INCIDENCE Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women and has the highest fatality rate of all cancers affecting this sex. It is the leading cause of death among women aged 35-54. In 1999 an estimated 175,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. That is one woman every three minutes. At the same time 43,000 will die, at the rate of one every two minutes. The incidence of men diagnosed with breast cancer is rare, however it does occur. Approximately 1,300 men a year are diagnosed, and 400 die annually due to the disease. A total of 75% of all breast cancers occur in women with no known risk factors. 80% of breast cancers occur in women aged 50 and up. The mortality rate would decrease if every woman over 50 was informed and followed guidelines. When confined to the breast, the survival rate is 95%. Studies have shown that more white women than black women get breast cancer, however more black women die of breast cancer because they are not diagnosed at an early stage. SIGNS AND SYMPTONS Most breast cancers appear as a slowly growing, painless mass, though a vague discomfort may be present. Physical signs include a retracted nipple, bleeding from the nipple, distorted areola or breast contour, skin dimpling over the
When there is no evidence of spread, the treatment of choice is total mastectomy and modified radical mastectomy. During the BSE women should begin to learn what is normal and what is not in their breasts. It is most often combined with radiotherapy when cancer recurs following a mastectomy and when the tumour is so advanced that surgery is not indicated or is palliative. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is useful in patients that have a high risk of developing recurrent cancer after a mastectomy. In most advanced stages of the disease the skin nodules with ultimate breakdown and ulcer formation may be seen. WHO IS AT RISK All women and men are at risk of getting breast cancer. PREVENTION There are three ways to attempt to detect prevention, however since there is no cure, one cannot determine what actions to take to prevent. Mammography is the best method at detecting breast cancer. Chemotherapy is used in the management of patients with recurrent breast cancer usually after the failure of previous hormonal manipulations. The majority of women with breast cancer do not know about the fortunateness of detecting breast cancer early, never mind follow the detection guidelines. Irradiation is of little value for large internal metastases. This means that treatment will lessen the severity of pain, however it will not cure. Contradictory to this though studies have shown that 75 of breast cancer occurs in women with no history and no known risk factors. This is an entire or partial removal of the affected breast.