Any form of cancer is a tragic thing that plagues people in this the world every year. More forms continue to develop, doctors and scientists investigate treatments, and one day we can hope for a cure for all.
There are plenty of treatments for cancer and hope is high nowadays because more people are in remission than ever before. More people can beat cancer and enjoy life with their families because of these treatments.
There are some treatments that include radiation therapy or require more of a permanent solution. Sometimes cancer takes hold and does not let go unless a part of your body is removed. If nothing is done, the caner continues to grow and eventually shuts your body down.
Breast cancer can be one form of cancer that requires the removal of the breasts to save a life. The removal of a part of, one, or both breasts is called a mastectomy.
Women at a very high risk of developing cancer may elect to have both breasts removed before the disease takes hold, which is called a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. Most procedures are done with the option of immediate reconstruction surgery, so that a woman may feel at least somewhat normal after the surgery. Reconstruction surgery has come a long way in the past decade. After a mastectomy, the reconstruction begins, and women can have breasts that are more comfortable in size and shape for them.
Am I at Risk?
If you are a woman over 40, you are at the highest risk of breast cancer. About 95 percent of breast cancer diagnoses have been given to women age 40-70. One out of every eight women in the United States are expected to experience breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.
Estimations are different each year, but roughly 220,000 women battle breast cancer. About 40,000 of those women sadly lose that fight. Breast cancer has been the runner up as the leading cause of death among women. Men are at risk for breast cancer, as well. Roughly 2,500 cases are reported each year. It is very rare in men, and most of them beat it, but it is a possibility.
Also, if your mother or grandmother had breast cancer, there is a chance you inherited the gene for it. Check with your doctor about genetic testing that can be done to determine the probability that you will get breast cancer, as well.
You may have heard about many people, including celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, who had mastectomies as a precautionary measure because their mothers died from breast cancer.
How Can I Detect It?
Early detection is the best way to get ahead of breast cancer. Regular checkups, mammogram screenings, and self-checks should be done regularly. This form of cancer has the most survivors compared to every other type of cancer because people are vigilant about detecting the cancer early.
In its early stages, breast cancer is absolutely treatable and can be beat. Learning about what to feel for during self-checks is very important. Talk to your doctor who does your mammograms to give you the knowledge you need to detect any tumors.
Cancer Treatments Available
When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your oncologist talks to you about your options, and you will come to an agreement to determine the best course of action.
The first thing you consider is the removal of the cancer cells and tumors. There are surgeries that conserve the breast, as they just remove the tumor and cancer cells, just like any other surgery on other parts of the body.
Radiation and/or chemotherapy is likely be part of your treatment plan because it shrinks the tumors and kill off cells left behind after surgery. Hormonal therapy may be helpful, as well.
Can Anything Be Saved with a Mastectomy?
In a lot of cases, there are options to save certain parts of the breast, so that you can keep the look and feel of them. There are mastectomies called, skin-saving mastectomies, which are surgeries that only remove the inside of the breasts and leave the skin and nipple. Then, they can be filled with synthetic material during reconstruction.
There are also quadrant mastectomies, which are surgeries that remove just a small portion of the inside of the breast, and a small bit of healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. The cancer has no way to spread. Reconstruction on these quadrant mastectomies are easy and far less invasive than a total mastectomy.
If you can elect to save your breasts, it probably does not even need to be said, you should opt to do so. However, this depends on the size, aggressiveness, and stage at which the cancer has grown. Your doctor assesses your options, so that you can make the best decision together.
Breast cancer is an ugly and vicious disease. Fortunately, there are millions of breast cancer survivors in the United States. Doctors and researchers are trying to find ways to prevent and cure it. If you are at risk for breast cancer, do your best to do mammograms and self-checks regularly. This cancer can grow in anyone. Staying aware and ahead of it can save your life. Do you know anyone who is dealing with or has survived breast cancer?