Impact of Breast Cancer-Knowledge, Treatment, Recovery
Currently, one in eight in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are at risk of developing breast cancer. That means there is a 13% chance you might be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in your life.
While it may seem that a 13% risk of developing breast cancer is relatively low, the number of breast cancer diagnoses is on the rise. The American Cancer Society estimates that every year, the number of incidents of breast cancer in the United States has increased by 0.5%.
Given the rapid increase in the number of breast cancer diagnoses that are being made each year, there is a good chance that it will have some impact on your life. Even if you aren't personally diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a good chance that someone close to you may be diagnosed with it. Learning more about breast cancer can help you better understand this disease and how it will impact your life or the life of a loved one.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the organ of the breast, which sits above the chest and upper ribs, start to grow out of control. There are several different types of breast cancer. The part of the breast that is impacted by breast cancer determines the type.
Some examples of types of breast cancer include:
- Lobular Carcinoma (in situ or invasive)
- Ductal Carcinoma (in situ or invasive)
- Paget Disease of the Breast
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Who is at Risk for Breast Cancer?
Anyone can develop breast cancer. However, certain individuals are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
Some risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Gender - breast cancer can impact to both males and females, but more women are affected than men
- Aging - the older you are, the higher your risk. Most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women who are over the age of 55
How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
Breast cancer tends to respond better to treatment when it is detected in its early stages. That is why early detection is so important.
The only way for a healthcare professional to make a definite diagnosis of breast cancer is with a biopsy. During a biopsy, a small tissue sample is removed from the area suspected to be impacted by cancer. The sample is sent away to a lab where it is tested and analyzed to determine if the cells are cancerous. If the cells are cancerous, the lab further can identify what type they are which can help determine what type of treatment is needed.
A biopsy isn't the only way to detect breast cancer. Other methods that can be used to detect breast cancer, or at least determine whether there is a need to perform a biopsy, include:
- Breast exam - feeling and checking for any lumps or abnormalities in the breast area. Can be conducted as a self-exam or by a healthcare professional
- Mammogram - an x-ray of the breast
- Breast ultrasound - imaging that helps show the deep structures of the breast to determine lumps or abnormalities
- Breast MRI
While these methods can often indicate if a lump is in the breast, it can't be used for a definite diagnosis of breast cancer. If a lump or abnormality is discovered, a biopsy still needs to be performed to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
There are a number of treatment options that are available for individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Working closely with a healthcare professional, you can determine what the best treatment plan is for your individual situation.
Breast cancer is often treating using a combination of one or more of the following options:
- Surgery - removing the cancerous lump, removing the entire breast or lymph nodes
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Target therapy drugs
Seeking Treatment for Breast Cancer Will Impact Your Daily Life
When seeking treatment for breast cancer, the last thing you want to do is have to worry about the mundane day-to-day tasks. You will often feel fatigued, nauseous, in pain and just overall uncomfortable while seeking treatment. This will make it difficult to complete essential daily tasks such as shopping and meal preparation, and even follow through with any aftercare that you may need.
Understanding the impact treatment will have on your day-to-day life can help you prepare for the future. You can understand what your potential needs will be and make arrangements, either with friends and family or by working with an in-home care agency like Home Instead Gorham, ME, to receive help while you are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The following are some examples of how seeking breast cancer treatment will impact your day-to-day life.
Completing Daily Tasks, such as Prepping Meals and Cleaning House, Will be Difficult
Whether you are undergoing chemo and radiation or getting surgery for your breast cancer, you will often experience extreme fatigue that leaves you unable to complete essential daily tasks. Of course, you need to continue to shop, eat and clean while seeking treatment, but it may seem impossible to do when you are so tired and fatigued.
Home Instead, an in-home care agency, provides meal preparation and home helper services. With these services, an experienced caregiver can come to your home and perform those essential day-to-day tasks for you. They can help with preparing meals as well as cleaning around the house. They can even help you get to the grocery store and provide assistance with your shopping.
Make Sure Wounds are Healing Properly After Surgery
After surgery for breast cancer, you will have multiple incisions that need to be properly cared for to avoid infection and other complications. Performing wound care on your own after surgery is an almost impossible task. For Home Instead offices offering Nurse Directed Care, experienced caregivers can come to your home and provide wound care.
A caregiver with experience in wound care can inspect the incisions, change dressings and help with other aftercare instructions. The caregiver can also monitor your symptoms and healing progress. If anything seems unusual or it appears as if you are experiencing complications, the caregiver can consult with your healthcare provider to determine how to proceed.
In Home Caregivers Provide Companionship and Assistance
The caregivers with an in-home care agency, like Home Instead, provide a wide variety of services that can be extremely helpful when you are undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Some of the additional services that may be helpful you to while undergoing treatment for breast cancer include:
- Medication management · Nurse directed care - help monitoring symptoms that may occur as a result of undergoing treatment for breast cancer
- Personal care assistance - help showering, bathing, getting dressed
- Companionship - having someone come to the home to check in, see how you are doing and just be there to help you avoid feeling lonely or isolated
- Transportation - safely get to doctor appointments, the store, the local salon, or church
We Provide Comfort Through Every Stage of Breast Cancer
It is the goal of our caregivers at Home Instead Gorham, ME to offer support and assistance for individuals throughout all stages of breast cancer. If your cancer is determined to be terminal and you have opted to not undergo treatment, our in-home care agency provides assistance so you can lead out your life in comfort.
Many of our services, such as meal prep and personal care assistance, can be used to save you time. Our caregivers can perform these essential tasks which gives you time to spend with family and friends.
In addition to our traditional in-home care services, we also offer hospice support services. Our compassionate caregivers can provide support, assistance and guidance while you navigate through these uncertain times.
Home Instead is There for You When You Need it Most
Whether you have just received a diagnosis of breast cancer, you have been undergoing treatment for years, or you have decided that treatment is no longer an option for you, Home Instead is there for you. Our services are customizable which allows you to add and remove services as your needs change.
Call us today at (207) 839-0441 to learn more about our in-home care agency and discover how our services can help make your day-to-day life easier.