Breast cancer occurs when there is a malignant tumor inside
the breast. Each year more than 185,000 women are diagnosed with
breast cancer, and the incidence of this disease is rising in
developed countries. There are approximately 43,500 deaths from
breast cancer annually, making this disease second to lung cancer
as the leading cause of death by cancer among women. Ninety percent
of breast cancers are detected by women themselves, often through
breast self-examination (BSE).
According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is often accompanied by the following signs and symptoms.
A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the
While the cause of breast cancer is not known, it is clear that the disease is hormone-dependent. Women whose ovaries do not function and who never receive hormone replacement therapy do not develop breast cancer.
People with the following conditions or characteristics are at a higher-than-average risk for developing breast cancer.
Women (comprise over 99 percent of cases; men comprise
under one percent)
Despite the relevance of risk factors, 70 to 80 percent of women with breast cancer have none of the known risk factors.
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with breast cancer, see your health care provider immediately. He or she can help make a diagnosis and guide you in determining which treatment or combination of therapies will work best for you.
Your provider will do a breast exam and run some laboratory tests, including a study of breast tissue and genetic studies. Imaging techniques may include mammography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other methods that help distinguish a cyst from a solid mass or make a distinction between cancerous and noncancerous disease.
Early detection is important. Monthly breast self-examination
and annual gynecologic examinations play a large role in early
detection. Nutrition may play a role in prevention.
Treatment options depend on the size and location of the tumor,
results of lab tests, and the stage, or extent, of the disease,
along with the patient's age and menopausal status, general health,
and breast size.
Your provider may prescribe one or more of the following therapies.
Surgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer. The
choice of surgeries includes the following.
A comprehensive treatment plan for breast cancer may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies. Psychotherapy and support groups may help improve quality of life and survival.
Potentially beneficial nutrient supplements include the following.
Herbs are generally available as dried extracts (pills, capsules, or tablets), teas, or tinctures (alcohol extraction, unless otherwise noted). Dose for teas is 1 heaping tsp./cup water steeped for 10 minutes (roots need 20 minutes).
Acute dose is three to five pellets of 12X to 30C every one to four hours until symptoms are relieved.
Some acupuncturists prefer to work with breast cancer patients
only after they have completed conventional medical cancer therapy.
Others will provide acupuncture and/or herbal therapy during
active chemotherapy or radiation. Acupuncturists treat breast
cancer patients based on an individualized assessment of the
excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians.
In many cases of cancer-related symptoms, a qi deficiency is
usually detected in the spleen or kidney meridians.
Restricted shoulder movement
The prognosis for breast cancer patients depends primarily on the stage, or extent, of the disease at the time of the initial diagnosis.
Breast cancer patients should be followed every three months for eighteen months to four years, then every six months.
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