Invasive Breast Cancer

Invasive Breast Cancer and Prevention: What You Should Know

Invasive breast cancer is a serious form of the disease in which cancer cells from the breast invade other tissue of the body, including the lymph nodes and bones. It’s estimated that one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, making it one of the most common cancers in women.

Early detection and treatment of breast cancer can improve the prognosis and survival rates for those with the disease. Knowing your risks and practicing good preventive health can help protect you and be potentially life-saving.

Who’s at Risk?

Although any woman can develop invasive breast cancer, certain factors may increase your risk:

  • Age – women over 50 are more likely to develop it.
  • Having a previous history of noninvasive breast cancer.
  • A family history of breast cancer.
  • Starting menstruation at a young age or having menopause at an older age.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Being overweight.

Preventive Measures

There is no proven way to prevent invasive breast cancer. However, taking proactive steps can reduce your risk of developing it:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Avoid exposure to environmental toxins.
  • Quit smoking, or don’t start.
  • Avoid having too much exposure to radiation.
  • Perform periodic self-breast exams.

Early Detection

Early detection of breast cancer dramatically increases a patient’s chances of beating it. Because of this, it’s important for women to begin performing frequent self-breast exams from an early age. Additionally, some women may benefit from having mammograms and other breast imaging tests performed starting at age 40. Women should discuss these tests with their healthcare provider to determine when they should begin.

Treatment Options

The best treatment plan for an individual with breast cancer will depend on the stage and type of cancer they have, as well as their age and overall health. Treatment choices may include one or more of the following:

  • Surgery – may include the removal of the entire affected breast (mastectomy) or removing just the tumor (lumpectomy) and some surrounding tissue.
  • Chemotherapy – the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
  • Radiation – exposure to high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy – the use of drugs to slow or stop the growth of hormone-sensitive cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy – drugs that target specific genes, proteins, and tissues that are involved in the development of cancer.
  • Immunotherapy – the use of drugs or treatments to boost the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Taking preventive measures, knowing your risk factors, and seeking early detection can make a world of difference in the outcome of a breast cancer diagnosis. With early detection, treatment, and supportive care, many women are able to beat invasive breast cancer.