Breast Cancer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Numbers 1 to 5
Let's start by answering the first five questions women have about breast cancer.
1. Must I have my breast removed?
This is probably the number one frequently asked questions (FAQs) women have about breast cancer. Due to the disfigurement that occurs from a mastectomy, it is a real fear and cause for concern. While the ultimate decision lies with the treating physician, women can take comfort from knowing that lumpectomy, radiation treatment, or mastectomy offer equal survival rates.
2. How would l I know if I have breast cancer, and what are some common symptoms?
Common Symptoms of Breast Cancer/Image Credit/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Doctors use many methods, like diagnostic screenings and biopsies, to diagnose breast cancer, and your safest bet is to consult your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Any lump in the breast
- Breast swelling, redness, tenderness, or pain
- Enlarged lymph nodes
3. What’s the best treatment for breast cancer?
At the time of this writing, cancer experts agree traditional cancer treatments, like lumpectomy, radiation, or mastectomy, give patients an equal chance of survival. Lumpectomies avoid the disfigurement that comes with mastectomies. The diagnosing doctor recommends the type of treatment that best suits each individual case.
4. My doctor wants to do an axillary dissection. What is that, and why would he order it?
This type of dissection is done to remove fat layers so they can be examined microscopically for cancer cells. Doctors typically order axillary dissections when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, but because body fat is concealing the nodes, they are unable to determine the extent of the cancer cell’s spread.
5. What’s this lump in my breast and should I be worried?
Image Credit/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Most women notice a lump in their breasts at some time in their life. If you are performing your monthly breast examinations, a lump will not take you by surprise, and is not necessarily a cause for alarm. According to information from the Fox Chase Cancer Center, “80% of lumps are non-cancerous." Having said that, to be absolutely safe and make re you are not in the 20% range with a lump that is cancerous, your safest option is to consult with your doctor immediately, as he may want to perform a breast biopsy.
Now, let's answer five more questions you may have about this type of cancer.