What is breast cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, one in every eight women develops breast cancer. There are 200,000 cases of breast cancer reported each year in the United States and nearly 40,000 women died of the disease in 2011. Women between the ages or 30-50 are the most common victims of the disease. Breast cancer like other types of cancers, is a malignant tumor that arises from the breast cells. Many people may not know but breast cancer can also affect men as well but the chances in men are very low as that of women.
Types of Breast Cancer
There are many different types of breast cancer, the invasiveness of the treatment depends on the type of breast cancer that a patient has. The most common non invasive type of breast cancer is known as DCIS. In this type of cancer, the cancer is still in its initial stages and hence it has a very high cure rate, treatment of this type of cancer is also very non invasive. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer and as the name suggests is a very serious type of cancer. Other types of cancer include mucinous carcinoma, mixed tumors, invasive lobular carcinoma and inflammatory breast cancer. The treatments of the different types of breast cancer depends on the seriousness of the case and the type of cancer the patient has. These factors would also determine the invasiveness of the operation.
Most women diagnosed with breast cancer require surgery. The types of surgery can be divided into breast conserving surgery known as lumpectomy and mastectomy. Breast conserving surgery will only remove a part of the breast and the removal part will be determined by the size of the cancer. During mastectomy, the entire breast is removed and in cases where immediate reconstruction of the breast is required, a skin-sparing mastectomy is performed. This type of surgery involves removal of all the breast tissues but the skin is preserved. There are two types of mastectomy, radical and modified radical mastectomy. In radical mastectomy, the surgery involves removal of the axillary lymph nodes and the chest wall muscle along with the breast. This surgery is considered only in extreme cases. Modified radical mastectomy involves removal of the axillary lymph nodes and breast tissues. Lumpectomy is preferred by most women as the breast tissues are not removed but it requires additional radiation therapy after the surgery. Both the two types of treatment breast cancer have an equal number of positive and negative aspects.
Invasiveness of treatments
Since breast cancer is as life threatening as any other type of cancer, patients are prescribed to go for lumpectomy or mastectomy since these two have the highest chances of success. But these two types of treatments are invasive and would disfigure the patient. There are other non invasive types of treatment for breast cancer out there such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and extra beam therapy which are less invasive than the two traditional types of treatment but their effectiveness is certainly very low when comapared with lumpectomy and mastectomy.
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