Breast cancer. Risk factors, treatment and prevention. Expert opinion of oncologist
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers. In 2018, according to the International Agency for Cancer Research, 2.088 million women fell ill. However, if it is detected in time and all measures are taken to prevent the development and recurrence, in 80% the disease can be successfully cured.
Oncologist-chemotherapist Linda Brokane, Chief Physician of the oncology clinic of integrative medicine Amber Life Cancer Clinic, talks about modern methods of breast cancer therapy.
Risk factors and prevention
As the statistics shows, women over the age of 40 years are mostly susceptible to this disease. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in 2018, this age group accounted for 1.9 million new registered cases of breast cancer.
That is why women, whose reproductive function is fading away, should pay increased attention to their health. Many countries have government screening programs: the state pays for mammography.
According to WHO, in countries where screening coverage exceeds 70%, in 50 years, thanks to mammography, breast cancer mortality has decreased by 20% - 30%. According to statistics, for every 1000 screening images there are 1-2 cases of detection of a malignant tumor. In most women, cancer is detected at an early stage, when it is effectively cured: 95% of women live more than 5 years. When the disease is started and is at the 3-4th stage, this indicator sharply decreases - to 22%.
For more younger this study is not recommended. However, any woman, regardless of age, should regularly carry out breast self-diagnosis (palpation and visual control). And if there is a sealing, pain, a tendency to mastopathy, it is advisable to do an ultrasound scan once a year.
According to experts, an important role is played by the hereditary factor. Therefore, if a woman is potentially at risk - if her mother and grandmothers had ovarian and breast cancer - it is recommended to take a DNA test for BRCA1 / BRCA2 mutations. According to statistics, if changes in these genes are found, then the risk of developing breast cancer increases even by 60-70%.
Women who are overweight or who have given birth to a first-born child after 35 years of age, as well as for a long time using various hormonal agents are also at risk.
Breast Cancer and Thyroid
In Japan, according to statistics, the incidence of breast cancer is, on average, 25.3 cases per 100,000 population, in the United States it is 76.7 per 100,000. However, for Japanese women who emigrated to the United States and switched to the western style of nutrition, the same incidence rate as other North Americans.
As Dr. Brokane said, in the countries of Southeast Asia this disease is much less common than in Europe and the USA. This phenomenon is due to the diet of the region: seafood and algae, rich in iodine, have a beneficial effect on both the thyroid gland and the ovaries, and the development of tumors in the mammary gland.
By the way, recent scientific studies have revealed a direct link between thyroid gland abnormalities and breast oncology. So, if a woman has found nodes on the thyroid gland, there is a lack or excess of hormones (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism) that should be given increased attention to the health of the breast.
The diagnosis of cancer is certainly very unpleasant. But over the past decades, medicine has advanced well in its treatment methods. In the early stages, breast cancer is very well cured - up to 80% of patients after the treatment lead a full life, without relapses.
According to Linda Brokan, treatment methods are prescribed depending on the type of tumor, its aggressiveness, the presence of metastases and their spread, and the immune response of the body. It depends on how radical the operation will be, whether chemical and radiation therapy, as well as hormonal treatment methods will be required.
Dr. Brokane notes that sometimes women refuse chemotherapy: however, if there are indications, this should not be done. Alternative methods are a good support for supporting the body, improving immunity and reducing side effects, but treatment should be comprehensive.
Surgeons try to preserve organs as much as possible - often only the breast lobes are removed. If the mastectomy cannot be avoided, over time the woman will be able to install a quality prosthesis: so the appearance will not suffer.
In modern medicine, an integrative, integrated approach to the treatment of oncological diseases is used: both traditional and alternative methods of treatment are used. Unfortunately, cancer cells are able to adapt well to the most extreme conditions: even such difficult procedures as chemotherapy do not always affect them. That is why the treatment regimens change, and at the same time they use methods that improve the general condition of the person and the immune response: so that the body finds internal resources to fight the disease and recognizes the "enemies" well.
Alternative methods are used in the intervals between courses of chemotherapy, sometimes they can be combined, but, according to Dr. Brokane, everything must be supervised by an oncologist in order not to reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. They are used in the case when chemotherapy does not help or there are contraindications.
The most well-known methods of concomitant therapy are ozone therapy and intravenous administration of vitamin C hyperdoses. Intravenous infusions of drugs based on herbal remedies that reduce inflammation and suppress the growth of cancer cells: curcumin, artesunate, and mistletoe help well.
More specific methods are hyperthermia; biological immunotherapy as dendritic cells therapy and CIK immunotherapy. Injections are made from the blood of the patient himself (or first-degree relatives) in the laboratory and they increase the body's immune response, reduce the resistance of cancer cells to traditional therapy, and reduce their growth.
As research shows, an integrative approach increases the effectiveness of treatment.
And of course, when it comes to such a delicate topic as breast cancer, it is very important to provide a woman with mental comfort and improve her psychological state. Often, patients, having learned about the diagnosis, fall into depression, their hands are lowered and they see the future in gloomy tones. Attentive and friendly doctors, calm and cozy atmosphere, conversations with a psychologist, qigong and meditation will help you quickly adapt to a difficult situation and learn to live with it.
At all stages of treatment, physical activity and special exercises will be a good help. This is especially true after radical operations with the removal of lymph nodes, after which problems may arise caused by impaired lymph outflow. Experienced physiotherapists will develop a special program that will help women improve their quality of life.
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