Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer. Women's health has come a long way in how doctors find breast cancer before a woman has any symptoms. Once a lump can be felt with a monthly self-breast exam most women perform on themselves, it has most likely spread through the breast, and perhaps beyond. Mammograms for women over 40 or who have breast cancer in their family, are a key proponent to breast cancer survival. Although, on a mammogram sometimes a cancerous tumor and a benign cyst or tumor looks the same, so there are downfalls to a mammogram. But, it is worth the squishing.
Many times there are no warnings that a woman has breast cancer, but there can be symptoms to watch for such as unusual discharge from the nipples, swelling, pain, and tenderness of the breasts, nipples turning inwards, and redness or thickness of the nipples. If a woman has any of these symptoms that are not common to her, (menstrual cycles can cause a few of these symptoms. It pays to know your body.) it is recommended to go and get it checked out.
Breast cancer is detected by a biopsy after a mammogram or other breast cancer screenings come back with a potential problem. Breast cancer is diagnosed in stages by how much cancer is in the body/breast. Stage 0 has a 100percent survival rate. This stage is when the cancer is still in a pre-cancerous stage. Sometimes, depending on the kind of cancer this is, no treatment or little treatment is needed.
Stage one has about a 93 percent five-year survival rate. Stage one means the cancer has not spread anywhere else and with standard medical procedures the survival rate for this kind of breast cancer is very good.
Stage two breast cancer has about a 70 to 80 percent five-year survival rate with proper medical procedures such as surgery and radiation/chemotherapy treatments. Although, there are new advances being made to treat cancer in women, especially in women of post-menopausal age.
Stage three breast cancer has only about a 40 percent chance of surviving past five years even though the cancer hasn't spread past the breast and lymph nodes, there are more than 4 lymph nodes involved.
Stage four breast cancer is when the cancer has reached other areas of the body affecting the lungs, bones, brain, and other organs. Stage four breast cancer doesn't have a very good survival rate. This is why cancer research is very important so that new treatments can be made available to women and men afflicted with cancer.
It is rare, and only about 2,000 men have been diagnosed, but men can have breast cancer as well. Doctors don't normally suspect breast cancer in men, so when it is diagnosed, it is usually in its late stages. And unfortunately, the survival rate for a man with breast cancer isn't very good. The diagnosis for men is often times worse than for women, especially in African American men.
Treatments for men with breast cancer are typically the same. surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and hormone therapy are the most effective treatments. Men have been known to respond well, better than women to hormone therapy. Some men have an over abundance of hormones which causes tumors to grow more easily.
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