Breast Cancer Medical Negligence Lawyers – Compensation Claims

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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer happens when different cells of the breast grow out of control and sometimes spread to other body areas, including lymph nodes, lungs, brain and liver. It is the most common type of cancer in women but it can be done in men and women.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include the following:

  • A lump in the breast or a thickening that doesn’t feel right
  • Increase in the size of the breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Dimpling of the skin
  • A bloody discharge from the nipples
  • Peeling or flaking of the breast
  • Redness or pitting of the skin of the breast

No one knows exactly what causes breast cancer. There are a number of risk factors that contribute to getting breast cancer. About five to ten percent of breast cancer patients have a hereditary form of the disorder. This can be checked for by screening blood tests. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations can predict an increased possibility of having breast cancer.

Other risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Increased age.
  • Female age.
  • Past history of breast cancer.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Having certain inherited genes that increase risk of cancer.
  • History of radiation exposure to the chest in the past.
  • Being obese.
  • Starting your period younger.
  • Having menopause at a late age.
  • Having your first child at a later age.
  • Having had no previous pregnancies.
  • Being on postmenopausal hormonal therapy.
  • Use of alcohol.

The diagnosis of breast cancer starts with a physical examination that looks for lumps and irregularities of the breast. The main screening test for breast cancer is the mammogram, which uses x-rays to find irregularities and calcium deposits in the breast tissue. A breast ultrasound can tell if there is a difference between solid and cystic masses in the tissue. If an area is questionable, a biopsy is done to detect cancerous tissue. A dye study with an MRI exam can tell if an area of the breast is questionable. The doctor may complete the evaluation with a complete blood count, a bone scan to look for cancer in the bone, a CT scan of the breast and a PET scan (positron emission tomography) evaluation of the breast can be done.

Breast cancer is staged from 0 to IV, which identifies a really small cancer at stage 0 to a metastatic cancer at stage IV. The treatment is based on the stage of the disease. Complications of breast cancer includes failure to diagnose the disease in a timely fashion, failure to treat using accepted methods of treatment and failure to stage properly.

The treatments for breast cancer include breast cancer surgery, which can be a lumpectomy, a partial mastectomy, a unilateral mastectomy or a double mastectomy, if the patient has been found to have a medical reason for increased risk of having breast cancer. A few or many lymph nodes can be removed, depending on how many lymph nodes are involved. One can have an axillary lymph node dissection to remove most or all of the lymph nodes of the axilla. Complications of breast surgery are infection and bleeding.

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells in an area near the breast involved. Radioactive materials can be placed near the cancer in a procedure called brachytherapy. External beam radiation can be used following a lumpectomy in order to get rid of cancerous cells near the lump.

Chemotherapy uses drugs by IV to kill distant breast cancer cells. If the cancer is high risk for recurrence, then chemotherapy is done to reduce that risk. Chemotherapy has a great many side effects, including hair loss, nausea, weight loss, and vomiting, but it is generally successful.

Hormonal therapy uses hormones that block the growth of cancer cells. Not everyone is a candidate for hormone therapy. It depends on the types of receptors on the breast cells.

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