Helping patients find the breast cancer resources they deserve
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease where malignant cells form in the tissue of the breast. It is the second most common cancer type for women with 12.8% of women being diagnosed throughout their life. Even though most people think of women when it comes to breast cancer, roughly 1% of patients are male. Over 268,000 new cases last year alone. By far, the most common screening method for breast cancer is a mammogram. For those who have a family history or at a high risk of breast cancer, MRIs are also used.
The most common types of breast cancer include:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
- Triple negative
- Invasive lobular cancer (ILC)
Breast Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of breast cancer depend on a variety of factors including the type of breast cancer and the stage it is in. However, there are some symptoms most patients experience like:
- A lump or thickening in the breast that is different from the other tissue in the breast
- Changes in the shape, appearance, or size of the breast
- Redness or itching of the breast
- Dimpling or changes to the breast skin
- Changes like peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin around the areola
Sometimes, there are other symptoms some patients may have, especially those with metastatic or advanced cases.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
Doctors do not know the exact cause of breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs when changes are made to the DNA of the cells within the breast. This change in DNA, or mutation, can be inherited from your parents, or developed over the course of your lifetime.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
The breast cancer cells typically begin growing in the milk-producing ducts. Family history does play a role in breast cancer through gene mutations. Other risk factors include:
- Radiation exposure
- Never being pregnant
- Women represent roughly 99% of the breast cancer population, so being female is also an inherent risk factor
Breast Cancer Prevention
There is no way to prevent hereditary breast cancer. It is recommended to get yearly screenings and perform self-examinations to ensure early detection if breast cancer does occur. You can also get genetic testing to understand your exact risk of it developing. Even without family history of breast cancer, these actions can ensure if cancer develops it is caught in early stages, when successful treatment is far more likely.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Oncologists determine the appropriate method of treatment based on the stage, subtype, patient’s overall health, and genetic mutations of this type of cancer. The common treatment methods for cancer patients include:
- Surgery, for early, localized cases
- Radiation therapy, often used after surgery
- Chemotherapy, used before and after surgery, or in advanced cases
- Hormone therapy, alternative for women who can’t use chemotherapy
- Targeted therapy, used if common breast cancer genetic mutations are identified
- Immunotherapy, used in advanced cases or combined with chemotherapy
Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
There are approximately 958 breast cancer clinical trials that are currently recruiting patients in the United States right now. With such an extensive list, many of them could be beneficial for you. Our team of patient advocates, who are oncology nurses, and our artificial intelligence based clinical trial matching system will find the best option for you.
With just a few clicks, you can see your clinical trial matches now.Click here to use our advanced clinical trial match tool.
How Do We Help Breast Cancer Patients?
Massive Bio offers an independent cancer treatment analysis as well as free clinical trial matching for breast cancer patients. Our patient advocates work closely with patients to gather information on their current medical status, and then will provide a list of options from available cancer clinical trials close to your home.
We can also provide a comprehensive case analysis through our Virtual Tumor Board from cancer specialists. The Virtual Tumor Board (VTB) is comprised of highly specialized oncologists from nationally-recognized Cancer Centers of Excellence. In just 7-10 days after receiving your medical records, we can get you a treatment plan without having to travel far distances and use your valuable time.