Breast Cancer Questions & Answers

Updated: Dec 04, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Questions & Answers

Overview

What is breast cancer?

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

What is included in the evaluation of breast cancer?

Which physical findings suggest breast cancer?

What features of a palpable lump suggest breast cancer?

How is breast cancer screening performed?

What is the role of biopsy in the workup of breast cancer?

How is breast cancer treated?

What are the chemotherapy regimens used to treat breast cancer?

What is the role of drug treatment for breast cancer?

What is breast cancer?

What is the anatomy relevant to breast cancer?

What is the pathophysiology of breast cancer?

How is breast cancer categorized?

What are the types of breast cancer?

What causes breast cancer?

What is the role of age in the etiology of breast cancer?

What is the role of family history in the etiology of breast cancer?

Which family history factors increase the risk for breast cancer?

How is family history–based risk for breast cancer assessed?

What is the role of reproductive factors in the etiology of breast cancer?

What is the role of estradiol in the etiology of breast cancer?

What is the role of oral contraceptives (OCs) in the etiology of breast cancer?

What is the role of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the etiology of breast cancer?

What are guidelines for HRT in women at high risk of breast cancer?

How should menopausal symptoms be treated in women at high risk of breast cancer?

Which history findings increase the risk for a second primary breast cancer occurrence?

What is the role of lifestyle factors in the etiology of breast cancer?

What is the role of obesity in the etiology of breast cancer?

Which Western lifestyle factors increase the risk for breast cancer?

Which environmental factors increase the risk for breast cancer?

What is the prevalence of breast cancer in the US?

What are the historical trends in the incidence of breast cancer in the US?

What is the role of HRT in the incidence of breast cancer in the US?

What is the global prevalence of breast cancer?

Which age groups have the highest prevalence of breast cancer?

What are the racial predilections of breast cancer?

How do the mortality rates for breast cancer vary among racial and ethnic groups?

What is the association between breast cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

What is the prognosis of breast cancer?

What are the prognostic and predictive factors for breast cancer?

What are the survival rates for breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of breast cancer following HER2-targeted therapies?

What is the prognosis of DCIS breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of LCIS breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of infiltrating ductal carcinoma breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of medullary carcinoma breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of mucinous carcinoma breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of cystic papillary carcinoma breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of metaplastic breast cancer?

What is the prognosis of mammary Paget disease?

Presentation

Which clinical history findings are characteristic of breast cancer?

What are the USPSTF guidelines on risk assessment for BRCA-related breast cancer?

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

Which breast exam findings suggest breast cancer?

How are palpable lumps characterized in breast cancer?

What are the signs and symptoms of metastatic breast cancer?

DDX

Which conditions should be included in the differential diagnosis of breast cancer?

What are the differential diagnoses for Breast Cancer?

Workup

What is the triple assessment algorithm for breast cancer diagnosis?

What is the efficacy of breast cancer screening in the early detection of breast cancer?

Which modalities are used to screen for breast cancer?

What is the role of mammography in the workup of breast cancer?

Which factors affect a women's decision to undergo a breast cancer screening mammogram?

What are the ACS guidelines for breast cancer screening?

What are the USPSTF guidelines for breast cancer screening?

What are the ACP guidelines for breast cancer screening?

What are the ACR guidelines for breast cancer screening?

What is the efficacy of 3D mammography for breast cancer screening?

How does breast density affect the risk for breast cancer?

What is the role of diagnostic mammography in the evaluation of breast cancer?

What is the role of ultrasonography in the workup of breast cancer?

What is the role of MRI in the workup of breast cancer?

When is MRI indicated for the diagnosis of breast cancer?

When is MRI contraindicated for the diagnosis of breast cancer?

Which radiotracers are used in scintimammography for the diagnosis of breast cancer?

What are contraindications for scintimammography in the workup of breast cancer?

What is the role of PET scanning in the workup of breast cancer?

What is the accuracy of breast imaging modalities for the diagnosis of breast cancer?

What is the role of breast biopsy in the diagnosis of breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of lobular carcinoma in situ breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of infiltrating ductal carcinoma breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of medullary carcinoma breast cancer?

Which tumor features affect treatment selection for breast cancer?

What are the histologic grades for breast cancer?

What are the histologic characteristics of DCIS breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of infiltrating lobular carcinoma breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of mucinous carcinoma breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of tubular carcinoma breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of papillary carcinoma breast cancer?

What are histologic findings of metaplastic breast cancer?

What are the histologic findings of mammary Paget disease?

What is the AJCC staging system for breast cancer?

How is the primary tumor (T) in breast cancer staged?

How are regional lymph nodes (N) in breast cancer staged?

How is distant breast cancer metastasis staged?

What are the survival rates by stage for breast cancer?

According to ASCO guidelines, which patients with breast cancer should be offered sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy?

What are the contraindications for sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for evaluation of asymptomatic women with early-stage breast cancer (stages I–IIB)?

What are the NCCN guidelines for evaluation of women with clinical stage IIIA (T3, N1, M0) breast cancer?

How is HER2 testing performed in the evaluation of breast cancer?

What is the role of molecular profiling assays in the workup of breast cancer?

What is the MammaPrint assay for breast cancer?

Treatment

How is breast cancer treated?

How is invasive breast cancer treated?

What are the guidelines for breast-conserving surgery with whole-breast irradiation (WBI) in stages I and II invasive breast cancer?

What is the role of post lumpectomy radiation therapy in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASBrS selection criteria for treatment of breast cancer with accelerated partial breast irradiation (PBI)?

What are the potential complications of partial breast irradiation (PBI) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What is the efficacy of external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What is the role of single-dose radiotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASCO criteria for postmastectomy radiation therapy in the treatment of breast cancer?

What is the efficacy of radiation therapy for the treatment of invasive breast cancer?

What is the role of systemic adjuvant therapy in the treatment of breast cancer?

How is DCIS breast cancer treated?

What is the role of WBRT in the treatment of DCIS breast cancer?

What is the role of tamoxifen in the treatment of DCIS breast cancer?

How is LCIS breast cancer treated?

How is locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) and inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) treated?

What is the prognosis of locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) and inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) following treatment?

What is inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

What is locally advanced breast cancer (LABC)?

How are lymph nodes evaluated in locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) and inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)?

What are the systemic treatments for metastatic breast cancer?

What is the role of hormone therapy in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

What is the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

Which chemotherapy agents are used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

What is the role of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

What is the efficacy of combination therapy in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer?

What is the role of antiangiogenic therapy in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

What is the role of surgery for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

What is the role of tamoxifen and raloxifene for the reduction of breast cancer risk?

What are the ASCO guidelines for the pharmacologic reduction of breast cancer risk?

What is the role mastectomy in the prevention of breast cancer?

What are the ASBrS recommendations for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the differences between the NCCN and ASCO guidelines for the long-term monitoring of breast cancer survivors?

What are ASCO guidelines for monitoring bone density following the treatment for breast cancer?

What is the role of postoperative imaging in the long-term monitoring of breast cancer?

What is the role of postoperative imaging in the monitoring of metastatic breast cancer?

How is radiation-induced heart disease monitored in patients with breast cancer?

What are Society for Integrative Oncology guidelines for use of integrative therapy in breast cancer?

Guidelines

Which organizations have issued guidelines on breast cancer screening?

What are the ACS guidelines for breast self-exam (BSE)?

What are ACS guidelines breast cancer mammogram screening?

What are ACS guidelines for the use of MRI in breast cancer screening?

What are the USPSTF guidelines for breast self-exam (BSE)?

What are the USPSTF guidelines for breast cancer screening?

What are the USPSTF guidelines for BRCA-related breast cancer screening?

How are the ACOG guidelines for breast cancer screening categorized?

According to ACOG guidelines, which breast cancer risk factors should be periodically assessed in women?

What are the ACOG guidelines for clinical breast exam to screen for breast cancer?

What are the ACOG recommendations for breast cancer screening mammography?

Which organizations have issued guidelines for pharmacologic intervention for breast cancer risk reduction?

What are the ASCO guidelines on pharmacologic interventions for breast cancer risk reduction?

What are the ASCO recommendations for use of tamoxifen in breast cancer risk reduction?

What are the ASCO recommendations for use of raloxifene in breast cancer risk reduction?

What are the ASCO recommendations for use of exemestane in breast cancer risk reduction?

What are the USPSTF guidelines on pharmacologic interventions for breast cancer risk reduction?

Which organizations have issued guidelines for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for the use of axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines on the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in the treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy?

What are the guidelines for breast-conserving surgery with whole-breast radiation therapy (WBRT) in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer?

What are the guidelines for breast-conserving surgery with whole-breast radiation therapy (WBRT) in stages I and II invasive breast cancer?

What are the NCCN guidelines for radical mastectomy in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for postmastectomy radiation therapy in the treatment of breast cancer?

What are the ASCO treatment guidelines for HER2-positive breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for the use of hormonal adjuvant therapy in the treatment of premenopausal women with breast cancer?

What are the ASCO guidelines for adjuvant endocrine therapy in the treatment of postmenopausal women with breast cancer?

What are guidelines on the treatment of breast cancer in young women?

Which organizations issued guidelines on follow-up care for breast cancer survivors?

What are ASCO guidelines for use of biomarkers in the treatment of breast cancer?

Medications

What is the role of adjuvant therapies in the treatment of breast cancer?

Which medications are used in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Estrogen Receptor Antagonist are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, PARP Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class CDK Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Aromatase Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Monoclonal Antibodies are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Vinca Alkaloid are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Antimetabolite are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Calcium Metabolism Modifiers are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Anthracycline are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Alkylating are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class Antineoplastics, Antimicrotubular are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?

Which medications in the drug class PI3K Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Breast Cancer?