The atlas study: A big change in breast cancer treatment?
BREAST CANCER: Over the course of a lifetime, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer typically starts in the tissues of the breast; however, on rare occasions it can start in other areas. There are two main types of breast cancer:
· Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.
· Lobular carcinoma starts in the parts of the breast, called lobules; that produce milk.
RISK FACTORS: There are several risk factors for breast cancer – some that cannot be changed—such as age or gender, or if there is family history of breast cancer, but there are other contributing factors, which can be avoided, such as drinking alcohol. Drinking more than one or two glasses of alcohol a day increases the risk of breast cancer. (SOURCE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth)
SYMPTOMS:Early breast cancer usually does not cause symptoms. This is why regular breast exams are important. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
· Finding a lump(s) in the armpit that are hard and have uneven edges.
· Fluid coming from the nipple -- may be bloody, clear to yellow, green, and look like pus.
· Men can get breast cancer, too. Symptoms include breast lump and breast pain and tenderness.
TREATMENT:Since its approval in 1998, tamoxifen has been used to treat millions of women and men diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen can:
· Reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back by 40% to 50% in postmenopausal women and by 30% to 50% in premenopausal women.
· Lower the risk of a new cancer developing in the other breast by about 50%.
· Slow or stop the growth or advanced (metastatic) hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women.
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Tamoxifen is also used sometimes to induce ovulation (egg production) in women who do not produce eggs, but wish to become pregnant. It can be used to treat McCune-Albright syndrome (a condition that may cause bone disease, early sexual development, and dark colored spots on the skin in children). (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds)
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