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Breast Cancer by Tracy Rice

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Breast Cancer is a malignant tumor found in the breast. If it is left unnoticed it can spread to other parts of the body. There are many different types and stages of breast cancer.  There are invasive and noninvasive forms. Noninvasive can usually be cured and invasive if caught early can be curable too. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women in the U.S. but can occur in men also. It is said that 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer in their lifetime.

The risk factors for breast cancer can include genetics, a woman’s age (women over the age of 50 are at higher risk), weight (obese women have a higher risk), and many more.  15% of women diagnosed have a family member who has had breast cancer and 85% of women have had no family history.

There are many ways to detect breast cancer in its early stages before it spreads throughout the body.  The earlier it is caught the better chances for survival.  Women should do breast self-examines monthly after the age of 20. That way she knows if something is changing in her breast and then can see a physician. Once a woman is between the ages of 35-40 she should have a mammogram and then from the ages 40-50 she should have one every other year. Once she turns 50 she should have them yearly.

Some preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk of breast cancer but cannot guarantee that a woman will not still get cancer.  First, is to eat healthy and exercise regularly.  Another preventative measure is to not drink alcohol.

If a mammogram shows something in the breast a biopsy of the breast is usually taken to check to see if it is cancer. Then the treatment for breast cancer can depend on the size of the tumor and the stage of cancer.  Some treatments used are surgery to remove the tumor; this is called a lumpectomy. Then typically radiation is required to treat the surrounding area of the breast.  Another way could be a mastectomy, which is the removal of the whole breast.  Once the tumor is removed it will be measured and then it will be decided if chemotherapy is needed to decrease the risk of the cancer returning.

Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in the U.S. and should be taken very seriously.  Although the number of deaths from breast cancer has dropped since the 90’s because of early detection and educating women on how important it is to know your body and to have yearly mammograms. 




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Medicine Net           http://www.medicinenet.com/breast_cancer/article.htm

Mayo Clinic               http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-cancer/DS00328

National Cancer Institute  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast

Web MD                   http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/tc/breast-cancer-topic-overview


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