News on Wellness

Women With Rare Form of Breast Cancer Not Receiving Proper Care

breast-cancerDoctors often have misdiagnosed a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, which is putting patients at undo risk, shows a new study.

Many women with this aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer do not receive a complete treatment that most likely could beat the disease, according to a study out of Houston.

Cancer researchers have reported that one out of three patients stricken with inflammatory breast cancer is not receiving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, which is the treatment that national advisory organizations have recommended.

This type of breast cancer is sufficiently rare that it is often unrecognized by patients and misdiagnosed by the doctor.

One of the authors of the study said the numbers were shocking, calling the treatment easy as standard care is used with nothing new.

The doctor said his study underscores a need for females with inflammatory breast cancer to receive treatment at a cancer center that is large, because if they go to a center that does not have a specialized expertise, they are risking their life.

Inflammatory breast cancer is named as such due to its characteristically red inflammation on the breast and caused by tumor cells that are microscopic that clog the lymph vessels.

Though this disease type makes up only 4% of all breast cancers, it is very lethal. It kills between 45% and 60% of patients in the first five years and represents nearly 10% of the close to 39,500 deaths annually from breast cancer.

Patients that receive all three of the therapies had the best rates of survival the study indicated. Fifty-five percent were alive five years after receiving treatment. That percentage falls to 43% if only chemotherapy and surgery were performed and just 41% if they received just radiation and surgery.

In the study, over 10,000 records were studied of women that had been treated for this type of cancer to determine the percentage who received the regimen of chemotherapy, mastectomy followed by radiation. Women receiving the three treatments fluctuated between 58% and 73% from 1998 to 2010.

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