Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed illness in American women compared to other cancers. It is also the second most significant cause of females’ deaths. Akram et al. (2017) state that the average risk of having this illness once in a lifetime is 13%, which is equivalent to one in eight women (p. 5). Breast cancer risk factors include an individual’s exposure to estrogen and living a Western lifestyle (Lee et al., 2019). Therefore, it is essential to understand the illness’s screening process, treatment, and health outcomes.
The screening process is conducted to identify the illness before the onset of signs and symptoms. McKinney et al. (2020) assert that healthcare providers can detect cancer during its earliest and most treatable stage. The United States government has made the tests available and accessible to all women. However, such factors as family history and age determine a woman’s need for a specific screening examination. Screening can involve blood and other fluids’ analysis conducted in laboratories, genetic evaluation to check for inherited markers that can lead to breast cancer, and imaging tests to scan women’s inside body (McKinney et al., 2020). Although major regulatory organizations recommend annual screening for women aged forty, there are different screening guidelines (Schünemann et al., 2020). The American Cancer Society advises women between 40-44 years to consult a health practitioner and get breast cancer examinations done.
General vs. Specialized Breast Care Services
General breast care cancer involves using a mammogram, which is an X-ray picture carried out to detect the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Cogan et al. (2019) explain that the best evaluation is the regular mammogram because it can detect the illness three years before symptoms show. Most females complain that the examination is uncomfortable and painful. However, the test takes few minutes, and the discomfort fades away (Zuckerman et al., 2020). It is essential to have mammograms regularly because they lower the risk of deaths caused by breast cancer.
Specialized care services are carried out on women with a high risk of cancer through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Tan et al. (2017) expound that this examination is done with breast ultrasound and mammography to provide detailed pictures of a woman’s inner breast. This scan uses radio waves and strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images (Zuckerman et al., 2020). MRI is helpful because it detects lesions missed by a mammogram examination and rules out particular breast abnormalities.
There are several ways of treating breast cancer, depending on its type and progression. Greenlee et al. (2017) explain that surgery is one of the approaches when the tumor and some healthy tissues are removed through an operation. An oncologist also carries out this procedure to test the underarm axillary lymph nodes. Therefore, a patient with a small tumor has a minimal possibility of undergoing surgery. The other option is chemotherapy, where unique drugs are used to kill or shrink breast cancer cells. A specialist can give the treatment in pills and medicines through the veins or both prescriptions (Wan et al., 2018). Chemotherapy might be done before surgery to shrink and minimize tumor recurrence and make the operation easier.
Hormonal treatment is used in breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. This therapy blocks the attachment of hormones to cancer cells’ receptors or reduces their production in the body (Fekete & Győrffy, 2019). The biological or targeted treatment uses the immune system of an individual’s body to fight breast cancer cells. This procedure is less harmful to healthy cells than treatments such as chemotherapy (Esteva et al., 2019). Radiation is another option used to treat breast cancer, where cells are killed using high-energy rays. Women with this illness are provided with more than one treatment plan.
The number of women estimated to be breast cancer survivors in the United States is 3.8 million. This includes patients who are currently undergoing treatment and those who have completed it (Dean et al., 2018). Invasive breast cancer has increased from 2007 to 2018 by half a percent. The survival rate in five years of females who have the invasive type of cancer is 90% (Dean et al., 2018). On the contrary, patients with the non-metastatic have a ten-year survival chance of 84% (Dean et al., 2018, p. 307). This rate increases to 99% if the invasive cancer is located entirely on the breast. The number of women diagnosed with this disease with a 99% survival chance is 63% (James et al., 2019, p. 988) In 2019, the number of breast cancer patients admitted in American hospitals was 944,092, of which 15,695 (1.7%) were readmitted after 30 days (James et al., 2019, p. 999). The predictors of readmissions included low annual hospital volume, procedure complexity, lack of Medicaid or insurance. Although most people succeed in cancer treatment, there is a possibility of its recurrence after a while.
In summary, breast cancer has posed a significant challenge in the lives of Americans. However, the government provides accessible screening tests to all women. General breast care screening services involve using a mammogram examination, while MRI is used in high-risk patients. Breast cancer treatment plans are chemo, surgery, biological, hormonal, and radiation therapies. The survival rates of breast cancer patients depend on the type of illness.
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