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Breast Cancer Health Center

Medical Reference Related to Breast Cancer

  1. Overview

    BackgroundIncidence and mortalityWith an estimated 232,340 cases expected, breast cancer will be the most frequently diagnosed nonskin malignancy in U.S. women in 2013.[1] In the same year, breast cancer will kill an estimated 39,620 women, second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer mortality in women. Breast cancer also occurs in men, and it is estimated that 2,240 new cases will be diagnosed in 2013.[1] Despite a prior long-term trend of gradually increasing breast cancer incidence, data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program show a decrease in breast cancer mortality of 1.9% per year from 1998 to 2007.[2]Screening for breast cancer decreases mortality by identifying and treating cases at an earlier stage. Screening also identifies more cases than would become symptomatic in a woman's lifetime, so breast cancer

  2. Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Late Stage Breast Cancer (Stage III and IV)

    First-trimester radiation therapy should be avoided. Chemotherapy may be given after the first trimester as discussed in the section on Early Stage Breast Cancer. Because the mother may have a limited life span (most studies show a 5-year survival rate of 10% in pregnant patients with stage III and IV disease), and there is a risk of fetal damage with treatment during the first trimester,[1,2] issues regarding continuation of the pregnancy should be discussed with the patient and her family. Therapeutic abortion does not improve prognosis.[1,2,3,4,5]References: Hoover HC Jr: Breast cancer during pregnancy and lactation. Surg Clin North Am 70 (5): 1151-63, 1990. Rugo HS: Management of breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy. Curr Treat Options Oncol 4 (2): 165-73, 2003. Gwyn K, Theriault R: Breast cancer during pregnancy. Oncology (Huntingt) 15 (1): 39-46; discussion 46, 49-51, 2001. Clark RM, Chua T: Breast cancer and pregnancy: the ultimate challenge. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 1

  3. Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Get More Information From NCI

    Call 1-800-4-CANCERFor more information, U.S. residents may call the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. A trained Cancer Information Specialist is available to answer your questions.Chat online The NCI's LiveHelp® online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Information Specialists can help Internet users find information on NCI Web sites and answer questions about cancer. Write to usFor more information from the NCI, please write to this address:NCI Public Inquiries Office9609 Medical Center Dr. Room 2E532 MSC 9760Bethesda, MD 20892-9760Search the NCI Web siteThe NCI Web site provides online access to information on cancer, clinical trials, and other Web sites and organizations that offer support

  4. Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information for Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy

    Procedures used for determining the stage of breast cancer should be modified for pregnant women to avoid radiation exposure to the fetus. Nuclear scans cause fetal radiation exposure.[1] If such scans are essential for evaluation, hydration and Foley catheter drainage of the bladder can be used to prevent retention of radioactivity. Timing of the exposure to radiation relative to the gestational age of the fetus may be more critical than the actual dose of radiation delivered.[2] Radiation exposure during the first trimester (>0.1 Gy) may lead to congenital malformations, mental retardation, and increased relative risk of carcinogenesis. Doses greater than 1 Gy may produce congenital abnormalities. Doses of 0.1 Gy may result in fewer defects. Chest x-rays with abdominal shielding are considered safe, but as with all radiologic procedures, they should be used only when essential for making treatment decisions.[1,3] A chest x-ray delivers 0.00008 Gy.[4]For the diagnosis of bone

  5. Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - nci_ncicdr0000062970-nci-header

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at or call 1-800-4-CANCER.Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy

  6. Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information for Breast Cancer

    The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system provides a strategy for grouping patients with respect to prognosis. Therapeutic decisions are formulated in part according to staging categories but primarily according to tumor size, lymph node status, estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor levels in the tumor tissue, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu) status, menopausal status, and the general health of the patient. Definitions of TNMThe AJCC has designated staging by TNM classification to define breast cancer.[1] When this system was modified in 2002, some nodal categories that were previously considered stage II were reclassified as stage III.[2] As a result of the stage migration phenomenon, survival by stage for case series classified by the new system will appear superior to those using the old system.[3]Table 1. Primary Tumor (T)a,bDCIS = ductal carcinomain situ; LCIS = lobular

  7. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Breast Cancer Screening Modalities—Mammography

    Mammography Description and BackgroundMammography utilizes ionizing radiation to image breast tissue. The examination is performed by compressing the breast firmly between two plates. Such compression spreads out overlapping tissues and reduces the amount of radiation needed to image the breast. For routine screening in the United States, examinations are taken in both mediolateral oblique and craniocaudal projections. Both views should include breast tissue from the nipple to the pectoral muscle. Radiation exposure is 4 to 24 mSv per standard two-view screening examination. Two-view examinations are associated with a lower recall rate than are single-view examinations because they eliminate concern about abnormalities due to superimposition of normal breast structures.[1]Under the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) enacted by Congress in 1992, all U.S. facilities that perform mammography must be certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the

  8. Breast Cancer Treatment and Pregnancy (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Early Stage Breast Cancer (Stage I and II)

    Surgery is recommended as the primary treatment of breast cancer in pregnant women. Since radiation in therapeutic doses may expose the fetus to potentially harmful scatter radiation,[1] modified radical mastectomy is the treatment of choice. Conservative surgery with postpartum radiation therapy has been used for breast preservation.[2] An analysis has been performed that helps to predict the risk of waiting to have radiation.[3,4]If adjuvant chemotherapy is necessary, it should not be given during the first trimester to avoid the risk of teratogenicity. Chemotherapy given after the first trimester is generally not associated with a high risk of fetal malformation but may be associated with premature labor and fetal wastage. If considered necessary, chemotherapy may be given after the first trimester. Data on the immediate and long-term effects of chemotherapy on the fetus are limited.[2,4,5,6,7,8,9]Studies using adjuvant hormonal therapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy

  9. Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Mammography—Variables Associated with Accuracy

    Patient CharacteristicsSeveral characteristics of women being screened that are associated with the accuracy of mammography include age, breast density, whether it is the first or subsequent exam, and time since last mammogram. Younger women have lower sensitivity and higher false-positive rates on screening mammography than do older women (refer to the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium performance measures by age for more information).For women of all ages, high breast density is associated with 10% to 29% lower sensitivity.[1] High breast density is an inherent trait, which can be familial [2,3] but also may be affected by age, endogenous [4] and exogenous [5,6] hormones,[7] selective estrogen receptor modulators such as tamoxifen,[8] and diet.[9] Hormone therapy is associated with increased breast density and is associated not only with lower sensitivity but also with an increased rate of interval cancers.[10]The Million Women Study in the United Kingdom revealed

  10. Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - nci_ncicdr0000062855-nci-header

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at or call 1-800-4-CANCER.Genetics of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

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