Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer information from Cancer Treatment Today

Breast cancer is the leading cause of illness and suffering among women.

It is second only to lung cancer as the most prevalent cause of cancer death in women. Most women are aware of breast cancer, and many, especially those who had seen a loved one suffer from it, fear it. One in eleven women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lives, assuming an average life span of around eighty years. It is not only a disease of older women, many young women are also affected. Because it strikes mostly, though not exclusively, women, breast cancer finds itself at the intersection of important and basic questions that preoccupy our society, issues of fairness, equitable distribution of care, gender discrimination and sexuality. As a result, it attracts a larger share of public attention, advocacy, resources and research funding than most other cancers. For this reason, it is also the cancer in which new paradigms and treatment approaches have traditionally been tested and refined before other cancers. It is for this reason, for example, that we learned in breast cancer how to combine chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, how to integrate medical, psychosocial and societal issues in cancer care, how to develop new drugs and how to combine them. The first non-chemotherapy biological ever used in cancer, Herceptin, was used for breast cancer. We learned many approaches and concepts from clinical trials in breast cancer. It is in the course of caring for this disease that many new paradigms in health care delivery were tried and evaluated, from the how to use facilitators to improve access to medical care for poor women, to how to deal with the issues of sexuality and survivorship after cancer cure.

In Cancer Treatment Today you will find short up-to-date discussions of diagnostic and treatment issues in Breast Cancer, in both Lay and Professional versions. We hope that you find them helpful and informative.

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