A Visual Guide to Breast Cancer

Get to know what is normal for you – for instance, your breasts may look or feel different at different times of your life. This will make it easier to notice potential problems.

There are many types of breast cancer surgery, from taking out the area around the lump (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery) to removing the entire breast (mastectomy.) Talk about the pros and cons of each with your doctor to decide what’s right for you.

In about 20% of patients, breast cancer cells have too much of a protein called HER2/neu. It’s important to know whether a tumor is HER2-positive, because there are special treatments for this type of cancer.

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The odds of beating breast cancer are strongly tied to how early you find it. The American Cancer Society says 99% of women with stage I breast cancer live at least 5 years, and many women in this group remain cancer-free for good. The more advanced the cancer, the lower this figure becomes. By Stage IV, the 5-year survival rate drops to 29%. But these rates will rise as more effective treatments are found.

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Breast Cancer Stages

Women who breast-feed their children for the recommended length of time (6 months exclusively and up to 2 years or beyond partially) can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 25%. You can also reduce your risk by maintaining a low BMI and by getting exercise. You should also cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink. Birth control pills and some forms of hormone therapy after menopause can boost the odds. But the risk seems to go back to normal after you stop these medications. Good lifestyle choices can help survivors, too. Research says physical activity can lower the chances your cancer will return. And it’s a proven mood-booster, too.

This turns your body’s own disease-fighting powers against cancer. Drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors target certain proteins on immune system cells. They make it harder for cancer cells to evade attacks. Immunotherapy is sometimes used to treat advanced cancer.

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Instead of reconstruction, you can be fitted for a breast form. This is a breast-shaped prosthesis that fits inside your bra. Wearing one allows you to have a balanced look when you’re dressed. Like the surgery, breast forms are often covered by insurance.

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Targeted Treatments

Breastcancer.org: “Understanding Hormone Receptors and What They Do.”

Your doctor may order an extra test that takes pictures of the inside of your body. A breast ultrasound can help find cysts, fluid-filled sacs that most often aren’t cancer. You might get an MRI along with a mammogram as part of your routine testing if you have a higher risk of breast cancer.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Breast Cancer Screening.”

Breast cancer ppt

What Does An Image Of Breast Cancer Look Like / Breast Cancer

Many women who have a breast removed choose to get reconstructive surgery. This replaces the skin, nipple, and breast tissue that are lost during a mastectomy. It can be done with a breast implant or with tissue from somewhere else in your body, like your tummy. Some women start the process right after their mastectomy. But you can also get it months or years later.

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Hormone Therapy

BreastCancer.org: “Symptoms of Breast Cancer.”

The earlier you find the disease, the easier it is to treat. Mammograms, an X-ray of the breast, can show tumors before they get large enough to feel. The American Cancer Society says women ages 45-54 with an average risk level should get a yearly mammogram. Starting at age 55, mammograms can be perfomed every 2 years. Continue them as long as you’re in good health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says until you’re 50 you should talk to your doctor about your need for testing. After that, get a mammogram every 2 years from ages 50 to 74. You don’t have to stop at 75; the group just doesn’t assess the pros and cons. You can work it out with your doctor.

National Cancer Institute: “Cancer Stat Facts: Female Breast Cancer,” “Immunotherapy to Treat Cancer.”

Breast Diseases or Breast Cancer

What Does An Image Of Breast Cancer Look Like / Breast Cancer

You should see a GP if you notice any of the following:

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If breast cancer is the diagnosis, the next step is to figure out how big the tumor is and how much of your body it affects. This process is called staging. Doctors use stages 0-IV to describe whether cancer is only in the breast, has moved into nearby lymph nodes, or has spread to other organs like the lungs. Knowing the stage and type of breast cancer will help your health care team create a treatment plan.

A HER2-positive cell is illustrated here. Growth signals that are not normal are shown in green.

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