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Only lung cancer kills more women each year in the United States thanbreast cancer does The American Cancer Society ACS estimates that over184000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in women in 1996 ACS BreastAlthough these statistics are alarming there are a number of treatment optionsavailable for those that are diagnosed with breast cancerThe best way to treat any disease is to prevent it Since little isknown about breast cancer there are no established rules for prevention TheACS recommends that women age twenty and older perform monthly breast self-examsand it also suggests clinical examinations every three years ACS BreastMammography is also a wonderful tool for detecting tumors however there isconflicting data on when and how often women should have mammograms What isknown is that mammography is the best way to determine if a palpable lump isTreatment methods for breast cancer can be lumped in two majorcategories local or systemic Local treatments are used to destroy or controlthe cancer cells in a specific area of the body Surgery and radiation therapyare considered local treatments Systemic treatments are used to destroy orcontrol cancer cells anywhere in the body Chemotherapy and hormonal therapySurgery is the most common treatment for breast cancer Although thereare many different types of breast cancer surgery they all fit into a few basiccategories An operation that aims to remove most or all of the breast iscalled a mastectomy If at all possible doctors shy away from mastectomies dueto the side effects which include loss of strength in the closest arm swellingof the arm and limitation of shoulder movement If a mastectomy must beperformed the physician will often suggest post surgical reconstruction of theAnother type of breast cancer surgery is called breast-sparing surgeryThis category would include lumpectomies and segmental mastectomies In thissituation doctors remove only the tumor and make an attempt at sparing the restof the breast tissue These procedures are often followed by radiation therapyto destroy any cancer cells that may remain in
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