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#73 - Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Client Perspective) | Christine Walker (RECAST)

Women's Health, Wisdom, and. . . WINE!

10/05/22 • 64 min

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 🎀
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Mammogram are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
What Is Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

Triple-negative breast cancer is a kind of breast cancer that does not have any of the receptors that are commonly found in breast cancer.

Think of cancer cells as a house. The front door may have three kinds of locks, called receptors. One is for the female hormone estrogen.
One is for the female hormone progesterone.
One is a protein called human epidermal growth factor (HER2).
If your cancer has any of these three locks, doctors have a few keys (like hormone therapy or other drugs) they can use to help destroy the cancer cells. However, if you have triple-negative breast cancer, it means those three locks aren’t there. So doctors have fewer keys for treatment. Fortunately, chemotherapy is still an effective option.
Often, patients first need to have the lump removed (a lumpectomy) or the entire breast removed (a mastectomy). Then they have chemotherapy treatments to target any cancer cells that can’t be seen—cells remaining in the breast or that may have spread into other parts of the body. Sometimes doctors recommend chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the cancer.
Lumpectomies are usually followed by radiation therapy. This is where high-energy radiation is given to your breast to kill any remaining cancer cells. It usually takes about 20 minutes per day. Most women go in four to five days a week for about six weeks. You’ll see a radiation doctor to have this done.
Cells from the cancerous lump may have spread somewhere else in your body. The goal of chemotherapy is to kill those cancer cells wherever they may be. Chemotherapy lowers the chance that your cancer will grow or come back.
Your doctor may recommend that you see a genetic counselor. That’s someone who talks to you about any history of cancer in your family to find out if you have a higher risk for getting breast cancer. For example, people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage have a higher risk of inherited genetic changes (mutations) that may cause breast cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer. The counselor may recommend that you get a genetic test.
If you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, your doctor may talk about ways to manage your risk. You may also have a higher risk of getting other cancers such as ovarian cancer, and your family may have a higher risk. That’s something you would talk with the genetic counselor about.

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