Breast Cancer

Signature Health Services can help with the management and treatment of breast cancer.

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Breast cancer and how we care for it

Around the world, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Usually, it affects women, although a small percentage of men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is estimated that every 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. This year 287,000 persons are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the US.

Yearly mammograms, Breast Self-Exams (BSE), and a healthy lifestyle are essential to prevent breast cancer. It is important to know how to detect a lump in the breast area, when you should visit the doctor, what the treatment is, and more.

Cancer occurs when damaged or abnormal cells reproduce in an area, causing a tumor. It can develop into metastasis once it damages neighboring tissues. Additionally, in severe cases, it can spread to other body regions.

In many cases, breast cancer is a carcinoma, a tumor that begins in ductal (milk ducts) or lobular cells (glands in the breast that make milk). It is known as ductal or lobular carcinoma and only affects these areas, meaning, it doesn’t spread to nearby tissues.
Therefore, it is considered non-invasive cancer and is easier to treat. However, any type of cancer can still be fatal.

Invasive cancer, on the other hand, does spread to the surrounding tissues. It needs to be treated in a timely manner to prevent further damage or the transition to metastasis. It is usually more complicated to treat then.

Although it is less common, invasive cancer can transition into one of these categories.

Triple-negative breast cancer: Lack of estrogen in cancer cells and overproduction of HER2 protein. It affects women under 40 and typically has a worse outcome because it develops and spreads faster.

Inflammatory breast cancer: Cancerous cells obstruct lymphatic veins in the skin, giving the breast an “inflamed” appearance. Only 1 – 5 percent of women suffer from this variant of breast cancer and it’s very difficult to treat.

Fortunately, in most cases, symptoms are visible or perceptible to touch. This makes it easier to attend to the doctor on time unlike many other types of cancer.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Lump in the breast or thick skin in a specific breast area.
  • Change in size or appearance of the breast.
  • Sudden change in the nipple, like an inverted nipple.
  • Peeling or redness on the breast.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above it is better to attend to the doctor and request mammography to discard the suspicion, or if you are diagnosed to treat it right away.

There are many treatments for people with this illness. If diagnosed with breast cancer, chemotherapy is one option to get rid of cancerous cells. In case the patient does not respond to the treatment, surgery is another alternative.

Surgery can be efficient to eradicate breast cancer in many cases because the affected breast is removed. Mastectomy and lumpectomy are surgical procedures to treat breast cancer.

Mastectomy consists in removing the affected breast and it can treat cancer in its early and late stages.

Lumpectomy only removes the affected area of the breast instead of removing it completely.

Hormonal therapy and lifestyle change can also be prescribed after these treatments.

In more severe cases, ovaries can be removed to prevent other lumps from growing in the breast area.

In some cases, there might be some preventative solutions. Medications, such as chemoprevention, can be prescribed. But this option is only available when the patient has a family history of breast cancer.

Getting a breast cancer screen (mammography) every year and learning how to perform Breast Self Exams (BSE) are the best ways to make sure you are safe or to detect it on time. Lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and constant exercise can also prevent this and many other diseases.

Even though it is difficult to prevent breast cancer, we can all do our part to raise awareness!

If you or your loved ones suffer from this condition or are recovering from breast cancer surgery we can help. Signature Health Services can provide in-home, 24-hour nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more. Check our specialties page to know more about us and our services.

Breast cancer examination

For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 or email information@signaturehealthservices.net.

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