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Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the breast. Breast cancer happens mainly in women. But men can get it too. Many people do not know that men can get breast cancer. It is usually found in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.
This surgery is very safe. But there are several possible risks and complications. These are unlikely but possible. You need to know about them just in case they happen. By being informed, you may be able to help your health care provider find complications early. The risks and complications include those related to anesthesia and those related to any type of surgery.
Risks of general anesthesia include nausea, vomiting, inability to urinate normally, cut lips, chipped teeth, sore throat and headache. More serious risks of general anesthesia include heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. Your anesthesiologist will discuss these risks with you and ask you if you are allergic to certain medicines.Blood clots in the legs can happen due to inactivity during and after the surgery. These usually show up a few days after surgery. They cause the leg to swell and hurt. Blood clots can become dislodged from the leg and go to the lungs where they will cause shortness of breath, chest pain and possibly death. Sometimes the shortness of breath can happen without warning. It is extremely important to let your health care providers know if any of these symptoms happen. Getting out of bed shortly after surgery may help decrease the risk of blood clots in the legs. Some of the risks are seen in any type of surgery. These include:
1. Infection, deep or at the skin level. Treating deep infections may require long-termantibiotics and possibly surgery.
2. Bleeding, either during or after the operation. This may require a blood transfusion or another operation. Fluid may collect under the skin, which is known as "seroma". This fluid may need to be taken out with a needle or another operation. A seroma could cause the incision to open up.
3. Skin scar.
Other risks and complications are related specifically to this surgery. These are rare. But it is important to know about them. Nerves running through the axilla may be injured. This can cause shoulder weakness, loss of sensation or arm pain. But it is rare for this to happen. When underarm lymph nodes are removed, the involved arm may swell. Occasionally, an elastic arm stocking, or other methods, might be needed to reduce the swelling. After the operation, some patients feel sad because of the diagnosis and because of the disfigurement. Even though this is normal, you should let your health care provider know about these feelings. Breast reconstruction is available and helpful.
The study was carried out by researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, and was funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign and the Medical Research Council. "A breakthrough by scientists could lead to a new treatment for one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer" the Mail Online reports.
Researchers have identified a protein called integrin αvβ6, which may help trigger the spread of some types of breast cancer.
Up to a third of breast cancers are HER2-positive cancers. These are cases of breast cancer where growth is driven by a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). These types of cancer can be particularly aggressive.
Seventy percent of people with HER2-positive breast cancers develop resistance to Herceptin, the main drug treatment for these cancers, effectively leaving them with no treatment options.
This laboratory study examined samples of breast cancer tissue from two cohorts of women with breast cancer. Researchers looked at the expression of a protein called integrin αvβ6, which has been shown to interact with HER2 to stimulate cancer growth.
The researchers found women who had higher expression of integrin αvβ6 in their breast cancer tissue had poorer five-year survival rates, particularly when they were also HER2 positive.
The researchers then studied mice that had been grafted with breast cancer tissue. But a potential new treatment called 264RAD was found to block integrin αvβ6 in the rodents.
Giving this treatment in combination with Herceptin stopped cancer growth, even in breast cancer tissues resistant to Herceptin.
In a small and preliminary study, researchers report that they successfully froze secondary tumors in patients with incurable breast cancer. The findings raise the prospect of a potential new treatment for metastatic tumors in individual patients, although the research is in the very early stages.
"This therapy provides a minimal rate of cancer recurrence and no major complications," study co-author Dr. Peter Littrup, director of imaging core and radiology research at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, said in a news release from the Society of Interventional Radiology.
The study is scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the society's annual meeting in San Francisco. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
"This is a preliminary study, and at this point we're hoping that the evidence could be a stepping stone for a bigger study to look at more patients," Littrup said. "If we can get more data that supports per-cutaneous cryoablation for metastatic breast cancer, it could be a huge finding."
In per-cutaneous cryoablation, tiny probes insert pressurized argon gas into tumors and kill them by turning them into balls of ice.
The eight patients in the study had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, meaning their tumors had spread widely from the breast. The tumors frequently appear in organs such as the liver, lungs, bones and kidneys.
In stage 4, the disease is considered incurable.
"At this point, treatments are considered palliative -- with the intent to keep metastases at bay while hopefully providing individuals more time and improved quality of life, rather than a complete cure" Littrup said.
"Cryoablation as a targeted therapy is beneficial because it can significantly reduce discomfort and incidence of disease," Littrup said. "It's a much better option, we think, than surgery -- especially since many metastatic patients are not candidates for surgery -- and it may potentially lead to longer survival."
The eight patients in the study lived for an average of 46 months, and two survived for at least five years.
Dr. Hannah Linden, an oncology specialist and assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said it's too early to know whether the treatment works since it hasn't been compared to other therapies.
"Many patients with metastatic breast cancer live a long time with gentle treatments, yet other patients who have relatively resistant tumors do poorly," she said. "While the idea of freezing a tumor to prevent it from growing is feasible and exciting, it is not proven that such an approach actually 'cures' patients or provides long-term benefit."
Although similar treatments target secondary tumors, she added, they "do not address the systemic problem of metastatic cancer. So, while it seems good to 'kill' the metastasis, the cancer is still lurking."
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, killing nearly 370,000 people worldwide each year. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 new cases of stage 4 breast cancer occur in the United States each year, Littrup noted.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives. Thanks to screening, breast cancer can be found early, when the chance of successful treatment is best. Early breast cancer usually has no symptoms.