Breast cancer used to be a vital public health issue affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of women globally just a while ago. The concerns regarding breast cancer were raised accordingly, with the incisive analysis of the nature of the disease and the opportunities for managing it (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). However, lately, the focus has shifted from raising breast cancer awareness to other public health issues, mostly due to the noticeable improvements in the levels of mortality and morbidity regarding the subject matter (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition (2021), “Progress in breast cancer mortality reduction has slowed in recent years. The mortality rate was decreasing by about 1.9% annually between 1998 and 2013. Annual declines have slowed to 1.0% between 2013 and 2018.” Although the rates of breast cancer have been reduced over the past decade, the disease needs to be researched further so that it could be eliminated completely, and so that improved options for diagnosing and treating breast cancer could be designed.
Being a disease that is rather difficult to spot, especially at the early stages of its onset, breast cancer requires imaging tests of a varied level of complexity. Ultrasound is typically seen as the first option when diagnosing an instance of breast cancer (Zhang & Ren, 2017). Known as a sonogram, the specified type of diagnosing breast cancer allows obtaining detailed images of the possible tissue damage and the emergence of breast cancer.
Another tool commonly used to diagnose breast cancer involves the use of the diagnostic mammogram. Offering a more detailed picture than the traditional ultrasound tool, a mammogram can be considered as necessary in case specific issues, such as the probability of having fibrocystic breasts, need to be tested (Zhang & Ren, 2017). Therefore, a mammogram can be considered the next step in diagnosing breast cancer.
To obtain the results of even greater precision, the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device is usually used. MRI allows making the final image even more detailed, thus, helping to identify a problem and select the available treatment options faster. However, to maximize the accuracy rates, biopsy is utilized to test for breast cancer (Zhang & Ren, 2017). Implying the removal of as small part of breast tissue for further analysis, biopsy offers the most accurate results.
As emphasized above, with the rapid development of breast cancer research, the survival rate in vulnerable groups has increased rapidly, reaching impressive 90% for non-metastatic breast cancer (National Cancer Institute. 2021). Therefore, in case the disease is identified at an early stage and addressed appropriately, the chances for patient survival are rather high. However, current morbidity and mortality rates for breast cancer patients are still worth further consideration. Namely, according to the most recent statistics, for women that have suffered breast cancer, the survival rate constitutes 90%, which is quite high, yet could be improved with further research (National Cancer Institute. 2021).
It is also worth noting that the specified rates concern only non-metastatic breast cancer. For the metastatic cancer, the survival chances in most patients are mostly rare (National Cancer Institute. 2021). Furthermore, when determining the survival rates of a particular patient, one must also keep in mind that the specified information represents an amalgamation of the available data and, therefore, offers an average survival rate. Specifically, the chances for beating cancer must be calculated in each patient individually based on a constellation of unique internal and external factors affecting the said patient specifically (National Cancer Institute. 2021). For instance, other health issues that may aggravate the situation and increase the development of breast cancer must be taken into account (National Cancer Institute. 2021). As a result, a treatment framework that will increase the survival opportunities for the patient in question can be provided.
Currently, several methods of treating breast cancer exist. S surgical intervention is, perhaps, the best-known and the most invasive one, yet it is also likely to lead to the most effective management of breast cancer (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). During the surgery, the cancer tissue is removed from a woman’s body along with the surrounding tissue to prevent the further spread of cancer (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Presently, breast reconstruction options are also provided to patient to avoid the development of distress and the further aggravation of the patient’s mental health issues (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Additionally, the surgical removal of the breast cancer tissue can be considered in the instances of cancer spreading to the spinal cord or having developed to the point where a patient has an open wound in her breast (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Therefore, while being the most evasive option, surgery remains the most effective one in removing cancer.
Apart from direct physical intervention, a range of therapies for reducing the development of cancer exist. Chemotherapy implies introducing a woman with breast cancer to the medicine that can shrink cancer cells or eliminate them entirely (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Typically, a combination of Anthracyclines and Taxanes, which block mitosis in cells, are used in case of chemotherapy (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). However, chemotherapy is usually seen as highly damaging to patients due to the toxicity of Anthracyclines.
Hormonal therapy offers a different approach, suggesting that the release of the hormones encouraging the development of cancer cells must be blocked. Thus. Various medications inhibiting the production of specific hormones are prescribed in the case in point. Namely, Anastrozole (Arimidex), Exemestane (Aromasin), and Letrozole (Femara) ae broadly used as the medications inhibiting the development of hormones causing cancer in patients (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Similarly, radiation therapy is used to target mutated cells and destroy them, thus eliminating the tumor. Although high-energy rays are used in this case, the chances of eliminating cancer completely are comparatively low (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018).
Finally, biological therapy as a relatively recent addition to the specified range of interventions should also be mentioned. Implying the enhancement of the patient’s immune system, the biological therapy approach is also regarded as a fairly plausible tool for addressing breast cancer (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Therefore, the choice of an option for managing breast cancer depends largely on the unique patient-related factors, as well as the availability of each individual method of breast cancer treatment.
In turn, for late-stage metastatic breast cancer, only palliative treatment options are presently available. Being incurable, late-stage metastatic breast cancer leads to significant pain and discomfort in patients, which reduce the quality of their lives to a tremendous extent (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Therefore, to support women with metastatic breast cancer, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and palliative care including the improvement of patients’ sleep, management of their anxiety rates, addressing their possibly high anemia rates, and similar treatment options, are offered (Ozsahin & Ozsahin, 2018). Despite still containing a possibility of survival, metastatic breast cancer mostly implies containing the disease and improving the patient’s quality of life.
When addressing breast cancer, it is vital to remember key facts about this disease and incorporate them into the planning of the treatment process accordingly. For instance, it is worth remembering that breast cancer is presently curable in 90.3% cases, according to the National Cancer Institute (2021). Additionally, the rate of new cancer cases has been mostly the same for the past thirty years, whereas the death rates have been slightly reduced since 1992 (National Cancer Institute, 2021). Nevertheless, the specified statistics does not indicate that research regarding the development of, causes of, and treatment options for breast cancer should be abandoned. Instead, t eh issue needs to be studied further to remove the threat of breast cancer from women’s health forever.
Additionally, the incidence and prevalence of breast cancer in women from different ethnic, racial, and sociocultural backgrounds must be studied further to ensure that the needs of each patient are addressed properly. With the adoption of a cross-cultural approach and the sue of cultural competence, healthcare experts will be able to minimize the risk of breast cancer in vulnerable groups. Finally, studies have shown that most instances of breast cancer are currently localized which suggests that the tools for diagnosing the disease have been moderately effective. For this reason, the further emphasis on better diagnosing should be placed accordingly to continue the improvement trend.
Despite a noticeable change in the rates of breast cancer over the past ten years, the study of the subject matter should be continued, and the rates of awareness regarding the problem should not drop; thus, the disease can be diagnosed and treated more effectively. Furthermore, continuous research of breast cancer may help to design the strategies that will minimize the risk of women developing breast cancer. Specifically, education of women living in disadvantaged areas, providing diagnostic tools for vulnerable populations, improving patient-nurse communication and investing in further breast cancer research must be prioritized.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Breast cancer. Web.
National Breast Cancer Coalition. (2021). Breast cancer facts & figures.
National Cancer Institute. (2021). Cancer stat facts: Female breast cancer.
Ozsahin, D. U., & Ozsahin, I. (2018). A fuzzy PROMETHEE approach for breast cancer treatment techniques. International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences, 7(5), 29-32.
Zhang, Y., & Ren, H. (2017). Meta-analysis of diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging and mammography for breast cancer. Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, 13(5), 862-868.