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Breast Cancer In Women

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Breast cancer starts in the tissue or ducts of the breast. It can cause a lump, deformity of the breast, or discharge from the nipple. Breast cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lung, and brain.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Blood tests:

You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

Nutrition:

If you have trouble swallowing, you may be given foods that are soft or in liquid form. Ask your healthcare provider about any extra nutrition you may need, such as nutrition shakes or vitamins. Tell your healthcare provider if you have problems eating, or if your stomach is upset.

Drink liquids as directed:

It is especially important to drink enough liquids if you are vomiting from chemotherapy. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Try to drink liquids throughout the day, and not just when you feel thirsty. It may be helpful to drink liquids between your meals instead of with your meals.

Medicines:

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

Tests:

  • A CT or MRI may show if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. You may be given contrast liquid to help the tumor show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • A biopsy is a procedure used to remove part or all of the tumor.
  • A bone scan is used to see if the cancer has spread to your bones. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones.

Treatment:

  • Hormone medicine may be used if the cancer responds to estrogen (the female hormone).
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-ray beams to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy medicines are used to kill cancer cells. You may receive one medicine or a combination of medicines.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine that finds markers on some cancer cells and kills the cells.
  • Surgery may be used to remove the tumor.

RISKS:

You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. If breast cancer is not treated, it can spread to other parts of your body, such as your liver, lungs, and brain. It may become life-threatening. The cancer may spread even if you are treated.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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