Points to remember
Breast health
Breast Health issues | healthy lifestyle | points | prevention | self exam | investigations

 

Points to remember

 

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Breast cancer cannot be spread from one person to another. There is no danger in touching a person with cancer.

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So, strictly speaking it is incorrect to say that someone who has cancer that has spread to the liver from the breast has liver cancer. In fact these patients have Stage IV breast cancer. The cancer in the liver is but part of the breast disease. Hospice offers support to individuals whose cancer has developed into Stage IV breast cancer.

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Help is available to women with breast cancer through Bosom Buddie, the Breast Health Foundation and the National Cancer Association's Reach for Recovery Organisation. Their countrywide counsellors are there to help the women who is stressed and worried and who do not know who to turn to for help.

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As a ballpark figure, one in ten women will get cancer of the breast at some time in their lives (note that this figure applies to women with a lifespan of eighty years).

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Nine out of ten breast lumps are benign; this means that 90% of breast lumps are not cancer.

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Nine out of ten women with early breast cancer (Stage I) will be alive after five years; and those that survive for five years, will very likely live their normal lifespan.

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Women themselves detect nine out of ten breast lump; so breast self-examination once a month is of vital importance.

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All post-menopausal women (usually around fifty years of age) should have an annual mammogram.

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Breast cancer management today should be patient specific and not prescriptive.

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Core needle biopsy under radiological guidance is the correct way to diagnose a breast cancer. A surgical biopsy is seldom needed to make the diagnosis.

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People having radiation or chemotherapy are not “radioactive” or “poisonous”. They are not contaminated in any way. When radioactive implants such as iridium or radioactive drugs such as iodine¹³¹ are used, the person may be radioactive for a few days; but in these instances, the patient is nursed in an isolation ward.

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If a patient has a Stage IV breast cancer that has spread to say lung, or liver, or brain, or bone, they do not as a result have lung cancer or liver cancer or brain cancer or bone cancer. Rather the cancer is classified according to its organ of origin. So, for example, if a person gets cancer of the liver, this is called liver cancer or hepatoma (primary liver cancer). If Stage IV breast cancer involves the liver, this is called metastatic liver cancer or secondary liver cancer from a primary breast cancer.