Articles Posted in breast cancer

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In a disturbing trend, more and more younger women are being diagnosed with later stage breast cancer.

A study recently found that between 2000 and 2015, the number of women below the age of 40 who were diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer increased by more than 4%. According to the American Cancer Society, women below the age of 40 account for approximately 6 percent of all breast cancer cases diagnosed in the United States.

Stage four breast cancer is the most lethal stage of the disease, and at this point, it is very likely that cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body and infected other organs, including the lungs and liver.  According to another study, approximately 27% of people who have been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer live for an average of 5 years after the diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that, overall, 11% of all persons diagnosed with breast cancer are below the age of 45.

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Between Black women and white women, there exists a strong racial disparity in the prognosis for breast cancer. Black women who suffer from breast cancer have worse outcomes compared to white women who suffer from the disease. Those disparities have been reduced over the past few years, thanks to greater awareness and other factors, but the gap continues.

A recent study tracked breast cancer survival rates among white, Black and Hispanic women. Overall, the study found that there was a drop in the number of deaths from the disease recorded across all groups. The improvement was the highest among Black and Hispanic women.

Over a period of time, there has been a narrowing of the gap in breast cancer survival outcomes. For instance, there is now almost no disparity in the breast cancer prognosis between white women and Hispanic women. However, Black women continue to suffer from higher death risks after their breast cancer diagnoses.  In that case, the death rate was approximately twice as high as that for white women.

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It’s Pink October, or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month again, and time to remind ourselves and everyone around, that breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women.

If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s no need to panic. Treatment options now are extensive, and very successful.  According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the most commonly used treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Other targeted therapies may also be used, and these treatments may be used solely or in combination with each other. Some treatments target only the tumour, while other treatments actually target the area around the cancer.

Your treatment options will depend on a number of factors, including the stage of your cancer, size of the tumour, general medical health, and age. Menopausal women may have different treatment options, compared to younger women. In some cases, individuals have a genetic history that places at them at a higher risk for breast cancer. This history can also affect their treatment options. Have extensive discussions with your team of doctors about the right option for you.

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