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Frequently Asked Questions

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At Center for Advanced Surgery, Dr. Sebby and the multidisciplinary medical team are constantly striving for greater patient satisfaction. To make sure all surgery and cancer patients and their caregivers have a positive and trouble-free experience, we have provided question and answer guides and a lot of additional cancer type and cancer treatment information. Please browse the list for your specific needs.

Breast Cancer Facts Overview

Breast cancer forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.

Estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer in the United States in 2012:

New cases: 226,870 (female); 2,190 (male)

Deaths: 39,510 (female); 410 (male)

The National Cancer Institute provides an online tool to help you figure out your risk of breast cancer. See: www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool

Breast Cancer Facts, Causes and Risk Factors

Fact or Fiction?

With so many facts and assumptions about breast cancer risks, the Center for Advanced Surgery wants to ensure all women have access to the preventive and treatment information they need. As such, knowing the basic risk factors, inclusive of controllable and uncontrollable causes is essential.

Breast cancer 5-year survival rates have remained the same over the last 50 years.

FICTION: About a 60% 5-year survival rate was noted in the 1960s, increased to 90% currently.

Breast cancer risk factors include increasing age, early onset of menses, late onset of menopause, prolonged hormonal exposure and later age of first childbirth.

FACT:  Other risk factors are female gender, personal or family history of breast cancer, nulliparity, genetic mutations, prior chest irradiation, hormone replacement therapy, excessive alcohol use and obesity.

Causes

Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Risk factors you cannot change include:

Age and gender- Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older. The majority of advanced breast cancer cases are found in women over age 50. Women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men.

Family history of breast cancer- You may also have a higher risk for breast cancer if you have a close relative who has had breast, uterine, ovarian or colon cancer. About 20 - 30% of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.

Genes- Some people have genes that make them more prone to developing breast cancer. The most common gene defects are found in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These genes normally produce proteins that protect you from cancer. But if a parent passes you a defective gene, you have an increased risk for breast cancer. Women with one of these defects have up to an 80% chance of getting breast cancer sometime during their life.

Menstrual cycle- Women who get their periods early (beforeage 12) or went through menopause late (after age 55) have an increased risk for breast cancer.

Other risk factors include:

Alcohol use- Drinking more than 1 - 2 glasses of alcohol a day may increase your risk for breast cancer.

Childbirth- Womenwho have never had children or who had them only after age 30 have an increased risk for breast cancer. Being pregnant more than once or becoming pregnant at an early age reduces your risk of breast cancer.

DES -Women who took diethylstilbestrol (DES)to prevent miscarriage may have an increased risk of breast cancer after age 40. This drug was given to the women in the 1940s - 1960s.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)- You have a higher risk for breast cancer if you have received hormone replacement therapy for several years or more. Many women take HRT to reduce the symptoms of menopause.

Obesity- Obesity has been linked to breast cancer, although this link is controversial. The theory is that obese women produce more estrogen, which can fuel the development of breast cancer.

Radiation- If you received radiation therapy as a child or young adult to treat cancer of the chest area, you have a significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer. The younger you started such radiation and thehigher the dose, the higher your risk—especially if the radiation was given when a female was developing breasts.

Lifestyle choices –Breast implants, the use ofantiperspirants or wearing underwire bras DO NOT raise your risk for breast cancer. There is no evidence of a direct link between breast cancer and pesticides.

For current, detailed information about breast cancer, go to BreastCancer.org.