Breast Cancer Awareness Month is recognized across the country during the month of October. It is an annual health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The national campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer and their loved ones.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops from cells in the breast. More commonly breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast. Over time, cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body.
According to BreastCancer.org, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime and in 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States, along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
There are several ways to treat breast cancer, depending on its type and stage. Some treatments are called local therapies, meaning they treat the tumor without affecting the rest of the body. Types of local therapy used for breast cancer include surgery and radiation therapy. These treatments are more likely to be useful for earlier stage (less advanced) cancers, although they might also be used in some other situations.
At Alliance Cancer Center, we use radiation therapy to treat breast cancer painlessly and noninvasively. Radiation therapy serves as an effective treatment for breast cancer, working within cancer cells to damage their ability to multiply. During treatment, high-energy X-rays are delivered to a patient’s breast cancer safely and effectively. Treatment sessions require no hospitalization, and only take about 10 to 15 minutes. Side effects are usually minimal, and most patients return to routine activities immediately after each treatment.
If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with breast cancer and would like more information about your treatment options, please contact Alliance Cancer Center today.