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Are There Signs Of Breast Cancer

What Are The Different Types Of Breast Cancer

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer usually begins either in glands that produce milk , or the ducts that carry it to the nipple . It can grow larger in the breast and spread to nearby lymph nodes or through your bloodstream to other organs.

The cancer may grow and invade other areas around your breast, such as your skin or chest wall. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Some take years to spread beyond your breast, while others grow and spread quickly.

There are several types of breast cancer, and they are broken into two main categories: invasive and noninvasive, . These two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer, which include:

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed

Doctors will ask for signs and symptoms, take your complete medical history, and perform a physical examination of your breast. They will first try to rule out other causes of breast symptoms, such as infections or noncancerous lumps .

To confirm their diagnosis, the doctor will order one or more of the tests that include:

  • Computed tomography scan
  • Biopsy

Your doctor can ask for a positron emission tomography scan, which is like a whole-body CT scan. The scan helps check whether breast cancer has spread anywhere else in the body.

Your Armpit Lymph Nodes Are Swollen

Most people are always looking for bumps in their breasts, but don’t forget to check your lymph nodes for swelling, too. “Many patients who end up diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes have no symptoms in the breast, no changes in the structure of the breast, but they come in for a consult because they feel something under their arm,” says Alvarez. “This may mean that cancer from the breast has traveled to the lymph nodes, and now there is lymph node invasion.”

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Your Nipple Is Turning Inward

If your nipple is starting to turn inward when it wasn’t retracted before, it could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is much more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, says the American Cancer Society. Because of that, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss any concerning changes.

Are There Early Signs Of Breast Cancer

7 Signs of Breast Cancer Women Often Ignore

As with other types of cancer, breast cancer is most responsive to treatment when diagnosed in its early stages. Breast cancer does not usually cause symptoms in its early stages, but it may cause signs that every woman should be aware of.

The first thing you should know about the early signs of breast cancer is that they can vary from person to person, so something that could indicate breast cancer in one person may not be a sign of cancer in another. The signs and symptoms may also vary between the different types of breast cancer. Also, some people do not experience any signs of breast cancer when the condition is in its early stages.

Because breast cancer does not cause many physical symptoms in its early stages, mammograms are the number one way to detect the condition. Having a mammogram can also provide answers, so you dont have to guess about the significance of any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.

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Common Breast Cancer Types

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women. About 284,200 cases will be diagnosed in 2021, according to the American Cancer Society . Men also may develop breast cancer, though its much more rare.

Breast cancer is classified into different types based on how the cells look under a microscope. Most breast cancers are carcinomas, a type of cancer that begins in the linings of most organs.

Can Breast Cancer Be Detected Early

Some women with breast cancer may not develop signs and symptoms in the earliest stages of the disease. However, breast cancer can be detected early even before any symptoms appear. This is possible by screening tests. Screening tests means checking for the presence of cancer even if there are no symptoms of cancer. Screening tests can help find breast cancer early so that treatment can be initiated at the earliest.

It is easier to treat breast cancer successfully when it has been found early and is small. This is why taking a regular breast cancer screening test is so crucial.

The American Cancer Society recommends women with average risk to undergo a basic cancer screening test that includes a mammogram . The recommendations depend on their ages.

  • Between 40 and 44 years: Women have the option of whether to go for a mammogram every year.
  • Between 45 to 54 years: Women should get mammograms every year.
  • 55 years and older: Women can consider a mammogram every alternate year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. They should continue doing the screening as long as they are healthy and are expected to live for at least 10 more years.

Average risk women include women with

  • No personal history of breast cancer.
  • A strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic change related to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • No history of chest radiation therapy before the age of 30 years.

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Breast Lumps Or Lumpiness

Many women find their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture.

Some women have more lumpiness in their breasts than others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then its likely normal breast tissue.

Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast or that feel like a change should be checked. This type of lump may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition .

See a health care provider if you:

  • Find a new lump that feels different from the rest of your breast
  • Find a new lump that feels different from your other breast
  • Feel something thats different from what you felt before

If youve had a benign lump in the past, dont assume a new lump will also be benign. The new lump may not be breast cancer, but its best to make sure.

What Are The Treatment Options For Breast Cancer

What Are the Signs of Breast Cancer?

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments can vary. However, there are some common practices doctors and specialists use to combat breast cancer:

  • Lumpectomy is when the doctor removes the tumor while leaving the breast intact.
  • Mastectomy is when the doctor surgically removes all of the breast tissue including the tumor and connecting tissue.
  • Chemotherapy is the most common cancer treatment, and it involves the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs interfere with cells ability to reproduce.
  • Radiation uses X-rays to treat cancer directly.
  • Hormone and targeted therapy can be used when either genes or hormones play a part in the cancers growth.

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Diagnosing Symptoms Related To Lymph Nodes

When touching an affected area, swollen lymph nodes may feel soft and round, like lumps the size of a pea, peanut or grape. If theyre painful when touched, that may be a sign of inflammation. Since lymph nodes appear in parallelas, for instance, on both sides of the neckyou can feel lymph glands on both sides to see whether they are a normal size on one side and enlarged on the other, which may be a sign of infection.

In determining a diagnosis, its important for doctors to look at other symptoms or factors. Swollen lymph nodes near the ear may indicate an ear infection, for instance. Swollen glands in the neck area near the collarbone, combined with a sore throat and cough, may be a sign of an upper respiratory infection. When multiple regions of lymph nodes are swollen, it may indicate a body-wide disease that needs immediate attention.

Besides reviewing your medical history, doctors may use some of the following methods to diagnose the cause of swollen lymph nodes:

  • Physical examination, feeling with fingers the nodes in the affected area to check their size and whether they feel hard, tender or warm
  • Lab tests, including blood tests to check for suspected underlying conditions

Breast Duct Treatment For Early Breast Cancer Eliminates All Signs Of Disease In Laboratory Experiments

by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Delivering a targeted immunotoxin into breast ducts via openings in the nipple wiped out all visible and invisible precancerous lesions in laboratory studies, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, of very early stage breast cancers.

A description of the work performed on mice, which the authors say provides a strong pre-clinical foundation for conducting feasibility and safety trials with patients who have stage 0 breast cancers, is published in the June 8 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Stage 0 breast cancer, also known as ductal carcinoma in situ , is characterized as the presence of abnormal, precancerous cells inside milk ducts in the breast, and it affects about 69,000 women each year in the United States. Many women have breast removal surgery and radiation treatments for these very early cancers, and in some cases, they receive chemotherapy or hormone therapies, says senior study author Saraswati Sukumar, Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins professor of oncology and pathology.

“In our research, we proposed an alternative treatment in which injecting the immunotoxin drug through the duct could result in cleaning out the DCIS,” says Sukumar. “To our big surprise, the drugs killed every single lesion present in that breast duct. I had never seen such dramatic results in my life.”

The treatment was well tolerated, with no side effects from the toxin or injection.

Explore further

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Signs Of Invasive Breast Cancers

Invasive breast cancers can cause specific signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Itchy or irritated breasts
  • Changes in the color of your breasts, such as redness
  • A rapid change in the shape of your breast or an increase in breast size over a short period
  • Changes in the way your breasts feel when you touch them they may be hard, tender, or warm to the touch
  • Flaking or peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
  • Feeling a lump in your breast or thickening of the breast tissue
  • Pitting of the skin on your breast, making it look somewhat like the skin of an orange

Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally

Signs of Breast Cancer

All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.

Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.

Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.

In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms

Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.

  • If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
  • If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
  • If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
  • If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
  • If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.

You Have Enlarged Lymph Nodes Around Your Collarbone

Your armpits aren’t the only subtle place you might experience lymph node swelling due to breast cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the same issue can also occur above or below your collarbonesa location most people don’t even realize they have a set of lymph nodes in the first place. And for more red flags that aren’t always so obvious, check out 40 Subtle Signs Your Body Is Telling You Something’s Seriously Wrong.

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How Does Breast Cancer Start

Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.

Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear when the tumour grows large enough to be felt as a lump in the breast or when the cancer spreads to surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as breast cancer.

    The most common symptom of ductal carcinoma is a firm or hard lump that feels very different from the rest of the breast. It may feel like it is attached to the skin or the surrounding breast tissue. The lump doesnt get smaller or come and go with your period. It may be tender, but its usually not painful. .

    Lobular carcinoma often does not form a lump. It feels more like the tissue in the breast is getting thicker or harder.

    Other symptoms of ductal and lobular breast cancer include:

    • a lump in the armpit
    • changes in the shape or size of the breast
    • changes to the nipple, such as a nipple that suddenly starts to point inward
    • discharge that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it or that has blood in it

    Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs. Late symptoms of breast cancer include:

    • bone pain

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    You Cant Face The Stream In The Shower

    Does wearing a bra suddenly irritate your nipples? Are your breasts so painful that you have to face away from the stream of water in the shower? Have your breasts become so sensitive that you dont like your partner to touch them anymore? Breasts or nipples that become more sensitive than normal can be a sign of cancer, Dr. Ross says.

    Breast sensitivity is often tied to hormone changes, which is why many women experience breast tenderness as part of PMS and its one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. However, some types of breast cancer can affect your hormones, giving you a similar feeling, she explains.

    So if your breasts are suddenly way more sensitive than normal and its not around that time of the month and youre not pregnant, give your doctor a call, she says.

    Skin Rash On The Breasts

    You may not associate breast cancer with redness or a skin rash, but in the case of inflammatory breast cancer , a rash is an early symptom. This is an aggressive form of breast cancer that affects the skin and lymph vessels of the breast.

    Unlike other types of breast cancer, IBC doesnt usually cause lumps. However, your breasts may become swollen, warm, and appear red. The rash may resemble clusters of insect bites, and its not unusual to have itchiness.

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    What Are The Screening Tests For Breast Cancer And Who Can Get One

    Screening tests mean checking for the presence of cancer even if there are no symptoms or signs. They can help find breast cancer early so that treatment can be initiated at the earliest.

    Breast cancer is easier to treat successfully when it has been found early and is small. Therefore, taking a regular breast cancer screening test becomes so important.

    The American Cancer Society recommends women with an average risk undergo a basic cancer screening test that includes a mammogram. Recommendations depend on their age.

    • Between 40 and 44 years: Women have the option of going or not going for a mammogram every year.
    • Between 45 and 54 years: Women should get mammograms every year.
    • 55 years and older: Women can consider a mammogram every alternate year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. They should continue doing the screening as long as they are healthy and are expected to live for at least 10 more years.

    Average risk women include those with:

    • No personal history of breast cancer.
    • No strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic change related to an increased risk of breast cancer.
    • No history of chest radiation therapy before the age of 30 years.

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