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Maggi Banning
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 16, Iss. 2, 25 Jan 2007, pp 86 - 90

Breast cancer is a common form of cancer in women of varying age. Due to the relationship between breasts, sexuality and reproduction, this form of cancer has an interconnected psychological and psychosocial influence on the wellbeing of women. Current understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of the disease has evolved as evidence supporting a role for genes such as the HER2 gene has emerged. HER2-positive breast cancer is a particularly progressive form of the disease as a result of its ability to differentiate and spread. Trastuzumab (Herceptin) forms part of the current treatment for this form of breast cancer; albeit costly, it has been shown to improve survival rates in women. For this reason it is now a recommended treatment for early-stage breast cancer. During and after treatment cycles, the breast cancer nurse and medical practitioners should be available to provide emotional support and advice on the manifestations of the disease, coping strategies and how breast cancer patients manage close family relatives.

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