Followup Care for Breast Cancer Patients
Regular followup exams are important after breast cancer
treatments. Regular checkups ensure that changes in health are noticed. Followup exams usually include
examination of the breasts, chest, neck, and underarm areas, as well as periodic mammograms. Mammograms
can be performed using specialized methods if a woman has breast implants. The doctor may occasionally
request additional imaging treatments or lab tests.
Any changes in the treated area or the other breast should be immediately reported to the doctor by a woman
who has had cancerin one breast. Mammograms are a crucial component of
follow-up care since a woman who has had breast cancer is at risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
Also, a woman who has had breast cancer should tell her doctor about
symptoms & other physical problems, such as pain, loss of appetite or weight, changes in menstrual cycles
, unusual vaginal bleeding,
or blurred vision.
She should also report any odd or persistent stomach issues, backaches, headaches,
of breath, coughing or hoarseness, or other symptoms.These symptoms may be a sign that
breast cancer has returned, but they can also be signs of various other problems.
It's important to share these concerns with a doctor.
Breast Cancer Causes and Prevention
Doctors can seldom explain why one woman gets breast cancer and another
doesn't. It is clear, however, that bumping, bruising, or touching the breast are not causes
breast cancer. And this disease is not contagious; no one can "catch"
breast cancer from another person.
Scientists are trying to learn more about breast cancer causes and factors
that increase the risk of developing this disease. For example, they are looking at whether the risk of
breast cancer might be affected by environmental factors. So far, scientists
do not have enough information to know whether any factors in the environment increase the risk of this disease
or causes breast cancer.
A woman's lifestyle choices may have an impact on her risk of acquiring breast cancer. For instance, current research indicates that younger women may experience a reduced
risk if they exercise regularly.
Also, some evidence suggests a link between diet and breast cancer
however there isn't a direct link between any food and breast cancer causes
Ongoing studies are looking at ways to prevent breast cancer through changes
in diet or with dietary supplements.
The effectiveness of certain dietary modifications in preventing bbreast cancer.
however, is still unknown. These are active areas of research.
Researchers want to know if having an abortion or miscarriage makes you more likely to develop
Research has led to the identification of changes (mutations) in certain genes that increase the
risk of developing breast cancer. Women with a strong family history of breast cancer may choose
to have a blood test to see if they have inherited a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Women who are
concerned about an inherited risk for breast cancer should talk to their doctor about breast cancer
causes. The doctor may suggest seeing a health professional trained in genetics. Genetic counseling
can help a woman decide whether testing would be appropriate for her. Also, counseling before and after
testing helps women understand and deal with the possible results of a genetic test. Counseling
can also help with concerns about employment or about health, life, and disability insurance. The
Cancer Information Service can supply additional material on genetic testing.
Researchers are exploring for medications that could stop the growth of breast cancer. In one significant
trial, women at higher risk for the disease saw a decrease in the incidence of new cases of breast cancer
. Doctors are currently researching how the medication raloxifene stacks up against tamoxifen. and Raloxifene).