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If your symptoms or test results seem to indicate that the breast cancer has come back or spread, your doctor may suggest a biopsy of the suspected cancerous tissue. You may need a biopsy to:
rule out other non-cancer causes of the problem
make a definite diagnosis of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer
figure out the current " personality " of the cancer (including hormone receptor status and HER2 status) so your doctors will know how best to treat it
When breast cancer comes back, it may not be exactly the same as the first time. For example, a cancer that was hormone-receptor-positive (ER+ or PR+) may come back as hormone-receptor-negative. HER2 testing may not have been done when the cancer was originally diagnosed. But now, it's important to have this test done because the results can affect treatment. Just as you needed to understand all the details of your original diagnosis, so you also need to know what you're dealing with now. This is the first step in knowing what treatme...
Recent research shows that women with dense breasts are at increased risk of breast cancer. As with any group at higher risk, it’s recommended that these women pay special attention to their breasts – both by checking regularly for new lumps, and by receiving periodic cancer screening. Problem is, dense breasts are also very difficult to successfully screen; and a challenge when it comes to self-exams. Thus there’s a higher probability that women with dense breasts will undergo a biopsy, or multiple biopsies – most or all of which will be negative, resulting only in scars, pain, and stress. Could a combination of ultrasound and a newly revived technology, elastography, save these women from needless biopsies and their accompanying anxiety? A friend of mine, call her Jen, is a younger woman who’s lithe, fit, and athletic. She’s never sick, avoiding the flu and colds most of us experience as a matter of course. However, Jen has one health issue that dri...
Article last updated on March 31, 2014 Background Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a relatively rare type of breast cancer that grows in the lymph vessels of the skin of the breast. Because it usually doesn’t form an easy-to-find lump and because it tends to spread rapidly, IBC is the most deadly form of breast cancer. Because the cancer is in the lymphatic system at the time of diagnosis, IBC is considered a Stage IIIB cancer unless it has already spread to other organs, which would make it a Stage IV cancer for those patients. The median age of IBC patients is about 57, compared to over 62 years old for other breast cancers, but much younger women often get IBC. Statistics for IBC vary, but in North America, IBC accounts for about 1% to 5% of all breast cancers. The IBC rate for women of African descent may be as high as 10%. For a long time, doctors considered IBC to be regular breast cancer cells that were more dangerous because they were in the lymph system. Recent research...
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