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.
How Are Breast Calcifications Detected
Calcifications are a common find on a mammogram, with increasing prevalence after the age of 50. There are a variety of causes for calcifications, including:
Calcifications, unlike lumps, cannot be detected using touch. They can only be found using mammography or, rarely, ultrasounds.
How To Look For Changes
Standing in front of a mirror, a person should look at the overall appearance of the breasts and nipples. Here are some questions to think about while doing so:
- Are they similar in size, shape, and height?
- Is one a different color than the other?
- Are there any visible skin lesions, marks, color changes, or moles?
- Are there any signs of swelling, lumpiness, pitting, or contour changes?
- Are the nipples facing outward or inward?
A person should run through this checklist twice: once with their arms at their sides and once with their arms above their head.
Breasts are rarely identical, but noticing changes can help detect a problem early. Having an idea of the usual size, shape, appearance, and feel of the breasts can help a person be aware of any changes.
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What To Do If You Spot A Possible Sign Of Breast Cancer
Dont panic. If you notice a change in your breast, it doesnt necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Some of these changes may be a result of benign, or non-cancerous, breast conditions, explains Dr. Duncan.
Still, if you notice any change at all, especially one occurring in only one breast, its a good idea to contact your doctor to get treatment started right away, if necessary.
When To Talk To A Doctor About Your Lumps
Diagnosing lumps and bumps on your own can be challenging. If you are worried about cancer or have a history of cancer in your family, talk to us about it and we will answer your question: when to worry about a lump under the skin?
- Firm/hard to the touch
- It doesnt move around, fixed to the tissue
- Not tender when touched
- Felt in the breast or groin region
- Grows steadily
- Uneven surface
- New lump
One of my patients, Calla, agreed to share her experience when she presented with a similar complaint.
Cancer Tumors Versus Cysts And Fibroadenomas
Cysts, which are fluid-filled lumps, are common in the breast and are benign. They form when fluid builds up inside breast glands, and tend to be smooth or round. Fibroadenomas, which are benign tumors made up of glandular and connective breast tissue, are usually smooth and firm or rubbery to the touch. Both of these conditions tend to affect younger women fibroadenomas are most common in women in their 20s and 30s, and cysts are most common in women under 40.
Despite these common descriptions, it is impossible to tell by touch whether a lump is cancer.
Diagnosis Of Phyllodes Tumors
Like other less common types of breast tumors, phyllodes tumors can be difficult to diagnose because doctors don’t encounter them all that often. A phyllodes tumor also can look like a more common type of benign breast growth called a fibroadenoma. A fibroadenoma is a solid, growing lump of normal breast cells that is the most common kind of breast mass, especially in younger women.
Two key differences between fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors are that phyllodes tumors tend to grow more quickly and develop about 10 years later in life in the 40s as opposed to the 30s. These differences can help doctors distinguish phyllodes tumors from fibroadenomas.
Diagnosing phyllodes tumors usually involves a combination of steps:
Some experts believe it is better to use excisional biopsy if a phyllodes tumor is suspected. Examining the whole tumor is often necessary to make the right diagnosis. The smaller tissue samples taken during core needle biopsy may not be enough to confirm that a lump is a phyllodes tumor.
A pathologist then examines the tumor tissue under a microscope to make the diagnosis. He or she also classifies the phyllodes tumor as benign, borderline, or malignant. In a benign tumor:
- the edges are well-defined
- the cells are not dividing rapidly
- the stromal cells still look somewhat like normal cells
- there is not an “overgrowth” of stromal cells there are epithelial cells as well
In a malignant tumor:
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A Change In Your Breast May Be An Early Sign Of Breast Cancer Heres What To Look For
Breast cancer affects approximately one in eight women in their lifetime. But today, breast cancer is becoming more and more treatable especially when its caught early.
There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for, says Mona Duncan, MD, general surgeon at Geisinger. Thats why its so important to go for your regular checkups and mammograms, and to perform monthly breast self-exams at home.Learn how to perform a breast self-exam.
Causes Of Painful Breast Lumps
Hormonal activities are very high in women especially during their menstrual cycle, when pregnant and while undergoing perimenopause period. During these periods the level of estrogen may go up thereby causing overproduction of oil in the body some of which may lead to a lump development on the skin including the breast. The lump formed may sometimes be painful and some women even find it hard to bend while carrying out their house chores. These types of lumps should never cause anxiety since it will disappear without any treatment after the period you are undergoing is over.
Women are supposed to maintain a high standard of hygiene especially in the areas around the breast. This is because this area is always covered and therefore it is always warm and moist more so for breastfeeding women. All these conditions are very encouraging when it comes to yeast infection which may appear as a rash or a painful lump in breast. Therefore, women whose hygiene is poor are likely to develop a breast lump easily even from the clogging of the pore on the area.
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What Do Breast Lumps Feel Like
How breast lumps feel depends on their cause, location, and growth. They can vary from painful, hard, and immobile to soft, painless, and easily moveable.
Lumps are most likely to be cancerous if they do not cause pain and are hard, unevenly shaped, and immobile.
Other breast lumps can feel different:
- Fibroadenoma lumps tend to be painless, easily movable, smooth, and rounded. They may disappear on their own.
- Breast cysts are smooth but firm.
- Breast abscesses and mastitis usually cause painful, swollen lumps, and there may also be a fever and flushing around the affected skin.
How Are Breast Lumps And Pain Diagnosed
If you find a breast mass or lump, you should schedule an appointment with your health care professional who will do a breast examination to check your breasts for irregularities, dimpling, tightened skin, lumps, inflamed or tender areas, and nipple discharge. The areas of each breast and underarms will be examined.
If your doctor finds a lump at this time, you may have a re-examination in two to three weeks. If it is still present, then your doctor may recommend some further testing. The ideal time for the breast examination is seven to nine days after your period.
If the physical examination is normal and no mass is found, laboratory and imaging tests are not usually necessary in women younger than 35 years. Women older than 35 years should probably still have a mammogram unless they have had a mammogram in the past 12 months.
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Living With Breast Cancer
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can affect daily life in many ways, depending on what stage it’s at and the treatment you will have.
How people cope with the diagnosis and treatment varies from person to person. There are several forms of support available, if you need it.
Forms of support may include:
- family and friends, who can be a powerful support system
- communicating with other people in the same situation
- finding out as much as possible about your condition
- not trying to do too much or overexerting yourself
- making time for yourself
Find out more about living with breast cancer.
Change In Size Shape Or Feel Of Your Breast
A cancer might cause your breast to look bigger or have a different shape than usual, it might feel different.
Many healthy women find that their breasts feel lumpy and tender just before their period.
It can help to be breast aware. This means getting to know the size, shape and feel of your breasts.
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Common Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
1. The first and the most common sign of breast cancer is a LUMP IN THE BREAST .9% of these lumps are benign and confused with cysts. Breast cysts are sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common.
2. A LUMP OR THICKENED AREA in either breast or in the underarm area, it can be detected by regular self-examination for breast cancer.
3. A CHANGE IN SIZE OR SHAPE of one or both breasts.
4. PAIN in either breast or armpit unrelated to your period.
5. DISCHARGES Coming from either nipple, it may be bloody, or milky, if present when not breastfeeding you should be checked by a doctor right away.
6. DIMPLING Dimpling or sunken skin on your breasts, often referred to as orange-peel, from the similarity of appearance
7. RASHESAND REDNESS Rashes around your nipple. Redness or an enlarged underarm lymph node
This poster is one of the best illustrations that summarizes the visible and hidden signs of breast cancer:
What Are Some Common Types Of Benign Breast Lumps
There are many possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps. Two of the most common causes of benign single breast lumps are cysts and fibroadenomas. In addition, several other conditions can present themselves as lumps, such as fat necrosis and sclerosing adenosis. Only your healthcare provider can diagnose your breast lump.
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What Are The 6 Symptoms Of Breast Lumps And Pain
- Breast lump: Although alarming when you find one, most breast lumps are not cancer.
- Breast pain: Most commonly associated with fibrocystic changes, pain may occur in both breasts, though one may be more painful than the other. With fibrocystic changes, the pain occurs about a week before your menstrual period. The pain usually goes away gradually with the onset of your period.
- Cyclic breast pain is typically most severe before your period and gets better during your period.
- It is usually described as bilateral , in the upper outer areas of your breast, and is often associated with lumpiness.
- Women tend to describe this pain as dull, aching, heavy, or sore, and it can radiate to your armpit or even down your arm.
- The intensity of pain can vary widely with the range of severity from mild to severe enough to limit clothing selections, sleep positions, or hugging.
How Quickly Breast Cancer Spreads
Since the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body is responsible for over 90 percent of deaths related to breast cancer, the question of how rapidly breast cancer spreads is very important.
Breast cancer usually spreads first to lymph nodes under the arm . Even with the involvement of lymph nodes, breast cancer is considered an early stage and is potentially curable with treatment.
When a cancer spreads to regions such as the bones, brain, lungs, or liver, however, it is considered stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer, and is no longer curable.
Most breast cancers have the potential to spread. Carcinoma in situ or stage 0 breast cancer has not yet spread beyond something known as the basement membrane. These tumors are considered non-invasive and are theoretically 100 percent curable with surgery.
All other stages of breast cancer are considered invasive and have the potential to spread. Spread to lymph nodes, even when early stage, is very important, as these tumors have essentially declared their intent to spread beyond the breasts.
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What Causes Breast Cysts
Breasts are made up of lobules and ducts . The milk glands are surrounded by fibrous support tissue and fat, known as breast tissue. This tissue gives breasts their size and shape. Sometimes, the milk glands can fill up with fluid these are breast cysts.
Cysts may appear naturally as the breast alters with age, due to normal changes in the oestrogen hormone levels. During the menstrual cycle oestrogen causes fluid to be produced. Although you can develop breast cysts at any age, theyre most common in women over 35.
After the menopause , as oestrogen levels fall, cysts usually stop forming. Women who have hormone replacement therapy may still get cysts.
Breast Lump While Nursing
If a person notices their breast is lumpy, tender, and warm while nursing they likely have mastitis.
Mastitis an infection that develops from a blocked milk duct. A doctor will treat the infection with antibiotics. To prevent mastitis from recurring, a person may need to try different nursing techniques.
If more lumps develop in the breast after the person takes antibiotics, they should speak to their doctor again. While only
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, people should perform breast self-exams at least once a month. The best time for females to do this is immediately after the end of a menstrual period.
A person can perform the following steps to perform a breast self-exam:
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Breast Cancer Cell Growth
Cancer begins when a normal breast cell undergoes a number of mutations in genes that control the growth of the cell. These mutations may occur over a long period of time, even decades, before a cancer cell forms.
A cancer cell must divide on average 30 times before it forms a mass that can be felt in the breast. Since tumor cells multiply and divide exponentiallyone cell becomes two, two cells become four, and so ona tumor will increase more rapidly in size the larger it is.
That said, not all cells are dividing at one time, and growth can be different at different stages in the formation of a tumor. Compared with many types of cancer, breast cancer has a “low growth fraction,” meaning that the proportion of cancer cells that are in an active cell cycle is low.
Some tumors, such as some leukemias and lymphomas, have much higher growth fractions .
When To Contact A Doctor
A person should contact a doctor if they experience any symptoms that may indicate breast cancer. Most lumps are not cancerous, but a doctor can help rule this out.
Screening can help detect changes before a lump becomes noticeable. At this stage, breast cancer is easier to treat.
Current guidelines from the American College of Physicians recommend that females speak with a doctor about breast cancer screening from the age of 40 years. They also recommend that females at average risk of breast cancer have a mammogram every 2 years from 5074 years of age.
People with a higher risk, such as those with a family history of breast cancer, may need more regular screening.
It is worth noting that different authorities, such as the
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