Second Cancers After Breast Cancer
Breast cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often a major concern is facing cancer again. Cancer that comes back after treatment is called a recurrence. But some cancer survivors develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer.
Women whove had breast cancer can still get other cancers. Although most breast cancer survivors dont get cancer again, they are at higher risk for getting some types of cancer, including:
- A second breast cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Melanoma of the skin
- Acute myeloid leukemia
The most common second cancer in breast cancer survivors is another breast cancer. The new cancer can occur in the opposite breast, or in the same breast for women who were treated with breast-conserving surgery .
Practical Problems Abound For Young Breast Cancer Patients
In May, Elizabeth Bryndza, a 19-year-old sophomore at the College of New Jersey, underwent a bilateral mastectomy to remove both breasts. Two weeks before, she had found a lump of cancerous cells in her right breast.
“I never thought that I wouldn’t survive it,” said Bryndza, now 20. “I’m still going to be me, and I’ll fight as hard as I can.”
But there are practical problems that make younger women more vulnerable than older women to the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis.
Young women are more likely to be treated aggressively for breast cancer than older women because, since they’ve rarely had regular screenings or mammograms, they are less likely to detect early-stage tumors. Young age is an independent risk factor for recurrent cancer, regardless of a family history of cancer, or a genetic predisposition to have BRCA gene mutations.
And since doctors see so few young women with breast cancer, there is a gap in research about fertility, early-onset menopause and other effects of diagnosis, treatment and outcomes in young women.
Young Women Feel More Invincible in the Face of Cancer
Chemotherapy may affect a young woman in many ways, including her ability to have children in the future. But for teenagers, concerns such as body image, sexuality, beauty and peers loom larger.
“At that time, as a teen, you think you’re invincible,” Bryndza said. “I sort of saw the whole thing as a big inconvenience.”
Breast Cancer Treatment In Teens
Treatment for breast cancer in teens depends on how far the disease has spread and the teens general health and personal circumstances. All of these factors play an important role in what steps are taken. Some of the treatment options include:;
- Surgery In these cases, a lumpectomy or mastectomy is conducted. A lumpectomy includes the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue. A mastectomy involves the removal of the whole breast. Depending on how far the disease has spread, either option may be best.;
- Radiation This therapy is usually used following a lumpectomy. Using cancer-killing beams, radiation therapy targets undetected cancer cells further reducing the risk of cancer returning.;
- Hormone This therapy is effective for those breast cancers that are affected by hormones in the blood. It utilizes drugs that block estrogen and/or progesterone.;
- Chemotherapy This is usually administered after breast surgery but before radiation, and uses drugs directly injected into the vein via a needle or pill to target and kill cancer cells.;
You May Like: Does Breast Cancer Hurt To The Touch
What Are The Symptoms Of Ibc
- Rapid, unusual increase in breast size
- Redness, rash, blotchiness or other skin color changes on the breast
- Persistent itching of breast or nipple
- Lump or thickening of breast tissue
- Stabbing pain and/or soreness of breast
- Feverish breast
- Swelling of lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone
- Dimpling or ridging of breast
- Flattening or retraction of nipple
- Nipple discharge or change in pigmented area around nipple
Although the above symptoms may indicate a benign breast disorder, any change to your breast should be reported to your doctor immediately. In addition, these symptoms may appear quickly and suddenly.
Should I Have Breast Reconstruction And When
This is another question that has a;multi-layered answer. It;involves both medical and personal considerations. Some women opt not to have reconstruction. Others believe it benefits their appearance and psychological recovery.
This is another question that has a;multi-layered answer. It;involves both medical and personal considerations. Some women opt not to have reconstruction. Others believe it benefits their appearance and psychological recovery.;
If youre having one or both breasts removed and are considering reconstruction, the stage of your cancer may dictate the;timing of the reconstructive surgery. For patients with early-stage breast cancer, Dr. Abraham says immediate reconstruction is reasonable. With a Stage III cancer, you should discuss with your oncologist and surgeon whether immediate reconstruction is advisable.
Don’t Miss: Will My Breast Cancer Come Back
You Have A Reddish Or Purple Nipple
Noticing your nipple change colors isn’t a great sign. According to Holly Pederson, MD, director of medical breast services at the Cleveland Clinic, it could be a symptom of cancer and could also involve flaking and irritation. “Cancer can originate in the nipple,” she told WebMD. “The nipple will look reddish or purplish; it doesn’t look normal. It’s actually the tumor cells invading the nipple that cause the skin to look different if it is breast cancer.”
Men Have Breast Tissue
We tend to think of breasts as a female thing, but men do have some breast tissue in their pectoral area and behind their nipples, Dr. OHea says. They dont have as much estrogen as women so the tissue doesnt develop the way it does in women. But it can develop breast cancer in the same way as female breast cancer, he explains. What people often call man boobs are not breast tissue but rather fatty deposits that accumulate in the chest area. Having larger man boobs does not increase your risk of getting breast cancer, he adds.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Self Check For Breast Cancer
Is The Cancer In My Lymph Nodes
Whether your breast cancer has spread to your lymph nodes the filtering mechanisms in your armpits and elsewhere in the body that are part of the immune system is one of the most important predictors of the severity of your disease.
Involvement of the lymph nodes changes the treatment plan, says Dr. Abraham. When breast cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes, we tend to discuss more aggressive treatment options, such as chemotherapy.
The Emotional Toll Of Breast Cancer
Younger women are more likely to be affected to the point of depression if they feel overwhelmed by the disease. In addition, unlike older breast cancer patients, they generally lack a strong peer support system
“I think when you’re older you expect it more… it’s not something that’s atypical for your peer group,” said Bryndza’s doctor, Dr. Dawn Hershman, co-director of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center. “When you’re young you feel like you’re the only one. Everybody wants to help but no one knows what it’s like.”
But younger women may not want empathy, craving normality instead. Often, the greatest source of anxiety for a young woman with breast cancer is not the disease — it’s whether their peers will treat them differently. Both Thompson and Bryndza said they felt the most anxious about heading back to school.
“Because she was so young, she did not know exactly what was, and that helped her deal with it,” Anderson said. “But she was worried about her peers — if they were going to talk about her as if she had a disease… She didn’t want a lot of young people to know. I guess because she didn’t understand herself what was going on, they might not understand either.”
Things Fall Apart
“It was hard because I was such a wreck, emotionally, sometimes,” Bryndza said. “I needed to focus on myself and my health and it was hard to be in a relationship when I had to worry about myself.”
Don’t Miss: Where To Go To Get Checked For Breast Cancer
Noticing Changes To Your Breasts
The ACS no longer recommends regular breast self-exams, since theres no evidence that they help reduce breast cancer deaths.
However, knowing how your breasts normally look and feel can help you identify any changes early on. Take notice of the following:
- skin dimpling
Once youve established a baseline for how your breasts look and feel, itll be easier to identify any changes in the future.
If you do notice any changes, or if anything causes you worry, let your doctor know. They can determine if theres cause for concern.
Its common to see asymmetry in breast size, which can be normal.
A note on breast exams
The American Cancer Society no longer recommends regular clinical breast exams or breast self-exams. Theres little evidence that these exams help reduce deaths from breast cancer in women at average risk for the condition.
However, these exams may still be performed in certain scenarios.
For instance, some healthcare professionals may choose to perform clinical breast exams and counsel women on risk and early detection, in particular those at a higher-than-average risk for cancer. In addition, some women might prefer to use routine breast self-exams as a way to track possible changes to their breasts.
How To Know If You Have Breast Cancer
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 24 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 574,587 times.
Read Also: Can Men Have Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Vs Normal Development
Normal breast development can resemble breast cancer, and it is not possible to tell what is normal and what is not based on a comparison of symptoms.
Normal breast development, however, usually follows a pattern. It begins with nickel-sized lumps under each nipple, and the breasts gradually grow from these lumps.
Breast cancer, in general, is survivable with prompt treatment. This is particularly true of noninvasive breast cancers, and of breast cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body.
Treatments often include chemotherapy, radiation, medication, surgery, or a combination of these.
Using Julva Cream If Youve Had Breast Cancer
- 14 February, 2018
- 5 min read
To my courageous tribe of beautiful women,
Ive heard from hundreds of you who have had a history of breast cancer and my heart aches deeply knowing the pain youve had to endure. Even after successful treatments, many of you still experience post recovery side effects, like vaginal dryness, painful sex, lack of desire, and atrophy of the vulva. I dont want this to be your life!
If you know anything about me, you know its my desire, passion and lifes work to give back to women like you who give so freely to everyone else. I believe every woman deserves to feel like her best self at any age, especially those whose bodies have been through the fight of a lifetime. This is ultimately why I created to give you something back. To help you feel strong, empowered, and even more beautiful and perfectly yourself again.
For those who may not use or be familiar with Julva, it is a restorative feminine cream for the vulva, used to address vaginal dryness, urinary leakage issues, libido and moreyou can read about;;here.;
Ive heard so many of you ask: Is it safe to use after a cancer diagnosis? ;
Heres my answer.
Women with a history of breast cancer need to be particularly diligent about everything even natural products that they put in or on their bodies.
Don’t Miss: What To Say To Breast Cancer Patient
What Is Breast Cancer In Children
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among females aged 15 to 39 years. Breast cancer in this age group is more aggressive and more difficult to treat than in older women. Treatments for younger and older women are similar. Younger patients with breast cancer may have genetic counseling and testing for familial cancer syndromes. Also, the possible effects of treatment on fertility should be considered.
Most breast tumors in children are fibroadenomas, which are benign . Rarely, these tumors become large phyllodes tumors and begin to grow quickly. If a benign tumor begins to grow quickly, a fine needle aspiration biopsy or an excisional biopsy will be done. The tissues removed during the biopsy will be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer.
Undergoing Medical Screening For Breast Cancer
You May Like: Does Chemo Really Work For Breast Cancer
What Is A Breast Lump
A breast lump or is a bulge or bump in the breasts. Breast lumps are more common in older women, but they can also develop in teenagers, young girls and babies. There are many different types of breast lumps that happen in children, but most are benign . Even though breast lumps can be harmless, it is still important to see a doctor if you or your child notice changes in what their breasts normally feel like.
Should I Consider Participating In A Clinical Trial
Breast cancer treatment has improved tremendously. The reason for this progress is because patients have been willing to take part in tests of newer treatment options.;
For any stage of breast cancer, a well done;clinical trial;could be your best treatment option, Dr. Abraham says. If you qualify for such a trial, your doctor can answer any questions you may have about participating so that you can determine if its a good fit for you.
You May Like: Is Breast Cancer Inherited From Mother Or Father
Being Overweight Puts Men At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer
Estrogen may primarily be considered a female hormone but men have a small amount as well and men with the highest levels of estrogen were two and a half times more likely to develop breast cancer than men with the lowest levels of the hormone, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Some of the estrogen variation in men will simply be natural, but for others there may be a link to being overweight, says , PhD, head of health information at Cancer Research UK. Fat cells in the body are thought to drive up the bodys level of this hormone in men and women, so this is another good reason to try and keep a healthy weight.
Think twice about falling for these;common cancer myths.
Diagnosing Metastatic Breast Cancer
Getting a clear picture of where breast cancer has spread is essential for creating a personalized treatment plan. Your care team will likely use a combination of the following tests and tools to diagnose both localized and advanced breast cancer:
Ultrasound exam: With this imaging technique, sound waves create a picture of internal areas of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging : This procedure produces detailed images using magnetic fields and radio waves.
Blood chemistry studies: A blood sample is taken to measure the amounts of certain substances that are released by your organs and tissues. A higher or lower amount of a particular substance may be a sign of disease.
Biopsy: A biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues so a pathologist may view them through a microscope. Your original breast cancer diagnosis was likely confirmed with a biopsy.
Recommended Reading: What Is Stage 2 Cancer Of The Breast
Common Conditions That Can Be Treated
The following are breast conditions that are fairly common in teens. They cause symptoms that may be worrisome. But they are not serious. In many cases, they dont even need treatment. Talk with the healthcare provider if your daughter has signs of any of these problems.
Fibroadenomas.;These are smooth, solid lumps of fibrous tissue in the breasts. They are not cancer , and are harmless. Fibroadenomas may come and go around periods. If your daughter has a lump, her healthcare provider can confirm whether it is a fibroadenoma. If the lump is growing in size or is painful, it can be removed.
Fibrocystic breast changes.;This is the development of fluid-filled sacs in the breasts. They make the breast feel lumpy, tender, or painful. They are not cancer. And they dont make a girl more likely to get breast cancer. Treatment can help relieve symptoms. Reducing the amount of caffeine and fat in a girls diet may help. Your daughters healthcare provider can discuss other treatment choices with you.
Infection.;Infection is the growth of harmful bacteria. Infection of breast tissue is possible, especially if your daughter is too modest to get a cut or sore on the breast cared for. Symptoms of infection include redness, warmth, red lines on the skin, or the skin feeling sore. Your daughter may also have a fever. If your daughter shows signs of an infection, call the healthcare provider. Treatment with antibiotics may be needed.