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Breast Cancer



Understanding and Prevent Breast Cancer




1. Introduction

2.  What is breast cancer?

2.1 Breast cancer

3. Symptoms, screening and investigations

3.1 Breast awareness

3.2 Signs and symptoms

3.3 Screening

3.4 Scans and tests

3.5 Treatment and care

3.6 Surgery

3.7 Chemotherapy

3.8 Radiotherapy

3.9 Hormone (endocrine) therapy

3.10 Targeted therapy

3.11 Clinical trials

3.12 Making choices

4. Complementary therapies

4.1 Acupuncture

4.2 Art therapy

4.3 Counseling

4.4 Diets

4.5 Healing

4.6 Herbal medicine

4.7 Homeopathy

4.8 Hypnotherapy

4.9 Massage

4.10 Meditation

4.11 Naturopathy

4.12 Relaxation

4.13 Traditional Chinese Medicine

4.14 Visualization

4.15 Yoga

5. Immediately after treatment

5.1 Treatment

5.2 Recurrence

5.3 Dealing with change

5.4 Practical matters

5.5 Making contacts

6. Life with and after breast cancer

6.1 Talking about breast cancer

6.2 Practical help

6.3 Diet

6.4 Drinking alcohol

6.5 Smoking

6.6 Exercise

6.7 The sun

6.8 Holidays

7. Sex and relationships

8. Contraception and fertility

9. Employment

10. Finance

11.  The future

12. Living with recurrence


 1. Glossary of terms

2. Sources of further help and information

3. Books

4. Websites

5. Organisations


1. Introduction


Breast cancer is becoming one of the success stories of modern medicine. (VERY GOOD NEWS).

More and more women all over the world are developing the disease each year, but more and more are also surviving, and breast cancer mortality has been falling steadily over the past 20 years.

His may be partly because it is diagnosed earlier, but it is mainly because of the introduction of adjuvant medical therapy (anti-hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and recently, biological therapy, also called targeted therapy) given immediately after surgery when the disease is still at an early stage and potentially curable.

Today the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer is a team effort with surgeons, physicians, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and nurses working together as an integrated team.

Breast cancer raises many questions in the minds of patients, their families and friends and indeed in many well women anxious to avoid the disease.

The answers we give may not apply to every person with breast cancer. It is essential, if you have breast cancer, to ask questions of doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.

It is equally important that you gain easy, unprejudiced access to the various voluntary and supportive services. If you do this, you should have a better understanding of this experience and of how to live life with, and after, breast cancer.

Our course was tailored in order to answer questions about breast cancer facts, how a breast cancer diagnosis is made, the treatments which may be offered, and their possible side effects, complementary therapies which may be used and the ways in which breast cancer can affect your lifestyle.

You may decide to follow our course reading and studying with us from the beginning to the end, but it has been written so that you can choose the parts in which you are most interested in the supporting pages. For this reason, some of the information is given in more than one part, but we think it is better to repeat information. I do now a brief "Introduction".

We go to prepare a glossary of terms used in our texts for quick reference.

Breast cancer is explained in our course, with descriptions of the different types and what might cause them to occur.

All cancers are diseases of cells. Cells are the smallest building blocks in our bodies, invisible to the naked eye.

Groups of cells form the tissues and organs of the body (such as the breasts, liver or lungs) and each of these has a very specific function.

Cells normally reproduce themselves by dividing in a regular, orderly fashion so that body tissues can grow and repair any damage. If this normal function is disrupted, there may be an uncontrolled growth of cells forming a lump called a tumor.

There are two kinds of tumor, benign and malignant, and the malignant ones are called cancer.

Most tumors in the breast are benign. This means they remain contained within a localized area, cannot spread and often do not require any treatment as they do not do any harm. An example of a common benign breast tumor is a fibro adenoma (an overgrowth of normal tissue that forms a lump).

Sometimes an operation is needed to remove a fibro adenoma because it is large or uncomfortable but in most cases such a lump can safely be left alone.

Malignant breast tumors (cancer) can also grow in the breast.

This course addresses these questions and answers them clearly and sensibly.

The different treatment options and their side effects, the difference between stage and grade, the role of dairy foods and diet in general, what to tell the children, and the role of complementary therapies – no important issues are left out.

These are different to benign tumors because they have developed, or can develop, the ability to spread either to surrounding tissue or elsewhere in the body. This process is called metastasis.

Breast cancer cells spread elsewhere by breaking off the original breast tumor and traveling in the bloodstream to distant sites in the body where they may form new tumors called metastases or secondaries.

Cancer cells may also be carried away from the breast in the lymphatic system, which normally helps the body to fight infection.

This system is made up of lymph nodes (glands) and vessels (tubes) linked throughout the body. The lymphatic system drains the fluid lymph from different parts of the body and returns it to the bloodstream.

Because breast cancer cells can spread to vital organs (such as the liver or lungs) and affect their normal function, secondary breast cancer anywhere in the body can be a life-threatening disease.


2. What is breast cancer?

3.  What is breast cancer?

Answer: Cancer is a word that is used to describe about 200 different diseases affecting organs or systems of the body. Each type of cancer has its own possible causes, and develops and behaves in its own way. Breast cancer is explained here, with descriptions of the different types and what might cause them to occur.

3.1 Breast cancer


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3. Symptoms, screening and investigations


The Department of Health (DH) of the most developed countries recommends that instead of examining your breasts every month, you should become breast aware. Being breast aware means getting to know what is normal for your breasts and knowing what changes to look out for, because this means you will be more likely to notice anything unusual more quickly. Generally the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis (outcome). So to help people report symptoms quickly, the (DHs) suggests using the following five-point code.


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4. Treatment and care

When your specialist team has all the results of your tests and investigations, they will be able to advise you about what sort of treatment you should have. There are five main types of treatment for breast cancer:

• Surgery;

• Chemotherapy;

• Radiotherapy;

• Hormone therapy;

• Targeted therapy.


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