Comfort Keepers Home Care for Seniors in Anchorage, Fairbanks, & Wasilla, AK: A Quick Look at Breast Cancer
Home care for seniors in Anchorage, AK discuss how your senior loved one can look for signs of breast cancer!
The impact and progress made
Taking a quick and random sample will reveal that most of us are familiar with breast cancer, not for the good reasons but for its far reaching implications on our survival or those of our loved ones or close relations. By 2017, Comfort Keepers home care for seniors appreciates that there are about 3 million breast cancer survivors. Such numbers speak for the aggressive breast cancer awareness campaigns and early screening initiatives for suspicious lesions in the breast. These have been facilitated by organization and foundations which have dedicated their attention to address this health menace. It is worth noting that the American Cancer Association report indicates that there has been a significant drop in the number of breast cancer related deaths since 1989.
As much as all this has been achieved, breast cancer still ranks as the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Comfort Keepers home care for seniors sees the need for more rigorous breast cancer awareness campaigns and development of more accessible and far reaching screening programs. This is especially so for the elderly women, aged 65 years and above who need to be regularly screened and cautiously handled in the event that a suspicious lesion is found in them.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer basically refers to the abnormal growth of breast cells, occasioned by a mutation or modification of the genes regulating the cell growth cycle. The resultant growth could either be a malignant or benign tumor, the ominous and threatening tumors and the non-threatening or innocent growths respectively. The following risk factors are associated with a high likelihood of getting breast cancer and we as Comfort Keepers home care for seniors urge you to take note of them:
- A positive family history of breast cancer among the first degree relatives
- An advanced age
- History of radiotherapy to the chest or breast
- Frequent use of alcohol
- Use of estrogen or progesterone containing medications
- Having dense breast tissue
Numerous varieties of breast cancers exist and by far the most common is ductal carcinoma which affects the duct system which drains to the nipple area. The second in frequency is lobular carcinoma which affects the lobules; the milk producing region. Other less frequent types are adenoid cystic carcinoma, medullary carcinoma and low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma. For all these types, the lesion eventually transforms from a bad to worse state with the lymph nodes being implicated in complicated cases.
Lymph nodes refer to a clump of cells found under the armpit; they are part of the lymphatic system where they act as filters. Comfort Keepers home care for seniors is aware that their involvement confers a poor prognosis to the given patient.
The detection and treatment of breast cancer
The significance of self breast examination cannot be overemphasized in the detection of early breast lesions. You ought to check for any swellings and lumps and have a health care provider also check you for a thorough examination. The symptoms you should be keen about include any swelling, changes in skin color such as reddening, skin scaling affecting the breast and any unusual nipple discharge.
Screening in the elderly women involves the use of mammograms, special X-rays on breast tissue. They are obtained using low-level X-rays which could be used for screening or diagnostic purposes. Screening mammograms are used for non-symptomatic individuals while diagnostic mammograms are used for revelations of finer details of breast tissue.
The use of mammograms has been questioned in the elderly women who might have low-survival rates after the discovery of breast cancer lesions upon screening. The cost-benefit analysis raises questions on the utility of this screening technique in this group. Such doubts can only be resolved by providing an elaborate explanation of the condition with the appropriate treatment options, for the client to make an informed decision on what is to be done on her.
Physicians with the relevant training could also be resourceful in such complex scenarios. They have the expertise and intuitive skills to weigh the benefits against the age-related factors. The management options for breast cancer lesions include surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as the use of hormone therapy for the relevant tumors; hormone receptor positive tumors. Elaborate and updated information on breast cancer can be obtained from the BreastCancer.org site, spare some time and have a look at it for further information.