oa Professional Nursing Today - Breast cancer : oncology

Volume 12, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1607-6672



Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the United States and is the second most common cause of death in women aged 45-55. In South Africa breast cancer had the highest incidence in 1999 and the second highest in 1998.

Early detection of breast cancer increases ones chances of survival as the disease is detected and treated before it has a chance to spread to other areas of the body. The three main methods of screening are breast self-examination, clinical breast examination and mammography.
A suspicious breast lump / mass should be further investigated. Further testing that may be performed to determine the diagnosis of a lump are breast ultrasound, needle aspiration, biopsy and magnetic resonance imaging.
Breast cancers fall into two main categories : in situ cancers and invasive cancers. Treatment of breast cancer is individualised according to the type of cancer, the size of the tumour, presence or absence of lymph nodes, the knowledge as to whether the tumour is oestrogen and / or progesterone positive or negative and whether it is Her2 positive or negative, as well as the presence or absence of distant metastases.

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