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- Sex: female, although men can also get breast cancer
- Age: 50 or older
- Personal history of breast cancer
- Family members with breast cancer
- Changes in breast tissue, such as atypical ductal hyperplasia, radial scar formation, and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
- Changes in certain genes (BRCA1, BRCA2, and others)
- Race: Caucasian
Increased exposure to estrogen over a lifetime through:
- Early onset of menstruation
- Late onset of menopause
- No childbearing or late childbearing
- Absence of breast-feeding
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Tobacco use
- Increased breast density (more lobular and ductal tissue and less fatty tissue)
- Radiation therapy before the age of 30 years old
- Overuse of alcohol
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area or in the neck
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge or tenderness, or the nipple pulled back (inverted) into the breast
- Ridges or pitting of the breast skin (like the skin of an orange)
- A change in the way the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple looks or feels (for example, warm, swollen, red, or scaly)
- Your doctor may need pictures of structures inside your body. This can be done with:
- Your doctor may need to test your breast tissue. This can be done with different biopsy types, including:
- Fine-needle aspiration—removal of fluid and/or cells from a breast lump using a thin needle
- Needle biopsy—removal of tissue with a needle from an area that looks unusual on a mammogram but cannot be felt
- Incisional biopsy—cutting out a sample of a lump or suspicious area
- Excisional biopsy—cutting out all of a lump or suspicious area and an area of healthy tissue around the edges
- Your doctor may need to test your tissue and bodily fluids. This can be done with: .
- Tissue evaluation—breast cancer tissue is tested for estrogen and progesterone receptors, as well as the presence of HER2/neu. These are used to help plan therapy
- Genetic testing—blood is evaluated for specific gene mutations in certain patients
- Lumpectomy—removal of the breast cancer and some normal tissue around it. Often, some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also removed. This may also be called tylectomy or quadrantectomy.
- Segmentectomy—removal of the cancer and a larger area of normal breast tissue around it.
- Simple mastectomy—removal of the breast, or as much of the breast as possible. The surgeon will try not to remove lymph nodes.
- Radical mastectomy—removal of the breast, both chest muscles, the lymph nodes under the arm, and some additional fat and skin. This procedure is only considered in rare cases. It is done if the cancer has spread to the chest muscles. This procedure is rarely done in the US at this time.
- Modified radical mastectomy—removal of the whole breast, the lymph nodes under the arm and, often, the lining over the chest muscles.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy—a small amount of blue dye and/or a radioactive tracer is placed in the area where the tumor was located. The lymph nodes that pick up the substance are removed. Those remaining lymph nodes should be removed if any sentinel nodes contain cancer. This method is usually done in women who do not have lymph nodes that can be felt in the armpit.
- Axillary lymph node dissection—Removal of the lymph nodes under the arm. This is done to help determine whether cancer cells have entered the lymphatic system.
- External radiation therapy—radiation directed at the breast from a source outside the body
- Internal radiation therapy—radioactive materials placed into the breast in or near the cancer cells
- Age 40-49—Recommendations vary from waiting until age 50 to having the screening every 1-2 years.
- Age 50-74—Ranges from every year to every two years
Clinical breast exam:
- Age 20-39—ranges from every year to every three years
- Age 40 and older—every year
- Breast self-exam is optional for those age 20 and older. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation http://www.cbcf.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Cancer of the female breast. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://seer.cancer.gov/publications/survival/surv%5Fbreast.pdf. Accessed January 21, 2013.
Learn about breast cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/index. Accessed January 21, 2013.
12/21/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Moss SM, Cuckle H, Evans A, Johns L, Waller M, Bobrow L; Trial Management Group. Effect of mammographic screening from age 40 years on breast cancer mortality at 10 years' follow-up: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2006;368:2053-2060.
1/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Lee C, Dershaw D, Kopans D, et al. Breast cancer screening with imaging: recommendations from the Society of Breast Imaging and the ACR on the use of mammography, breast MRI, breast ultrasound, and other technologies for the detection of clinically occult breast cancer. J Am Coll Radiol. 2010;7(1):18.
1/28/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Lostumbo L, Carbine N, Wallace J. Prophylactic mastectomy for the prevention of breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(11):CD002748.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 01/21/2013 -