Breast cancer is a cancer that is much more prevalent in women but can also occur in men. As one ages, one’s risk and likelihood of developing breast cancer increases (Hughes, 1996). There have been many studies done to determine risk factors and while there are still questions about its origin there are certain risk factors that are known including first generation family members who have it, smoking, high fat low fiber diet and the use of birth control. The treatment of breast cancer has come a long way in the past few decades and today the use of chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of them both are proving successful in the long term treatment and cure of the disease that at one time was as certain death sentence. The Options:
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer the first step in treatment is usually surgery. Surgery removes the cancer tumor and at times the decision is made to remove the entire breast (Hughes, 1996). For many women the surgery is a life altering change that can cause depression and confusion about the next steps in the treatment of their disease (Silverstein, 1994). It is important for women to understand the difference between chemotherapy and radiation so that they can make an informed choice about how they want to proceed. After the surgery a decision has to be made about whether to pursue further treatment. If it is believed through testing that the cancer was not completely eradicated by surgery then the decision to use chemotherapy or radiation is made and treatment is started. Sometimes radiation or chemotherapy is recommended before the tumor is removed. This is to attempt to shrink the tumor before surgery so that the surgery will be less invasive to the breast which will make reconstruction at a later date less difficult to complete. Radiation therapy is most often recommended for stage I or stage II breast cancer (Cancer http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content). Radiation treatment...
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