Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
For so many women, there is no more dreaded disease than
breast cancer. Breast cancer elicits fears related to loss of body image and
sexuality, surgery, and death. As is the case for most cancers, the exact cause
of breast cancer is not clearly known. Furthermore, there is currently no cure
advanced disease, and there is no definitive way of preventing it.
Breast cancer also affects men. Male breast cancer accounts for about 1% of all breast cancers. Around
330,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in women in the U.S., while about 2,200 cases are diagnosed in men.
Our knowledge of how breast cancer develops is expanding rapidly. As a result, new medications are being developed to reduce the risk of breast cancer among those at high risk of contracting this disease. For the majority of women, lifestyle changes, a healthy
exercise, and weight reduction can also help reduce the chance of
developing breast cancer. To date, the most important strategy in improving
survival is still breast cancer screening and early detection. Breast cancer is
the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. The
leading cause is lung cancer. One in every eight women in the United States
develops breast cancer. The risk is even higher for women with previous breast
cancer, those who have first-degree relatives with breast cancer, those with
multiple family members with cancer, and those who have inherited "cancer
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 9/25/2013
What are the facts about families that have multiple members with breast cancer?
Overall, inherited breast cancer disorders account for a small minority of breast cancers. Genes are the "messages" in each cell of the body that determine the ultimate design of our bodies. Genes can be damaged by the environment. Additionally, people can be born with defects in the genes that remove the body's defenses against cancers. Only in about 10% of all breast cancer cases is there actually an inherited genetic defect that can be tested. In fact, most cases of breast cancer occur in women who do not have a family history of breast cancer. A complex interplay between environmental and genetic factors affects the development of breast cancer, and all the key factors have not yet been identified.