Items in AFP with MESH term: Breast Neoplasms

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Breast-Conserving Surgery for Breast Cancer - Article

ABSTRACT: Surgical treatment of breast cancer has changed significantly in recent years. Fine-needle aspirations or core-needle biopsies can be used in the diagnostic process, thus avoiding scarring incisions. The preferred method of treatment for many women with early breast cancer is conservative surgical therapy (principally lumpectomy and axillary dissection) followed by breast irradiation. Sentinel node biopsy is being investigated as an alternative to standard axillary node dissection. This could decrease morbidity following standard axillary dissection. These techniques allow women with different forms of breast cancer to conserve their breasts. For women who choose mastectomy, immediate reconstruction of the breast is now routinely performed with a prosthetic implant or autologous tissue. Clinical history, physical examination, and breast imaging are the most effective means of follow-up.


Serum Tumor Markers - Article

ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies are used to detect serum antigens associated with specific malignancies. These tumor markers are most useful for monitoring response to therapy and detecting early relapse. With the exception of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), tumor markers do not have sufficient sensitivity or specificity for use in screening. Cancer antigen (CA) 27.29 most frequently is used to follow response to therapy in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Carcinoembryonic antigen is used to detect relapse of colorectal cancer, and CA 19-9 may be helpful in establishing the nature of pancreatic masses. CA 125 is useful for evaluating pelvic masses in postmenopausal women, monitoring response to therapy in women with ovarian cancer, and detecting recurrence of this malignancy. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a marker for hepatocellular carcinoma, sometimes is used to screen highly selected populations and to assess hepatic masses in patients at particular risk for developing hepatic malignancy. Testing for the beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) is an integral part of the diagnosis and management of gestational trophoblastic disease. Combined AFP and beta-hCG testing is an essential adjunct in the evaluation and treatment of nonseminomatous germ cell tumors, and in monitoring the response to therapy. AFP and beta-hCG also may be useful in evaluating potential origins of poorly differentiated metastatic cancer. PSA is used to screen for prostate cancer, detect recurrence of the malignancy, and evaluate specific syndromes of adenocarcinoma of unknown primary.


Diethylstilbestrol Exposure - Article

ABSTRACT: Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen that was used to prevent miscarriage and other pregnancy complications between 1938 and 1971 in the United States. In 1971, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the use of diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy after a relationship between exposure to this synthetic estrogen and the development of clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix was found in young women whose mothers had taken diethylstilbestrol while they were pregnant. Although diethylstilbestrol has not been given to pregnant women in the United States for more than 30 years, its effects continue to be seen. Women who took diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than the general population and therefore should be encouraged to have regular mammography. Women who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero may have structural reproductive tract anomalies, an increased infertility rate, and poor pregnancy outcomes. However, the majority of these women have been able to deliver successfully. Recommendations for gynecologic examinations include vaginal and cervical digital palpation, which may provide the only evidence of clear cell adenocarcinoma. Initial colposcopic examination should be considered; if the findings are abnormal, colposcopy should be repeated annually. If the initial colposcopic examination is normal, annual cervical and vaginal cytology is recommended. Because of the higher risk of spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, and preterm delivery, obstetric consultation may be required for pregnant women who had in utero diethylstilbestrol exposure. The male offspring of women who took diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy have an increased incidence of genital abnormalities and a possibly increased risk of prostate and testicular cancer. Routine prostate cancer screening and testicular self-examination should be encouraged.


Evaluation of Palpable Breast Masses - Article

ABSTRACT: Palpable breast masses are common and usually benign, but efficient evaluation and prompt diagnosis are necessary to rule out malignancy. A thorough clinical breast examination, imaging, and tissue sampling are needed for a definitive diagnosis. Fine-needle aspiration is fast, inexpensive, and accurate, and it can differentiate solid and cystic masses. However, physicians must have adequate training to perform this procedure. Mammography screens for occult malignancy in the same and contralateral breast and can detect malignant lesions in older women; it is less sensitive in women younger than 40 years. Ultrasonography can detect cystic masses, which are common, and may be used to guide biopsy techniques. Tissue specimens obtained with core-needle biopsy allow histologic diagnosis, hormone-receptor testing, and differentiation between in situ and invasive disease. Core-needle biopsy is more invasive than fine-needle aspiration, requires more training and experience, and frequently requires imaging guidance. After the clinical breast examination is performed, the evaluation depends largely on the patient's age and examination characteristics, and the physician's experience in performing fine-needle aspiration.


Screening for Breast Cancer: Current Recommendations and Future Directions - Article

ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is one of the most significant health concerns in the United States. Recent reviews have questioned the value of traditional breast cancer screening methods. Breast self-examination has been shown not to improve cancer-specific or all-cause mortality in large studies, but it is commonly advocated as a noninvasive screen. Patients who choose to perform self-examination should be trained in appropriate technique and follow-up. The contribution of the clinical breast examination to early detection is difficult to determine, but studies show that sensitivity is highly dependent on time taken to do the examination. Up to 10 percent of cancers are mammographically silent but evident on clinical breast examination. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammography for women older than 40 years who are in good health, but physicians should consider that sensitivity is lower for younger women. Digital mammography is somewhat more sensitive in younger women and women with dense breasts, but outcome studies are lacking. Although magnetic resonance imaging shows promise as a screening tool in some high-risk women, it is not currently recommended for general screening because of high false-positive rates and cost. The American Cancer Society recommends annual magnetic resonance imaging as an adjunct to screening mammography in high-risk women 30 years and older.


Cancer Screening in the Older Patient - Article

ABSTRACT: Although there are clear guidelines that advise at what age to begin screening for various cancers, there is less guidance concerning when it may be appropriate to stop screening. The decision to stop screening must take into account patients' age; overall health and life expectancy; the natural history of the disease; and the risks, expense, and convenience of the screening test, and any subsequent testing and treatment. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Academy of Family Physicians suggest that Papanicolaou smears can be discontinued in women at 65 years of age, provided they have had adequate recent normal screenings. Evidence suggests that cessation of breast cancer screening at approximately 75 to 80 years of age is appropriate, although American Geriatric Society guidelines recommend cessation at a more advanced age. Studies support continuing colon cancer screening until approximately 75 years of age in men and 80 years of age in women for patients without significant comorbidities. Prostate cancer screening, if conducted at all, may be discontinued at approximately 75 years of age in otherwise healthy men. Ultimately, the decision to screen or to discontinue screening must be made after careful discussion with each patient, using evidence-based guidelines and individual patient preferences.


Breast Cancer in Older Women - Article

ABSTRACT: The American Geriatric Society currently recommends screening mammography for women up to 85 years of age whose life expectancy is three years or longer. The value of clinical breast examinations in older women needs further study. Total mastectomy and partial mastectomy with postoperative radiation therapy yield similar results in localized breast cancer. Postoperative irradiation may be avoided in women with small tumors (2.5 cm or less in diameter) who have undergone quadrantectomy. Lymph node dissection is important for tumor staging but significantly increases the risks and morbidity of surgery. Lymph node mapping may obviate the need for lymphadenectomy in many older women. Adjuvant hormonal therapy for at least two years appears to be beneficial in all women with hormone-receptor-rich tumors. Adjuvant chemotherapy is indicated in women with lymph node involvement or high-risk tumors with no lymph node involvement. Unless life-threatening metastases are present, hormonal therapy is the first approach to metastatic cancer. Chemotherapy is indicated if endocrine therapy is unsuccessful or life-threatening metastases are present. Most chemotherapy regimens appear to be well tolerated, even by women over 70 years of age. Special treatment should be employed for metastases to tumor sanctuaries (i.e., brain, eyes), the long bones, the spine and the chest wall.


Screening for Genetic Risk of Breast Cancer - Article

ABSTRACT: Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancers are thought to be familial and about one third of these cases are due to an inherited mutation in a BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer-susceptibility gene. The lifetime incidence of breast cancer in mutation carriers is above 50 percent, and carriers of BRCA1 mutation also have a substantially increased risk of ovarian cancer. BRCA1 and 2 mutations are associated with early-onset breast cancer, and some experts call for aggressive screening of affected persons. Monthly self-examination of the breasts beginning at age 18 and annual clinical examinations and mammography after age 25 have been recommended but are of unproven benefit. Prophylactic mastectomy and oophorectomy have been advocated by some authorities, but these interventions are disfiguring and for some carriers of the gene, they are unnecessary. The patient's decision to undergo genetic screening is complicated by the technical difficulty of the test, the substantial cost and the still incomplete understanding of the penetrance of disease in known mutation carriers.


Managing Menopause - Article

ABSTRACT: Many women will spend one third of their lifetime after menopause. A growing number of options are available for the treatment of menopausal symptoms like vasomotor instability and vaginal atrophy, as well as the long-term health risks such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis that are associated with menopause. Currently, hormone replacement therapy (estrogen with or without progestin) is the primary treatment for the symptoms and long-term risks associated with menopause. However, recent evidence calls into question the protective effect of estrogen on cardiovascular disease risk. The association of risk for breast cancer with estrogen replacement therapy also has not been fully clarified. In addition, many women cannot or choose not to take hormones. For treatment of osteoporosis and heart disease, pharmacologic choices include antiresorptive agents such as bisphosphonates and calcitonin, and estrogens or selective estrogen receptor modulators such as raloxifene. In addition, complementary options that include vitamins, herbal treatments, exercise and other lifestyle adaptations are gaining increased interest. The growing number of choices and questions in this area emphasizes the need to individualize a treatment plan for each woman to meet her specific needs.


Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Screening - Article

ABSTRACT: Approximately 180,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually, accounting for about 48,000 deaths per year in the United States. The screening guidelines for the diagnosis of breast cancer are continually changing. Because of increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and the use of screening mammograms, breast cancers are increasingly being diagnosed at earlier stages. Annual mammograms and clinical breast examinations are recommended for women older than 40 years. Women older than 20 years should be encouraged to do monthly breast self-examinations, and women between 20 and 39 years of age should have a clinical breast examination every three years. These guidelines are modified for women with risk factors, particularly those with a strong family history of breast cancer. Ultrasonographic studies are most useful to evaluate cystic breast masses. For solid masses, diagnostic biopsy techniques include fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy and excisional biopsy.


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