What To Know About Breast Cancer At Every Stage Of Your Life According To Experts
In your 50s, continue having conversations with your doctor about what is right for you and your body and attending your annual screening.
You should also re-calculate your risk assessment, says Dr. Hunt: “All of the parameters in the risk calculator change over time. If you do it in your 20s it could change, so you need to understand it as it changes over time.”
Dr. Richardson says that this would be the time to “discuss with your doctors if you need to be on hormone replacement therapy. If you’re perimenopausal and having symptoms, talk about the risks and benefits of hormonal changes that may or may not impact the risk of breast cancer.”
“It’s important to start early with regular breast checks,” says Dr. Heather Richardson, mastectomy surgeon at Bedford Breast Center. “You usually want to perform these self-exams at day 7-10 of your period, when the tissue is calmest and even.”
In your 20s, your breast tissue is usually at its most dense, lumpy and complicated, that you get used to what your tissue feels like. “The more you appreciate the way your tissue normally feels like, the more likely you are to sense a change,” Richardson says, noting that it is normal to feel rubbery, tender lumps.
Things to look out for:
Dr. Richardson says that there are plenty of healthy reasons for these occurrences, so no need to be alarmed, but it is best to go get it checked out by your doctor.
What Happens After A Sentinel Node Biopsy
If the lymph nodes do not contain cancer cells, you wont need to have any more nodes taken out.
If cancer cells are in the sentinel nodes, you have another operation to remove most or all of the lymph nodes under your arm. This is an axillary lymph node dissection or clearance. You generally have it about 2 weeks after you get the results.
Some people have radiotherapy to the armpit to destroy any remaining cancer cells instead of surgery.
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Can A Prophylactic Mastectomy Prevent Breast Cancer
A recent study suggests that prophylactic bilateral mastectomy may reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 100% if there is a strong family history of breast cancer or a BRCA genetic mutation. However, risk reduction results vary widely for many reasons. In some studies, women had prophylactic mastectomies for non-high risk reasons, such as pain, fibrocystic breast disease, dense breast tissue, cancer phobia, or a family history of breast cancer.
Approximately 10% of women will develop breast cancer, even though their breast tissue has been removed. But in most studies, patients did not develop breast cancer after prophylactic mastectomy. However, many of these patients would not have been considered high risk for developing cancer.
Some experts have argued that even for high-risk women, prophylactic mastectomy is inappropriate, because not all breast tissue can be removed during a surgical procedure. In addition, the only groups undergoing prophylactic mastectomy that have been shown to possibly have a survival advantage are pre-menopausal women with endocrine receptor-negative breast cancers and women with a BRCA genetic mutation.
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Are There Any Risks Associated With Nipple Piercings
A piercing punctures your skin, poking a hole in your immune systems first line of defense. Wherever you get one, there will be risks. If you plan to get a nipple piercing, Jaliman says infection , bruising, and irritation are all possibilities.
To avoid infection, since that is, by far, the most common issue: Make sure the the tools used to pierce your nipples are completely sterile, Jaliman stresses. The area should be cleaned with a skin disinfectant or alcohol before you get started.
If you have a metal allergylooking at you, nickelbe sure the piercer uses stainless steel or better. After that, itâs up to you to take good care of your piercing.
Why Cant I Have Screening Mammograms
A mammogram is not recommended as a regular screening tool for women under 40 .
This is because:
- Breast tissue in this age group is naturally denser than in older women, meaning there is a greater concentration of glandular tissue versus fatty tissue in the breasts.
- Glandular breast tissue appears white on a mammogram, as do cancers, so it can be difficult in this age group to detect small tumours.
- This means young women might be subjected to unnecessary biopsies or cancers may be missed .
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Research Studies On Abortion And Breast Cancer
Researchers have looked at the possible link between abortion and breast cancer for many years, but this has been a difficult area to study.
The most reliable way to know if something causes cancer would be to do a randomized study. This means that you would take a large number of people, expose half of them to the thing that could cause cancer , and dont expose the other half to the possible carcinogen. Whether someone is in the exposed or non-exposed group would be chosen at random. As long as the 2 groups were similar to start with in terms of risk factors for cancer, any difference in cancer risk between the 2 groups would likely be because of being exposed to the possible carcinogen. Of course, it isnt practical or ethical to study the effects of many things on cancer risk with this kind of study. This is especially true for effects of abortion.
Instead, to look at the effects of abortion on cancer risk, we have to use observational studies. These kinds of studies gather information about the people in them, often by asking questions or looking at medical records. Then the researchers try to see if certain factors are linked to certain outcomes.
Should Women Under Age 40 Get Mammograms
In general, regular mammograms arenât recommended for women under 40 years of age, in part because breast tissue tends to be dense, making mammograms less effective.The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 to 44 should have a choice to start yearly screening mammograms if they would like. Women ages 45 through 54 should have a mammogram each year and those 55 years and over should continue getting mammograms every 1 to 2 years.. Most experts believe the low risk at that age doesnât justify the exposure to radiation or the cost of mammography. But mammograms may be recommended for younger women with a family history of breast cancer and other risk factors.
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On Having A Newborn Baby And Breast Cancer
Jeanette McNalty, 32 Weyburn, Sask.
I first noticed a large lump in my left breast when I was about seven months pregnant. Finally, in December, I remembered to mention it at one of my prenatal appointments with my obstetrician. She examined it and commented that it was large she estimated that it was 2 to 3 cm. So, we made a plan to have an ultrasound. My daughter was born on January 11, and just over 24 hours later, I was having the ultrasound on my breast.
A lucky turn of events meant that, on this particular Monday, a radiologist who specializes in breasts was working at the general hospital, instead of her usual base at Pasqua Hospital in Regina. With great compassion, she told me that even though she was very sure that the lumps could be explained by lactation, she wanted to do a biopsy. I dont want to be the one who missed breast cancer in a 29-year-old, she said.
On February 2, we got the call that no one wants to get: the bad-results phone call. The obstetrician told me, with total and genuine shock, that pre-cancerous changes had been found in the cells in my biopsy. She explained that I had ductal carcinoma in situ, or Stage 0 breast cancer, in which the cancerous cells are localized to the ducts and have not invaded the surrounding breast tissue.
Myth : Nipple Discharge Is Usually A Sign Of Cancer
No, the opposite is true. Many women have leftover milk in their ducts after breastfeeding, or they have debris that can cause greenish or even black discharge that can be squeezed out of the ducts, Dr. Pederson says.
Whats more concerning is bloody or clear discharge that leaks out when youre not squeezing, she says. This type of discharge can be a sign of breast cancer about 10 percent of the time. Even with bloody nipple discharge, the cause is usually a benign condition inside the milk duct.
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When Breast Cancer Strikes Before Age 45
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centers program for young women with breast cancer is tailored specifically for people like Mikaela, who are forced to deal with a potentially lethal disease at an early age. The program, which focuses on women 45 and younger, guides patients through treatment while helping them manage their physical and emotional needs. In particular, it helps patients deal with the impact of breast cancer therapies on sexual health and fertility issues.
Young women with breast cancer face unique challenges, says Dr. Gemignani, who co-founded the program with MSK medical oncologist Shari Goldfarb. Weve treated so many young women and understand they need special services to help them get through treatment so they can recover and resume their lives.
I had a great connection with Dr. Gemignani during our first meeting, Mikaela says. She took the time to sit with me and my mom, dad, and boyfriend, and told us what tests I needed mammograms, MRIs, biopsies, tests for tumor markers and genetic mutations make an informed decision.
Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor.
You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer.
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More Women Are Getting Breast Cancer In Their 20s University Of Iowa Research Shows
IOWA CITY – A growing percentage of younger women are getting breast cancer – with rates among 20-somethings increasing the fastest, according to new University of Iowa-led research.
Although the overall number of affected women in that age range remains well below other age groups, the rate of 20 to 29-year-olds diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 3 breast cancer increased about 2 percentage points a year during the 15-year study period, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Spectrum.
Breast cancer rates for women in their 30s and 40s also increased from 2000 to 2015, although not as fast, inching up about .3 percentage points a year.
The study looked not only at incidence rates but survival rates and found that, in addition to seeing the largest annual percentage increase, the diagnosed 20-somethings had lower 10-year survival rates than their 30-to-40-year-old peers.
Reasons for the worse outcomes could be multifold and include that younger women often experience diagnosis and care delays – in part because breast-cancer screening is less common among that age group.
Physicians might be less suspicious of malignancy in younger patients – even when they show up in clinic with a breast lump, according to researchers.
Detecting cancerous growth in younger women also can be more challenging due to their dense breast tissue, according to the study’s lead author, UI professor of epidemiology Paul Romitti.
Tuesday Q And A: Decision To Remove Breast That Doesnt Have Cancer A Personal One
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in one breast. Im planning to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. What are the chances Ill get cancer in my other breast? Im trying to decide if I should go ahead with a double mastectomy now. I dont really want to, but I dont want to go through this whole process twice, either.
ANSWER: In general, for someone in your situation the risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast is typically quite low. Removing the normal breast is not required as part of the treatment for your breast cancer. The decision to have a mastectomy on the cancer side and also remove a breast that does not have cancer is a very personal one. There are valid reasons some women choose to pursue this surgery. But it will have a long-term effect on your body, so you need to be comfortable with the decision you make.
A mastectomy is surgery that involves removing the majority of breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent cancer. For cancer prevention, this surgery reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by about 90 to 95 percent. It is not 100 percent because some areas of breast tissue do remain after a mastectomy. Those areas of tissue could develop breast cancer, although the chances of that happening are very small.
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Breast Cancer Is The Most Common Cancer For Kiwi Women And The Third Most Common Cancer Overall
It affects one in nine New Zealand women over their lifetime.
About 70% – 75% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 80% of women who die from it are aged 50 years or older. Some women are at greater risk of breast cancer because there is a history of close family members having the disease.However, most women who develop breast cancer have no relatives with the disease. Even among women who do have relatives with breast cancer, most will never develop it.
While it is less common, young women can get breast cancer too. 6% of breast cancer in New Zealand occurs under the age of 40 years. Although it is uncommon, men also get breast cancer. About 25 men are diagnosed in New Zealand each year.
Nine New Zealand women, on average, will hear the news today that they have breast cancer.
Overall, 80% of people with breast cancer survive 10 years or more but tragically, more than 650 women die of the disease every year.
The Cost Of Breast Cancer Treatment For Young Women
Everyone with breast cancer is at risk for suffering from economic toxicity with the diagnosis, says Dr. Silber. At the time they are diagnosed with breast cancer, younger women are less likely to be financially sound or to have established themselves in a career that provides sick leave and paid time off theyre also likelier to have small children, she says.
If you suffer from economic challenges prior to a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer is going to make that worse, says Dr. Silber. Thats especially true for younger women who are from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds and dont have access to the services or much leeway in terms of employment, she says.
I take care of women who are young, poor, single mothers who may be working at jobs that dont have good human resources supportlike, for example, a young woman working at a mini mart at night, says Dr. Silber. She may be doing hard and not particularly safe work, and might not have health benefits.
It can be a struggle to keep a job or get a raisebreast cancer patients may become semi-unemployable due to all the medical appointments they need, she explains.
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Who Should Consider Having A Preventive Mastectomy
According to the National Cancer Institute, only those women who are at very high risk of breast cancer should consider preventive mastectomy. This includes women with one or more of the following risk factors:
- BRCA or certain other gene mutations
- Strong family history of breast cancer
- Previous cancer in one breast and high risk of developing breast cancer in the opposite breast
- History of lobular carcinoma in situ plus family history of breast cancer
- History of radiation to the chest before age 30
Preventive mastectomy should only be considered after youve received the appropriate genetic and psychological counseling to discuss the psychosocial impacts of the procedure.
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‘i Noticed What Felt Like A Frozen Pea In My Armpit’
During a routine breast self-exam, I felt a really tiny lump. It didnt hurt, but it was mobile and felt like a frozen pea. It was right inside my armpit, which seemed odd at first, but I remembered that your breast tissue actually extends into your armpit. This didnt feel consistent with the breast changes that came along with my menstrual cycle.
“I actually kept quite calm, even though in my gut, I knew what was going on. So I called my ob-gyn, who offered to take a look during my next annual exam, which was months away. After nothing changed in a week, I called the breast center at my local hospital and demanded to be seen. After imaging and biopsies, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24.
“From my experience, I hope that other women will learn that you need to monitor changes in your body, but its futile if youre afraid to speak up about them. Women need to have the confidence to speak up.
Brittany Whitman, Cleveland Education Ambassador for Bright Pink
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