Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a benign breast condition, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. They may also request one or more diagnostic tests to help understand whats causing your symptoms.
Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:
- Mammogram. The most common way to see below the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you may have a tumor or suspicious spot, they will also request a mammogram. If an abnormal area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may request additional tests.
- Ultrasound. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst.
Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or a breast biopsy.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
What Does Breast Cancer Look Like In A Female Dog
The primary sign of breast cancer in dogs is a lump, or lumps, in the mammary glands. Most dogs have between eight and ten nipples and typically develop about five mammary glands, with each teat having 7-16 duct openings . Mammary tumors usually start as tiny lumps but grow rapidly.
The tumors can be felt in or near the nipple, and the size and appearance of the lumps vary according to the type of tumor. Some may appear red, swollen, and inflamed, while other lumps could be hard or soft.
Treatment Of Breast Cancer In Cats
The first stage of treatment requires surgical removal. Whilst its theoretically possible to remove just the lump, if its small, the malignancy of breast cancer in cats means that vets normally recommend a mastectomy- removal of the breasts.
This can be removal of a single breast with the lump in it, removal of all of the breasts on one side or removal of all the mammary tissue . A strip mastectomy is the most common route, balancing the difficulty of the surgery and recovery time with the biggest benefits for the cat.
Unfortunately, even with all the breast tissue and associated lymph nodes removed, the cancer is usually still present. Microscopic cancer cells are often already in the lymphatic system or blood vessels, and its impossible to remove them all. Therefore, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be required.
Your veterinarian will likely consult with a veterinary oncologist to find the best option for your cat. The type of chemotherapy depends on the tumor and the patient, but doxorubicin is a common chemotherapeutic drug choice for mammary cancer in cats. The sooner this chemotherapy is started, the better the prognosis.
Breast Cancer In Men: What You Should Know
You might not think of yourself as having breasts. But everyone has breast tissue. That means everyone can get breast cancer. It doesn’t matter your sex or gender.
With pink ribbons everywhere, you may feel left out or even embarrassed when it comes to dealing with breast cancer. If you’re a transgender man who’s had top surgery, you might think you don’t have to worry about breast issues anymore.
Whatever your background, if you identify as male, you can’t ignore your breast cancer risk.
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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Everyone Has Some Breast Tissue
Men have breast tissue. Everyone does. Men also have ducts and sometimes lobules, but they dont function. Breast cancer can develop in the ducts or the lobules. It can also enter the lymphatic system and spread to other parts of the body.
Even if you’ve had a surgery to remove breast tissue before, you still carry some risk.
Breast Lumps In Adolescents: Causes
- Breast masses in teens are almost always benign .
- Breast cancer is very rare in teens
- Fibroadenoma: most breast masses in teens are fibroadenomas. They are 1 inch oval or round, rubbery, non-tender mass. Most often in upper-outer quadrant of breast. Not associated with breast cancer. Natural course: 50% go away within 5 years, others need removal.
- Juvenile fibroadenomas: breast masses that are larger than 2 inches in size. Benign, but need to be removed by surgery.
- Breast cysts
- Breast abscess: this is a red, painful lump. Main cause is Staph bacteria. Main triggers are nipple injury, nipple piercing or lactation . Needs oral antibiotics and needle removal of the pus.
- Breast collections of blood from injury: may take weeks or months to resolve.
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Causes Of Breast Cancer In Cats
Breast cancer is a multifactorial disease, meaning it has many causes- and many of them are not fully understood. Studies have shown that hormones are partially to blame- as with dogs, neutering at a young age rather than allowing heat cycles massively reduces the risk of mammary neoplasia in cats.
Some medications that mimic or include hormones have the same effect on breast tissue as natural hormones do. These medications are rarely used in modern medicine but may have had an effect in the past.
Retroviruses have also been isolated from tumors, but its not been proven that infection with these viruses causes a tumor to occur.
Lastly, genetics definitely play a role, as evidenced by the higher risk in certain breeds .
How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated
Inflammatory breast cancer is generally treated first with systemic chemotherapy to help shrink the tumor, then with surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy. This approach to treatment is called a multimodal approach. Studies have found that women with inflammatory breast cancer who are treated with a multimodal approach have better responses to therapy and longer survival. Treatments used in a multimodal approach may include those described below.
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Can Breast Cancer In Younger Women Be Prevented
For women with a family history that is suggestive of a hereditary predisposition for breast cancer, a referral for genetic counseling may be appropriate. Identifying such genetic conditions will allow for a more personalized discussion on screening and preventive treatment options. For example, screening in BRCA mutation carriers begins at the age of 25.
Measures that all women can take to reduce breast cancer risk include:
- Achieving and maintaining ideal body weight
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting regular exercise
That being said, if breast cancer does develop, early detection and prompt treatment can significantly increase a woman’s chances of survival. More than 90% of women whose breast cancer is found in an early stage will survive.
Young women should be counseled on breast awareness and to report any breast changes to their healthcare provider. These changes can include:
Warning Signs Suggestive Of Breast Cancer
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If a doctor says, Teens dont get breast cancer, find another doctor. Though this statement is no reason to panic, it is medically FALSE.
Remember, if just ONE person on the planet of a particular age group has a certain medical condition, then its FALSE to state, People in that age group dont get that condition.
The lump seems fixed in place does not move around.
Its harder than just rubbery. 17
It may be painful, but not usually.
Absence of nipple discharge or puckering does NOT rule out a malignancy.
If youre still panicking, even though your doctor has assured you that youre in perfect health, then turn that fear into a full-force commitment to healthy lifestyle habits.
Do not smoke or drink. Avoid illegal drugs. Snack on natural foods like fruits, vegetables, green salads, nuts and seeds. EXERCISE
Dr. Johnson performs lumpectomies, and skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies, breast ultrasounds, needle core biopsies, infusaport placements, genetic testing and counseling, plus works with radiation oncologists to treat breast cancer using intraoperative radiation therapy.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
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How Is A Male Breast Cancer Diagnosis Made
If a doctor has reason to suspect cancer, the following tests and procedures may be used to arrive at a diagnosis:
- Clinical breast exam. Usually a first step, this is performed in the office. The doctor feels the breast and underarm area for palpable lumps and examines the skin and nipple for any breast changes.
- Imaging tests. Next, the doctor may order such tests as a mammogram with a breast ultrasound and, occasionally, a magnetic resonance imaging of the breasts. A radiologist will examine these imaging tests to look for malignant tumors.
- Breast biopsy. A breast biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of tissue is removed and sent to a pathology lab, where it is evaluated to determine if it is malignant or benign. The four main kinds of breast biopsies are the core needle biopsy, excisional biopsy, fine need aspiration, and punch skin biopsy.
- HER2 test. This test measures the amount of the growth-factor protein known as HER2, found in the breast tissue. This information helps a medical oncologist choose the right therapy for treatment.
Hormone-sensitivity tests. If cancer is found, an estrogen and progesterone receptor test is performed to determine whether the tumor contains receptors for estrogen and progesterone. If it does, the patient can also be treated with medications that suppress estrogen and progesterone in the body, depriving cancer cells of those hormones. This is done in addition to surgical therapy.
Clinical Trials For Dogs With Breast Cancer
Treatments for mammary tumors in dogs are constantly evolving. Some of the most promising clinical trials are discussed below.
The administration of a recombinant measles virus has shown promise in slowing down the progression of tumor growth .
Flutamide is an anti-androgen, or anti-testosterone, drug. Despite most tests of the drugs effectiveness being conducted on mice, the administration of flutamide has been shown to inhibit metastasis and reduce tumor sizes .
Adjuvant Oxytocin or Desmopressin
In aggressive cases of mammary tumors, surgery may not be enough to increase survival time. Treatment with oxytocin or desmopressin may have beneficial effects on simple carcinomas, although further studies are required .
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Get To And Stay At A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many types of cancer. You can control your weight with the choices you make about healthy eating and exercise:- Avoiding excessive weight gain throughout life- Balance the calories you take in with the amount of physical activity you do
If you are overweight, try to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Watching your portion sizes is an important part of weight control especially for foods high in fat and sugar. Low-fat and fat-free doesnt always mean low-calorie, so read labels and try to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the place of higher-calorie foods.
How Do Young People Get This Disease In The First Place
Dr. Johnson explains, The exact etiology is unknown, as it is in most breast cancers. Young women are more known to have a genetic mutation associated with their breast cancer as opposed to older women, but this has not been demonstrated to be the leading risk factor.
More research is needed to identify causative factors in this patient population.
Though the National Cancer Institute says that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in females 15 to 54, this isnt as frightening as it seems.
First off, included in this statistic are women 50 to 54. In fact, the inclusion of women 40 to 49 is also significant.
The vast majority of those cancer deaths in that age range are in women over 40.
But still, what about the inclusion of teens in this statistic?
That teenagers 15 to 19 are included in this statistic simply reflects the fact that teens are less likely to die from heart disease, Alzheimers disease, liver disease, kidney failure and stroke!
Thus, the statistic of 15 to 54 needs to be put into some serious context.
Another point to consider: No matter how rare a medical condition is in a certain demographic, its very existence in that demographic means that the answer must be Yes when the question is asked if it can occur in that specific demographic.
In other words, if only ONE 17-year-old in the history of mankind developed breast cancer, this would validate saying, Yes, a 17-year-old can get breast cancer.
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What Is Different About Breast Cancer In Younger Women
- Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women is more difficult because their breast tissue is generally denser than the breast tissue in older women, and routine screening is not recommended.
- Breast cancer in younger women may be more aggressive and less likely to respond to treatment.
- Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age are more likely to have genetic mutations predisposing them to breast and other cancers.
- Younger women who have breast cancer may ignore the warning signssuch as a breast lump or unusual dischargebecause they believe they are too young to get breast cancer. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis and poorer outcomes.
- Some healthcare providers may also dismiss breast lumps or other symptoms in young women or adopt a “wait and see” approach.
- Breast cancer poses additional challenges for younger women as it can involve issues concerning sexuality, fertility, and pregnancy after breast cancer treatment.
Breast Exam By Your Doctor
The same guidelines for self-exams provided above are true for breast exams done by your doctor or other healthcare professional. They wont hurt you, and your doctor may do a breast exam during your annual visit.
If youre having symptoms that concern you, its a good idea to have your doctor do a breast exam. During the exam, your doctor will check both of your breasts for abnormal spots or signs of breast cancer.
Your doctor may also check other parts of your body to see if the symptoms youre having could be related to another condition.
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Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having any of these doesnt mean you will definitely develop the disease.
Some risk factors cant be avoided, such as family history. You can change other risk factors, such as quitting smoking, if you smoke. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
While there are risk factors you cant control, following a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and taking any preventive measures your doctor recommends can help reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.
Subtle Signs You May Have Breast Cancer
Finding a lump isn’t the only signal you need to be on the look out for.
When a woman is examining herself for breast cancer, there’s typically only one thing she’s on the lookout for: a lump. Unfortunately, that tell-tale sign is just one of the many that can lead to a diagnosis.
While a lump is still the most commonly-reported symptom, a 2016 study from Cancer Research UK found one in six women who are diagnosed with breast cancer report a totally different issue to their doctors. The problem is not everyone books an appointment as quickly as they should once something comes up. “These women are more likely to delay going to the doctor compared to women with breast lump alone,” says study author Monica Koo, PhD. “It’s crucial that women are aware that a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer. If they’re worried about any breast symptoms, the best thing to do is to get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible.”
And according to 2020 data from Breastcancer.org, one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, which makes knowing all the signs of the disease all the more important. To make sure you catch a symptomas subtle as it may beas early as possible, take a look at these lesser-known signs you may have breast cancer. And for more potential problems you should be aware of as you age, check out 30 Health Issues Every Woman Over 30 Should Start Looking Out For.
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Unique Challenges For Young Adults
Breast cancer in young adults is just different. We are at a different phase of our lives and encounter unique challenges compared to older persons. These challenges may significantly impact our quality and length of life. Some of the unique challenges and issues young adults face:
- The possibility of early menopause and sexual dysfunction brought on by breast cancer treatment
- Fertility issues, because breast cancer treatment can affect a womanâs ability and plans to have children
- Many young women are raising small children while enduring treatment and subsequent side effects
- Young breast cancer survivors have a higher prevalence of psychosocial issues such as anxiety and depression13
- Questions about pregnancy after diagnosis
- Heightened concerns about body image, especially after breast cancer-related surgery and treatment
- Whether married or single, intimacy issues may arise for women diagnosed with breast cancer
- Challenges to financial stability due to workplace issues, lack of sufficient health insurance and the cost of cancer care