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Exemestane, Letrozole, The Anti-breast Cancer Drugs: Knowledge Is Power

Exemestane, Letrozole, The Anti-breast Cancer Drugs: Knowledge Is Power

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a great time to talk with your physician or health care provider about breast health and breast cancer. The more drugs, such as Exemestane, Letrozole, Anastrozole, Tamoxifen Citrate, you know, the less harm you and your related will less suffer.

Breast cancer, following skin cancer, is the most common cancer in American women. Approximately 1 in 8 (12 percent) women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. The good news is, however, that there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and that early detection saves lives.

Women often ask me what they can do to decrease their chances of developing breast cancer or what they should do if they are diagnosed with breast cancer. Here are some key recommendations:

1) Know your risks. There are many risks factors for developing breast cancer such as aging, being female (although men can develop breast cancer), a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast or ovarian cancer (about 5-10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary), chest radiation for another cancer such as lymphoma, having certain non-cancerous breast conditions, and reproductive factors.

It may be difficult for you to know if you are at an increased risk for breast cancer, and now is the perfect time to talk with your health care provider about this. If you are concerned about your risk, ask for a referral to physicians with breast cancer expertise.

2) Get a yearly mammogram starting at age 40. It is possible to detect breast cancer early which increases the potential for a cure.

Most women should have yearly mammograms starting at age 40, but some women need to have breast cancer screening at an earlier age and may need additional imaging such as breast MRI. Knowing your breast cancer risk can help you and your health care provider determine what type of screening is best for you.

3) Seek out the experts. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer or found to be at high risk for developing breast cancer, it is important to be seen by an expert in breast cancer care.

There are many treatment options available for breast cancer including surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapies.

It is important to seek out a team-based approached to breast cancer care, as the treatment is different and individualized for each patient. This team should consist of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, nurses, geneticists, nutritionists, social workers, and others who will guide your care and support you not only during treatment but also during your journey toward survivorship.

4) Embrace a healthy lifestyle. This is important for decreasing your risk not only for cancer but also for many other medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Here are some things you can begin today to help improve your overall health and wellbeing: exercise, maintain a healthy bodyweight, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, decrease intake of red meat and processed foods, stop smoking, and limit alcohol use.

Dr. Rachel Raab is a hematologist/oncologist with Cancer Care of Western North Carolina with an expertise in breast cancer. She is a member of the Western Carolina Medical Society. She sees patients at both the SECU Cancer Center and Hope Women's Cancer Center.


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