HANCOCK, Mich. (WZMQ) – October has been Breast Cancer Awareness month for nearly 4 decades. It’s a month dedicated to educating and informing the public about the disease and how to detect it early. The earlier the mutation is caught by identifying lumps or abnormalities in the chest the earlier treatment can start and the less risk for it to spread, but doctors noted that isn’t the only indication.
“It’s been helpful finding different ways to sort out which women might have lower risk and kind of can do the normal treatment and which women that might have a higher risk,” commented UP Health System Portage Oncologist Dr. Goodwin. Traditionally for breast cancer, when patients are HER2 positive that means the cancer protein is actively promoting the growth of cancer cells, but Dr. Goodwin, an Oncologist with the UP Health System, noted that research has shown a grey area.
“There was this group of women that had kind of positive not really positive not strongly positive and traditionally it was, just use the AntiHER2 drugs for the strongly positive but not for the sort of positive,” explained Dr. Goodwin.
Now more data is showing that women in that grey area can still benefit from the HER2 treatment as well. “For early-stage breast cancer that were trying to treat with curative intent that’s always going to include surgery of some sort. If it expresses estrogen receptors we’ll use treatments that target estrogen through anti-estrogen therapy and those are generally through the form of pills and that’s pretty easy to use,” continued Dr. Goodwin.
The Oncologist notes that any woman within the age bracket of 40-45 should have yearly mammograms scheduled. On top of that knowing your family cancer history is a must as well and that if anyone in your family has suffered from cancer, you should get a screening done. “Not just breast cancer but certain inherited mutations and certain genes can predispose not only to breast cancer but other cancers like prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer,” continued Dr. Goodwin.
Genetic counseling can be one of the many ways to determine your history of cancer and it not only can reduce the risk of cancer cells mutating and spreading, but also assist those in the cancer field in adjusting treatment or modifying the screening getting done.
Click here, for more information on Breast cancer and to schedule your next screening appointment.