Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Breast Cancer

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.

Insight:

  • After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States.
  • Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women.
  • Symptoms include a breast lump or thickening that feels different; change in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast; a newly inverted nipple; peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin; and redness or pitting of the skin.
  • Risk factors include being female, increasing age, history of breast cancer, family history, obesity, and having a child at an older age.
  • Diagnostic tools may include breast exam, mammogram, breast ultrasound, biopsy, and MRI.
  • Treatment includes lumpectomy, mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, axillary lymph node dissection, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care.
  • Chemotherapy can be given before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant).
  • Adjuvant and neo-adjuvant drug may include anthracyclines, such as doxorubicin (Adriamycin), epirubicin (Ellence); taxanes such as paclitaxel (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere), 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) or capecitabine, cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), and carboplatin.

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