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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in women. In the early stages, curative treatment may include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Breast cancer develops in the cells of the acini, lactiferous ducts, and lobules of the breast. Tumor growth and spread depends on the exact cellular site of origin of the cancer. These factors affect the response to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Breast tumors spread via the lymphatics and veins, or by direct in...vasion.

When a patient has a lump in the breast, a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed by a biopsy and histological evaluation. Once confirmed, the clinician must attempt to stage the tumor. Staging the tumor means defining the: size of the primary tumor; exact site of the primary tumor; number and sites of lymph node spread; and organs to which the tumor may have spread. Computed tomography (CT) scanning of the body may be carried out to look for any spread to the lungs (pulmonary metastases), liver (hepatic metastases), or bone (bony metastases). Further imaging may include bone scanning using radioactive isotopes, which are avidly taken up by the tumor metastases in bone.