How do genes play a role in cancer?
More than 50 hereditary cancer syndromes are associated with specific gene mutations. These may predispose individuals to developing certain cancers. Mutations to either breast cancer gene — BRCA1 or BRCA2 — significantly increase your risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer when compared with the cancer risk of a woman without a BRCA gene mutation.
What should one do to detect breast cancer early?
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Mammography is the best tool doctors have to screen healthy women for breast cancer. It also has shown an increase in survival rates. Mammography involves risks such as additional testing and anxiety if the test falsely shows a suspicious finding – this is called a false-positive.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women ages 50 to 74 have mammography every 2 years. They recommend that mammography be considered in women ages 40 to 49 after evaluating the risks and benefits of this test with a doctor.
- ACS recommends that women age 40 to 44 have the choice to start yearly mammography. They recommend that women age 45 to 54 receive mammography every year and that women 55 and older can switch to having a mammogram every 2 years or continue yearly screening, if they choose.
Why does one do surgery to treat breast cancer?
For both DCIS and early-stage invasive breast cancer, doctors generally recommend surgery to remove the tumor. Surgery to remove the whole breast, called a mastectomy, or to remove just the tumor and tissues around it, called a lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery. There are different types of mastectomies and lumpectomies. Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy waves to kill cancer cells.
What are the common treatment plans?
The biology and behaviour of breast cancer affects the treatment plan. Treatment options and recommendations should be custom made and depend on several factors, including:
- The tumor’s subtype, including hormone receptor status (ER, PR) and HER2 status
- The stage of the tumor
- Genomic markers, such as EndoPredict
- The patient’s age, general health, menopausal status, and preferences
- The presence of known mutations in inherited breast cancer genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
How do breast cancer recurrence tests work?
Test can help understand the specific breast cancer better. Some tumors are smaller but grow quickly, while others are larger and grow slowly. Often, by knowing the cancer, doctors can learn which treatment will work and which will not work and be harmful. They can predict whether a treatment can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Myriad Genetic’s EndoPredict, tests genes to estimate the risk of the cancer coming back within 10 years after diagnosis. 2 out of 3 women by taking EndoPredict have safely avoided chemotherapy.
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