Each year hundreds of women are diagnosed with breast cancer disease. In America, breast cancer in women is the most common form of cancer, with 1 out of every 8 women being diagnosed in there lifetime. No one knows why some women develop breast cancer, but there are a number of risk factors associated with the disease. Breast cancer may be one of the oldest forms of cancer known to mankind, dating back as early as 1600 BC. Since women and men have identical breast tissue, men can also develop the disease, but the number of cases is small in comparison.
Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump in the breast or the armpit area, a change in the size or shape of the breast, pain in the breast or discharge from the nipple.
Breast cancer is diagnosed many various ways. Monthly self breast exams can help find cancer early when it is most treatable. Mammograms are a very useful tool to determine the presence of tumors, cysts, or abnormal growths, but are not the only measure taken by doctors. Chest X rays, bone scans, and MRI’s can also give doctors the information necessary for proper diagnosis. An examination of surgically removed breast tissue is the most accurate approach for diagnosis of the size, stage and course of treatment appropriate for that individual.
Treatment depending on the variations of the disease can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and medicines to stop the further progression. Breast cancer can also spread to the lymph nodes most commonly found under the arms. Not all cancer patients experience the disease, its symptoms or treatments the same.
The emotional impact of the diagnosis and treatment can be severe for many women. Emotional and practical support is extremely crucial for these women. Many hospitals have cancer support groups to help women cope with the stress and anxiety of the situation. As well as there are many online support groups that offer a wealth of support and information.