Fibrocystic Disease Breast and Breast Cancer – A Case Study

Fibrocystic Disease Breast and Breast Cancer – A Case Study

A diagnosis of breast cancer tends to strike fear in the heart of every woman, but when it’s your mother who receives the diagnosis, emotions go into overdrive.

Case History of Fibrocystic Disease Breast

My mother has a history of fibrocystic disease breast, and has had several breast lumps aspirated over the years, none of which were malignant. She has had a mammogram every year, and always gets a good report. This year was different. This year she had to have a breast biopsy.

She had a partial hysterectomy in the mid-70s, and afterward they put her on Premarin. They did not remove her ovaries, but still put her on Premarin, which was standard medical practice at that time. Unfortunately, they left her on Premarin until the early 2000s.

Ten years ago, as I started into peri-menopause, I began reading about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and all the problems associated with it. I was interested in the topic personally (for myself and my mother), and also because I am a nurse. Having had problems when I took the birth control pill, I was concerned about HRT and menopause. After compiling all the information, which was by no means positive, I advised my mother to get off the Premarin. At the time she was in her late 60s. Her female physician fought to keep her on the drug. After all, the drug company representatives were still telling physicians that women needed the drugs. Despite pressure from the medical community, my mother did eventually did quit taking Premarin.

The Relationship Between Drug Companies and Physicians

As you may or may not know, drug companies fund many medical schools, and the drug representatives give information to the physicians on new drugs coming to the market. The physicians are taught early in their career that what the drug companies tell them is gospel. For them to go against that philosophy takes time and money, neither of which most of them are willing to give up. I had one physician tell me many years ago, as I was first looking into alternative medicine, that if he didn’t learn it in medical school, then it couldn’t be good!

Case Study Today

Fast forward to today, 10 years later, when my mother is diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. The fact that the cancer is Stage 1 is the good news. The bad news is that she has more than one type of tumor. The breast biopsy shows two different types of tumor, located in more than one area of the breast:

* DCIS – ductal carcinoma in-situ. This kind of tumor is the lesser of the two types. It comes out intact and nothing else is needed.

* IDC – invasive ductal carcinoma. This is the most common type. It begins in the milk ducts and invades nearby tissues.

There are 4 different stages of cancer, 1 through 4. (Stage 0 is pre-cancerous, with no invasion of surrounding tissues.) My mother’s tumor is 1.8 cm, and anything under 2 cm is considered Stage 1. The biopsy shows some lymph involvement and the margins were not clear, but they were well differentiated. The margins are the edge of the tissue surrounding the tumor that the surgeon removed. To simplify, Mother’s margins showed some micro calcifications and an infiltration of cancer cells, but they were not of the aggressive type. Micro calcifications are tiny bits of calcium found wherever cels are dividing rapidly; it’s considered a first sign of breast cancer, pre-DCIS.

She had 2 options for treatment: modified radical mastectomy or lumpectomy. She chose to have a mastectomy because of the multifocal aspect of the tumors (meaning the tumors were in more than one area of the breast), the invasive aspect of the tumors, and the lymph involvement. Stage 1 breast cancer has a 5-year survival rate of 100%. The 5-year survival rate refers to the number of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is found.

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