be of any size, as long as the tumor (1) has developed into the chest wall or skin of the breast or (2) could have been spread to the axillary lymph nodes that may be connected to one another or various structures. Alternatively, it could have developed to lymph nodes close to the breastbone.
- stage IIIC The cancer is operable in the event that it is located in (1) at least ten or more axillary lymphoma nodes (2) are in those lymph nodes beneath the collarbone or (3) is in the lymph nodes of the axillary area or in those lymph nodes close to the breastbone. The cancer is not operable when there is a spread of the disease to lymph nodes that are above the collarbone.
- Stage IV The cancer has expanded across different organs in the body, mainly the bones, lungs brain, or liver.
Treatment for breast cancer as well as prognosis
The experts in cancer have a statistical figure called the 5-year survival rates for every phase of cancer. The figure reflects the stage of each, the proportion of women who last for 5 years or more following being diagnosed with the particular stage.
For women in stage zero, treatment choices may include surgical breast preservation (lumpectomy or partial mastectomy) using sentinel lymph node dissection or lymph node biopsy and radiation therapy or mastectomy (for women at high risk breast cancer, bilateral prophylactic mastectomy might be an alternative ) and/or hormonal therapy (such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor). A 5-year rate of survival is nearly 100 percent for stage 0.
In the case of stage I, the options for treatment comprise lumpectomy (breast-conserving surgery) along with sentinel lymph node dissection or biopsy of the lymph nodes and mastectomy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. 5 year survival rates are near 100% for stage I.