Neighborhood Health Watch: Breast cancer and treatment options

Neighborhood Health Watch: Breast cancer and treatment options

(WWBT) - The topic today in Neighborhood Health Watch is breast cancer. It's the second leading cause of death among women.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is an abnormal cell that has become unregulated and begins to divide. It's usually an invasive cancer in the milk ducts which has the ability to spread to other places in the body.

Although breast cancer in men is rare, more than 2,000 men will get it, and roughly 460 will die each year. Dr. Clifford Deal, with Henrico Doctors' Hospital, says the first thing a woman should do is get a mammogram and self-exam for lumps.

Dr. Deal says, "The second thing is all cancers are dogs. Some are pit bulls, some are poodles...and breast cancer, they're not all the same. Their biology is very different. It's often very treatable, and therefore you live a long time. There are three main areas we treat breast cancer. Some kind of surgery to remove the cancer. Often we will use radiation, but the big decision - and often we'll have a lot of second opinions about the decision - is to use chemotherapy, and if so, what drugs."

Doctor Deal also recommends bringing a friend or family member for support to your first doctor's visit, because your emotions go from zero to 100 when talking about the "C" word.

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