Who Is Mainly Affected By Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, second only to skin cancer. Its most likely to affect women over the age of 50.
Though rare, men can also develop breast cancer. Approximately 2,600 men develop male breast cancer every year in the United States, making up less than 1% of all cases.
Transgender women are more likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender men. Additionally, transgender men are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to cisgender women.
What age does breast cancer occur?
Breast cancer is most often diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age.
What race is most affected by breast cancer?
Overall, women who are non-Hispanic white have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race or ethnicity. Women who are non-Hispanic Black are almost as likely as non-Hispanic white women to develop the disease. Statistically, women who are Asian, Hispanic or Native American are the least likely to develop breast cancer.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
In general, any changes to the nipple and the areola that affect only one breast are more concerning than changes that affect both breasts. However, if you notice anything unusual about your nipples or areolas in one or both breasts, you should call your healthcare provider. A change in your nipples and areola is the thing to watch out for.
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My Dog Found My Cancer
I had just been to the ob-gyn for my annual check-up and breast exam, and got the all okay. Soon after, my little dog Zoe climbed up on me and started pawing at a specific part of my breast. Little alarms went off in my head, telling me to pay attention. It was like a slow-motion movie. I pushed her off and thats when I found a little round BB-sized lump. After a mammogram that didnt show anything, and a sonogram that found the lump, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Its so important to listen to the messages our bodies are telling us.
Christine Egan, author of The Healthy Girls Guide to Breast Cancer, Bayport, New York
The change of nipple colour is not regular under the following circumstances:
- If the colour change is occurring on one side of the nipple.
- If it is unevenly distributed on both sides.
- If it happens even when youre not pregnant.
- If your nipple colour has suddenly changed and you are unaware of the cause.
- If there is a bloody discharge from your nipple.
If any of the above changes are seen in your body, you should definitely consult a doctor.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
Learning everything you can about your diagnosis can help you make informed decisions about your health. Here are some questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Where is the tumor located?
- Has the tumor spread?
- What stage breast cancer do I have?
- What do the estrogen receptor , progesterone receptor and HER2 tests show and what do the results mean for me?
- What are my treatment options?
- Is breast cancer surgery an option for me?
- Will I be able to work while I undergo treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What other resources are available to me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can feel scary, frustrating and even hopeless. If you or a loved one is facing this disease, its important to take advantage of the many resources available to you. Talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options. You may even want to get a second opinion before making a decision. You should feel satisfied and optimistic about your treatment plan. Finally, joining a local support group can help with feelings of isolation and allow you to talk with other people who are going through the same thing.
Can Pagets Disease Be Invasive
Some people with Pagets disease will also have developed an invasive breast cancer.
Invasive breast cancer has the potential to spread from the breast to other parts of the body.
In many cases this will mean a breast lump has also developed in the affected breast.
Even if theres no lump, some people may still have an invasive cancer.
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Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Although most breast cancers begin as lumps or tumors, inflammatory breast cancer usually starts with a feeling of thickness or heaviness in the breast. You also may develop red, inflamed skin on the breast. IBC tends to grow in the form of layers or sheets of tissue, which doctors sometimes call nests.
The breasts swell and become inflamed because the cancer cells clog the vessels that carry lymph. Lymph is a clear, watery fluid that transports white blood cells and removes bacteria and proteins from the tissues.
Common symptoms of IBC include:
- Redness of the breast: Redness involving part or all of the breast is a hallmark of inflammatory breast cancer. Sometimes the redness comes and goes.
- Swelling of the breast: Part of or all of the breast may be swollen, enlarged, and hard.
- Warmth: The breast may feel warm.
- Orange-peel appearance: Your breast may swell and start to look like the peel of a navel orange .
- Other skin changes: The skin of the breast might look pink or bruised, or you may have what looks like ridges, welts, or hives on your breast.
- Swelling of lymph nodes: The lymph nodes under your arm or above the collarbone may be swollen.
- Flattening or inversion of the nipple: The nipple may go flat or turn inward.
- Aching or burning: Your breast may ache or feel tender.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer symptoms can vary for each person. Possible signs of breast cancer include:
- A change in the size, shape or contour of your breast.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A lump or thickening in or near your breast or in your underarm that persists through your menstrual cycle.
- A change in the look or feel of your skin on your breast or nipple .
- Redness of your skin on your breast or nipple.
- An area thats distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under your skin.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from your nipple.
Some people dont notice any signs of breast cancer at all. Thats why routine mammograms and are so important.
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Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
Most breast cancer symptoms are discovered by women during regular dailyactivities like bathing. Knowing how your breasts look and feel, andbeing alert for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump,can help you detect the disease early, when it’s easiest to treat.
Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or conditions that are less worrying than breast cancer. However, if you experience any of the following breast cancer symptoms, even if they seem mild, see your doctor.
- A lump in the breast or armpit is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Patients often describe this as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. Unless you have small breasts or the lump is very large, you probably wont be able to see it.
- Skin redness
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
Though rare, men can also get breast cancer. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a lump, discharge or dimpling.
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.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Breast Cancer
The most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Feeling a lump in the breast area, with or without pain
- Change in breast shape or size
- Dimple or puckering in breast
- A nipple turning inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, especially if it is bloody
- Scaly, red, darkened or swollen skin in the breast area
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Dimple, pitted appearance or feel in the breast area
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes around the breast area, including the collarbone and armpits
Although these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, you should check with a doctor preferably a breast health specialist so they can make a definitive diagnosis.
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Areolas And Breast Cancer
Areolas can change in color or size for many reasons, many of which are completely harmless. However, some changes are indicative of breast cancer. Knowing the different causes and expected changes can help you identify irregularities that might signal something more serious.
Every person has very different nipples and areolas, so do not try to compare yours to others as a sign of health or the presence of conditions. Instead, look for these signals:
You Notice Changes That Arent Related To Your Boobs At All
Back pain, neck pain, and unexplained weight loss were all listed as other breast cancer symptoms that led women to seek medical care and ultimately get diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology.
Thats because breast cancer can spread before its caught, causing symptoms in body parts that have nothing to do with your boobs. Its not possible to identify every possible sign of breast cancer so when it comes to early detection, you are your own best weapon, says Dr. Denduluri. Overall, any persistent, noticeable change should be checked by a doctor.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Paget’s Disease Of The Breast
If you have Pagets disease of the breast, you may want to ask your doctor: These first two questions can usually only be answered after surgery. Most patients with Pagets disease do not have distant spread of disease and staging is dependent on the findings at operation.
- Have I been evaluated for cancer anywhere else in the breast or elsewhere in my body?
- What stage is the cancer?
- What type of surgery is best for me?
- Will I need additional treatment after surgery?
- What resources are available to support me?
Management Of Breast Or Nipple Pain In Breast Cancer
Pain related to breast cancer may range from mild to severe, or from short episodes to longer-lasting ones, both because of the cancer itself and as a result of treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and other anti-cancer medications. Breast or nipple pain caused by tumors is more common if the disease has spread to other parts of the body. But anyone can experience pain or discomfort following cancer treatments, regardless of the stage of the breast cancer, says the nonprofit organization breastcancer.org.
You should know that treatment for pain is part of cancer treatment. It is important to resist the still-too-common assumption that because cancer is a serious disease, some level of pain is to be expected. You and your medical team should have a plan in place for treating any pain you may experience before, during, or after your treatment for breast cancer. Most people can get complete relief for their pain or at least significant relief that allows them to enjoy the activities of daily life. It may take some time to find the right combination and types of pain treatment that work best for you, but the effort will be worth it.
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Research And Clinical Trials
Doctors and researchers are carrying out trials to find better tests and treatments for Paget’s disease, ductal carcinoma in situ and breast cancer.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence June 2018
Breastconserving surgery in patients with Pagets diseaseS Helme and othersBritish Journal of Surgery, 2015, Sept:102
Mammary and extramammary Pagets diseaseL Filho and othersBrazilian Annals of Dermatology, 2015: 90 pages 225-31
Pagets Breast Disease: A Case Report and Review of the LiteratureS Dubar and othersFrontiers in surgery, 2017. Volume 4
Practical consensus recommendations for Paget’s disease in breast cancerA Gaurav and others
Pagets Disease Of The Breast Prevention
Thereâs no definite way to prevent cancer, but some lifestyle changes can help make it less likely.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Get regular exercise. Moderate to high-intensity activity is best.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink. Experts recommend no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
- Breastfeeding may also lower your risk of breast cancer.
If you have one or more breast cancer risk factors, talk to your doctor about further steps, including:
- Testing to look for changes in your genes
- More frequent checkups or screening tests
- Medicines to block estrogen such as raloxifene and tamoxifen
- Breast removal surgery
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What Is Paget’s Disease Of The Breast
Paget’s disease of the breast is a rare type of cancer that forms in or around your nipple. Itâs involved in 1% to 4% of all breast cancers. It may be linked with an underlying breast cancer, either ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive breast cancer.
You might also hear it called Pagetâs disease of the nipple or mammary Paget disease.
Paget’s Disease And Dcis
Most people with Pagets disease will have an early form of breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ under the nipple or elsewhere in the breast.
DCIS means that cancer cells have developed inside the milk ducts but remain within the duct . They have not yet developed the ability to spread outside the ducts, either into the surrounding breast tissue or to other parts of the body.
Because its confined to the breast ducts, if treated DCIS has a good outlook .
However, if DCIS is not treated, the cancer cells may develop the ability to spread from the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue and become an invasive breast cancer.
DCIS is graded as either low, intermediate, or high grade, based on what the cells look like under the microscope. High-grade DCIS is more likely with Pagets disease.
Although the size and grade of the DCIS may help predict if it will become invasive, theres currently no way of knowing for certain if this will happen.
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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, such as a cyst or fibroadenoma.
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.
Treating Breast Cancer In Men
Treatment for breast cancer in men largely depends on how far the cancer has spread.
Most hospitals use multidisciplinary teams to treat men with breast cancer. These are teams of specialists who work together to make decisions about the best way to proceed with your treatment.
Before visiting hospital to discuss your treatment options, you may find it useful to write a list of questions you’d like to ask the specialist. For example, you could ask about the advantages and disadvantages of particular treatments.
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