Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, says breast cancer survivors need to be as healthy as possible so that when they are in their 90’s they are a good survivor. “We take care of their general health and that they have the best health habits, whether it is diet, exercise, not too much alcohol, avoiding the sun, many different things that help keep them healthy.”
Dr. Cindy Mitch-Gomez, Family Medicine Physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, points out it is important for survivors to realize that they are the caregivers of their families, and they need to take care of themselves first. Breast cancer has the highest amount of new cases of cancer in the United States in 2018. Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, says breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women, and one in eight women get breast cancer at some point in their life.
She also explains the survival rate has improved 39% since 1989 because of the early detection and better treatments. There are some mammography guidelines: women at average risk should have annual screening from age 40; women at increased risk should have it yearly starting by age 30 but not before age 25; and women with high-risk lesions, breast cancer or ovarian cancer should get it yearly from time of the diagnosis.
Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, says people who are at increased risk of getting breast cancer might visit their physician and start screening at the age of 30, especially if they have had radiation for Hodgkin’s disease in the past or if they have a family history of cancer. Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, says obesity is linked to multiple cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, liver, and kidney cancer, among others). “Abdominal obesity may cause the fat cells to produce cytokines that are pro-inflammatory cells and increase the risk of different cancers.”
She explains if breast cancer patients exercise five hours a week, they reduce the death rate from breast cancer by 30%. “It is so important for breast cancer survivors to consider exercise.” Gender, age, inherited certain genes, race, dense breast tissue, and atypical breast lesions are some of the risk factors of breast cancer.
Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, explains one out of 100 cases of breast cancer could be male. About age, she says most women are above 50 when they have breast cancer, but she has many young patients in their 20’s and 30’s with breast cancer. Dr. Grace Wang, Medical Oncologist with Miami Cancer Institute, explains they have a multidisciplinary tumor board every week where they present the cases and they have the physicians from radiology and plastic surgery to take care of each individual person, because each one has a totally different story.
Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy) are the multi-modality treatments for breast cancer.