Education is key when it comes to breast cancer. Being able to detect a warning sign now could translate into early treatment and successful recovery in the future. Talking with your doctor about breast cancer can also help you make the right treatment choices for your health should you encounter this disease. The following questions and answers offer a starting point for discussion with your physician. For more information on breast cancer, contact the Breast Cancer Center at St. Petersburg General Hospital.
What are the signs of breast cancer?
Breast cancer can present in different ways. Some women may notice discomfort or tenderness in one region of the breast. Others might see unexplained discoloration on the surface of the breast. Nipple discharge and skin dimples are other signs of this disease. Breast care experts recommend that all adult women conduct monthly breast self-examinations so that they can become familiar with the normal characteristics of their breasts. By knowing what is normal for you, you can better identify an abnormality that might indicate breast cancer.
What treatment options are available for breast cancer?
Breast cancer care depends on several factors. The location of a cancerous growth can impact the course of treatment. The size of a mass may also influence the type of cancer care that you and your doctors decide to pursue. Many women with breast cancer undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, surgery, or a combination of these treatment strategies.
What can I do to prevent breast cancer?
In addition to regular breast self-examinations, breast care experts advise women to undergo periodic clinical examinations. A doctor’s trained eye can often spot unusual symptoms that you may overlook during a routine self-examination. All women with normal breast cancer risk factors should also get yearly mammograms upon reaching the age of 40. Women should discuss as well instances of breast cancer among sisters, mothers, or daughters, as those with a history of breast cancer may choose to seek mammogram screenings at an earlier age.
St. Petersburg General Hospital can address your breast cancer questions. To schedule an appointment with a breast care expert, call us at (727) 384-1414. We can determine your risk factors for this disease, set up screening procedures, and help you learn how to look for signs of breast cancer during your self-examinations.