Author(s): Hutchins LF, Broadwater R Jr, Lang NP, Maners A, Bowie M,
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Abstract Breast cancer will affect 1 out of 10 women in the United States and cause 27 deaths per 100,000 women per year. The etiology remains unknown, but the incidence correlates with genetic as well as environmental factors. Screening programs have been shown to prolong the survival by early detection compared with control populations but remain underutilized by physicians and patients. Breast disease can be evaluated by physical examination and mammography and a definitive diagnosis made by needle aspiration, needle biopsy, or excisional biopsy. This allows the patient to participate in the decision regarding mastectomy vs. conservative surgery plus radiation therapy. These two approaches have equivalent survival in selected patients. Patients with locally advanced, nonmetastatic disease benefit from a multidisciplinary approach using preoperative chemotherapy and postoperative radiation therapy. This approach has allowed less disfiguring surgery and improved survival. Preinvasive carcinoma is diagnosed more frequently with the increased use of screening mammography. Local therapy options include simple mastectomy, local excision plus radiation, or local excision alone. The natural history and results of therapy in preinvasive disease are evolving as more data are accumulated. Systemic adjuvant therapy is recommended for all node-positive patients and most node-negative patients with invasive cancer. The specific modality (hormonal or cytotoxic) varies with the subgroup involved. Treatment of metastatic disease to palliate symptoms and prolong survival includes the use of local therapies (surgery and radiation) and hormonal and cytotoxic agents. Most patients benefit, but cure has been unobtainable. Newer approaches utilizing high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow support with growth factors or autologous transplantation are currently being explored.
This article was published in Dis Mon
and referenced in General Medicine: Open Access