Breast cancer: discuss consequences of treatment

By Margarita Snegireva. Women diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer face enough tough decisions, like choosing between prolonged therapies or major surgery. Yet, new research indicates doctors aren't even talking about every option available to women before a decision on how to proceed is made.

A new survey reports only one out of three breast cancer patients said they had talked with their doctors about plastic surgery options to reconstruct a lost breast.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Cancer Society, surveyed nearly 1,200 early stage breast cancer patients in Detroit and Los Angeles . The women who learned about breast reconstruction were four times more likely to choose mastectomy over lumpectomy.

Reconstruction requires a general surgeon to find a consulting plastic surgeon and to coordinate operation time - a difficult task for a stand-alone general surgeon with a private practice, ABC News reports.

Worldwide, breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and colon cancer). In 2005, breast cancer caused 502,000 deaths (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths) worldwide. Among women worldwide, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death.

In the United States, breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer and colon cancer). In 2007, breast cancer is expected to cause 40,910 deaths (7% of cancer deaths; almost 2% of all deaths) in the U.S. Among women in the U.S., breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second-most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer). Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 lifetime chance of developing invasive breast cancer and a 1 in 33 chance of breast cancer causing their death. In the U.S., both incidence and death rates for breast cancer have been declining in the last few years Nevertheless, a U.S. study conducted in 2005 by the Society for Women's Health Research indicated that breast cancer remains the most feared disease, even though heart disease is a much more common cause of death among women.

The number of cases worldwide has significantly increased since the 1970s, a phenomenon partly blamed on modern lifestyles in the Western world. Because the breast is composed of identical tissues in males and females, breast cancer also occurs in males, though it is less common

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