What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. It starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control.
Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer is most common in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.
Breast cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body and grow there, too. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis.
Cancer is always named based on the place where it starts. So even if breast cancer spreads to the bones , its still called breast cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts from cells in the bone.
Dont Miss: What Is Stage 3a Cancer
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer
No. Researchers have conducted studies on the safety of the artificial sweeteners saccharin cyclamate aspartame acesulfame potassium sucralose and neotame and found no evidence that they cause cancer in humans. All of these artificial sweeteners except for cyclamate have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sale in the United States. For more information, see the NCI fact sheet on Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer.
Also Check: What Is Stage 2 Breast Cancer
Breast Pain: 10 Reasons Your Breasts May Hurt
Most women experience some form of breast pain at one time or another. Breast pain is typically easy to treat, but on rarer occasions it can be a sign of something more serious.
Medical director of the Suburban Hospital Breast Center Pamela Wright, M.D., discusses the most common causes of breast pain , their treatments and when to see a doctor:
Hormones are making your breasts sore.
Hormonal fluctuations are the number one reason women have breast pain. Breasts become sore three to five days prior to the beginning of a menstrual period and stop hurting after it starts. This is due to a rise in estrogen and progesterone right before your period. These hormones cause your breasts to swell and can lead to tenderness.
Its normal to have breast tenderness that comes and goes around the time of your period, says Wright. Its nothing to worry about.
If you become pregnant, your breasts may remain sore during the first trimester as hormone production ramps up. Breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy for many women.
Steps you can take to minimize sore breasts include:
You May Like: Type 3 Breast Cancer
Also Check: Average Age Of Breast Cancer Onset
What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
Can Exercise Help Reduce My Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Exercise is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. It can also be a useful way to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer in your postmenopausal years. Women often gain weight and body fat during menopause. People with higher amounts of body fat can be at a higher risk of breast cancer. However, by reducing your body fat through exercise, you may be able to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
The general recommendation for regular exercise is about 150 minutes each week. This would mean that you work out for about 30 minutes, five days each week. However, doubling the amount of weekly exercise to 300 minutes can greatly benefit postmenopausal women. The longer duration of exercise allows for you to burn more fat and improve your heart and lung function.
The type of exercise you do can vary the main goal is get your heart rate up as you exercise. Its recommended that your heart rate is raised about 65 to 75% of your maximum heart rate during exercise. You can figure out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your current age from 220. If you are 65, for example, your maximum heart rate is 155.
Aerobic exercise is a great way to improve your heart and lung function, as well as burn fat. Some aerobic exercises you can try include:
Remember, there are many benefits to working more exercise into your weekly routine. Some benefits of aerobic exercise can include:
Don’t Miss: Stage 3 Breast Cancer Prognosis
Common Causes Of Traumatic Breast Injury
The most common cause of a traumatic breast injury is a car accident. The seatbelt can cause trauma, or the airbag can deploy. Sometimes, the force of the collision slams your chest into the steering wheel. In all of these cases, it is possible to sustain an injury to your breast. Other causes of traumatic breast injury include assault, falling, or as the result of a sports injury.
I Need Help Are Breast Lumps On Boys Normal
It’s very common for young boys who are going through puberty to have some swelling or enlargement of the breast tissue under the nipple. This is the case for about 70 percent of adolescent boys. It usually occurs on both sides, although it can occur on just one breast.
The cause is the hormonal changes that occur during adolescence. There is a slight imbalance between testosterone and estrogen production for a short period of time. It’s not clear why it sometimes affects one breast more that the other.
Usually, this breast enlargement regresses as the other pubertal changes progress. There are no special treatments needed. If there is any discharge from the nipple, or if your son is not showing other signs of going through puberty, then further evaluation could be needed.
There are reports of breast cancer in men, but it is extremely, extremely rare in adolescent boys, and I wouldn’t worry about it.
You can read more expert advice about breast development in boys here.
Please note: This “Expert Advice” area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.
Don’t Miss: Invasive Adenocarcinoma Breast Cancer
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Children
Breast cancer in children is rare, and many of the symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions.
However, if your child has any of the following symptoms, they should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible:
- a lump in the underarms, around the nipples, or anywhere in the breast area
- a change to the shape of the breast area thats not associated with puberty or weight gain
- skin at or around the breast that looks uneven, dimpled, or puckered
- skin at or around the breast thats red, scaly, itchy, or swollen
- a nipple that has turned inward
- blood or other fluids coming from the nipple
Remember: Typical breast development during puberty may result in asymmetry between breast size, but this is common.
When To Start Screening
We recommend mammogram screening to start no earlier than age 40 and no later than age 50 for women of average risk for breast cancer, and continue through to at least age 74, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Screening mammography should occur at least once every two years. For women whose screening mammograms show they have dense breasts, an extra testa breast ultrasoundis recommended.
Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says it is important to talk with a health care provider about when you should start getting mammograms, based on your unique health profile, and to make an appointment to see your doctor if you notice any unusual breast changes.
Any time a woman feels a breast mass, which does not go away, while doing a breast self-exam at any age, she should get it checked out, says Dr. Silber.
More than half of the time, women detect breast cancers themselves when they notice an unusual breast change. Whenever there is a new mass or lump, tell your doctorit should be evaluated by a clinical physical examination followed by breast imaging, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Other signs to be aware of include asymmetry of the breasts and nipple changes such as discharge or peeling skin around the nipple.
Says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright, These symptoms dont mean you have breast cancer, but its a reason to seek an opinion from a medical provider.
Read Also: 3a Breast Cancer
Myth: Injuring Your Breasts Can Damage The Cells And Cause Cancer
NO. Breast injuries dont cause cancer, but rather may lead to the discovery of breast cancer in the injured area.
While its important that we are protect our breasts from exposure to toxins and injury, its also important that we keep complicated information and issues from being misinterpreted and spread as fear.
Sometimes breast injury can cause a benign lump called a fat necrosis. However, more often, the Canadian Cancer Society suggests that a cancer diagnosis may happen after physical injury because the treatment for the injury leads to the discovery of a cancer that was already there. For example, if a person breaks a bone and goes to the hospital to get examined they might find that a cancerous tumour caused the bone to weaken, ultimately causing the break.
About 1 In 8 Women In The Us Get Breast Cancermore Than 40000 Of Them Die Each Year
What puts you at higher risk of breast cancer?
- Being female
- Being middle aged or older
- Having breast cancer, certain other cancers, or a noncancerous breast disease in the past
- Having a close relative with breast cancer
- Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
- Smoking any tobacco products
- Drinking an average of 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day
- Dense breast tissue
- Long-term or increased exposure to the hormone estrogen
- Starting menstruation early or hitting menopause late
- Exposure to radiation
How can you lower your risk for developing breast cancer?
- Get at least 45 minutes of physical activity/exercise 5 days per week
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Have your first child before the age of 30
- Breastfeed your children
- Dont smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy
- Limit medical imaging tests that use radiation
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- Get to know the size, symmetry, and skin of your breasts and report any changes to your doctor right away
- The American Cancer Society and other organizations recommend asking your doctor to teach you to perform breast self exams to feel for lumps the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and other groups advise against this, though
- Talk to your doctor about your risk factors to decide how often you should get mammograms
Recommended Reading: Stage 3 Breast Cancer Treatment
How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.
In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.
The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.
Do Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer
Underwire bras do not increase your risk of breast cancer.
There have been some concerns that the wires in the cup of underwire bras may restrict the flow of lymph fluid in the breast causing toxins to build up in the area. However, theres no reliable evidence to support this.
If your bra is too tight or too small, the wires can dig into your breasts and cause discomfort, pain or swelling. Find out more about wearing a well-fitting bra.
Don’t Miss: What Are The Side Effects Of Breast Cancer
What Does Cause Breast Cancer
The exact cause of breast cancer is not known. However, there are some known risk factors. These risk factors include:
- older age
Breast injury or pain does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but a breast injury can increase your risk of:
- increased pain during breastfeeding
- a more difficult diagnosis or trouble with screening results
- significant bleeding caused by hematoma, in the case of a seat belt injury
Injuries can affect how your doctors read your screening results. You should always let your doctor and mammography professionals know about any history of breast injury. This information will be useful in assessing your results.
Does Hair Dye Use Increase The Risk Of Cancer
There is no convincing scientific evidence that personal hair dye use increases the risk of cancer. Some studies suggest, however, that hairdressers and barbers who are regularly exposed to large quantities of hair dye and other chemical products may have an increased risk of bladder cancer. For more information, see the NCI fact sheet on Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk.
- August 22, 2018
If you would like to reproduce some or all of this content, see Reuse of NCI Information for guidance about copyright and permissions. In the case of permitted digital reproduction, please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source and link to the original NCI product using the original product’s title e.g., Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.
Want to use this content on your website or other digital platform? Our syndication services page shows you how.
Read Also: Chemotherapy Cycles For Breast Cancer
How Does Cancer Research Uk Evaluate Evidence
We regularly review new research on the causes of cancer to make sure our information is up to date and based on the best quality evidence. We develop our information by looking at lots of research carried out over many years. So, although new research comes out all the time, it is unlikely that one new study would change our position on a topic.
Some studies are better than others at telling us about how different factors affect cancer risk. These are some of the things we consider:
- Did the study look at cells, animals or people?
Studies in animals and cells can help scientists understand how cancer works, but they cant always tell us how its relevant to humans. So we focus on studies in people.
- How big is the study and how long did it go on for?
Studies on small numbers of people arent as reliable, because results are more likely to happen by chance. And studies that only follow people for a short amount of time can miss long-term effects. So we mainly look at studies that follow thousands of people over many years.
- Did the study account for other factors that could affect someones cancer risk?
There are lots of factors that can affect someones risk of cancer. Studies should take known risk factors into account. For example, if a study is looking at air pollution and lung cancer, it should also look at whether participants smoked.
- Where is the study published and who funded it?
How to find accurate information on cancer
Breast Cancer Survivor: Dont Dismiss Your Fathers Side When Looking Atfamily History
Some people think you can only get breast cancer from your mothers side of the family. But thats a myth. Breast cancer can come just as easily from your fathers side.
Want proof? The genetic mutation that led to my own stage III breast cancer diagnosis last summer came from my dad. Genetic testing confirmed it.
And once we started digging into hisfamily history, we discovered that breast cancer was everywhere. In fact, Id always been told that his mother, whod passed away before I was born, died of stomach cancer. Now, we believe she either had breast cancer or ovarian cancer, and it spread to her stomach.
My triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis
My own breast cancer diagnosis came as a pretty big surprise. It was June 2017, and Id been feeling great. Id just had my annual well-woman exam, but since I wasnt quite 40 at the time, I hadnt scheduled my first mammogram yet.
A week or so later, I felt a large lump in my left armpit while taking a shower. It hadnt been there when Id seen my gynecologist, so I called him. He told me to come back in and wed do the mammogram a few months early. Before Id even left my doctors office, the radiologist said I needed an ultrasound.
It turned out I had cancer in my left breast, and it had already spread to a nearby lymph node. But the original tumor was still so small, no one could feel it. So, that lymph node probably saved my life.
Why I chose MD Anderson for my breast cancer treatment
Recommended Reading: Stage Iii Breast Cancer Prognosis