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Can You Have Breast Cancer And Not Know It

Is Breast Cancer Painful

Breast Cancer What You May Not Know But Should

A lump or a mass in the breast is often one of the first signs of breast cancer. In many cases, these lumps are painless. A person may experience pain in the nipple or breast area that appears to be tied to their menstrual cycle.

Pain caused by breast cancer is typically gradual. Anyone who experiences breast pain, especially if it is severe or persistent, should consult a healthcare professional.

Changes In The Skin Texture On Or Around Breast: Dimpling

Dimpling of the skin could suggest that the tiny channels in the breast, called lymph vessels, which help get rid of waste products from the body, have become blocked. This causes the breast to become inflamed and swollen and a large area of skin to develop little dimples, like orange peel. In some cases, this is a sign of a type of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer.

Tests To Determine Specific Types Of Treatment

You’ll also need tests that show whether the cancer will respond to specific types of treatment. The results of these tests can give your doctors a more complete picture of the type of cancer you have and how best to treat it. The types of test you could be offered are discussed below.

In some cases, breast cancer cells can be stimulated to grow by hormones that occur naturally in your body, such as oestrogen and progesterone.

If this is the case, the cancer may be treated by stopping the effects of the hormones, or by lowering the level of these hormones in your body. This is known as “hormone therapy”.

During a hormone receptor test, a sample of cancer cells will be taken from your breast and tested to see if they respond to either oestrogen or progesterone. If the hormone is able to attach to the cancer cells , they’re known as “hormone receptor positive”.

While hormones can encourage the growth of some types of breast cancer, other types are stimulated by a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 .

These types of cancer can be diagnosed using a HER2 test, and treated with medication to block the effects of HER2. This is known as “biological” or “targeted” therapy.

Read Also: Hormone Therapy For Metastatic Breast Cancer

‘my Breast Looked A Little Pink’

In the shower one day, I noticed a pale pinkness on my breast just below my nipple area, which looked more like a mild sunburn than a rash. I knew something was off. I had my ob-gyn take a look, and he said he wasnt concerned at all because it was barely noticeable. He suggested my bra fit too snugly, and I needed to go shopping for new bras. So I did just that.

“Over time, that pink area hardened slightly and was sore to the touch. My ob-gyn again said he wasnt concerned. Eventually the pain increased behind my breast in my back. My ob-gyn said that breast cancer does not hurt, so I didnt need to worry about it. He ordered a mammogram to put my mind at ease. The mammogram and all other tests came back normal.

“Weeks went by and my lower back began to hurt. Eventually, after my GP suggested I had arthritis and I went to physical therapy. I went to see a breast specialist. He told me I had mastitis and gave me antibiotics. That didnt help. Back at the breast surgeon, he sent a picture of my breast to the top surgeon who ordered a diagnostic mammogram, which includes a sonogram and a biopsy. I was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer in my breast, bones, and liver.

Jennifer Cordts, stay-at-home mom, Dallas

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The Radiologist Sometimes Provides Guidance For Taking The Biopsy Sample Or Actually Performs The Needle Biopsy

Breast Cancer

If a biopsy is determined necessary, it is generally the job of the radiologist to perform the biopsy, and send the tissue sample to the pathologist. In many cases, ultrasound is employed during the actually biopsy process, in order to view and guide the needle into the breast lesion. In most cases the ultrasound imaging guiding the needle is actually performed by the radiologist.

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Treatments To Reduce Your Risk

If you have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer, for example, a BRCA gene carrier, treatment might be available to reduce your risk. This applies to a very small minority of women.

Your level of risk is determined by factors such as your age, your family’s medical history, and the results of genetic tests.

You will usually be referred to a specialist genetics service if it’s thought you have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. Healthcare professionals working at these services might discuss treatment options with you.

The 2 main treatments are surgery to remove the breasts or medication. These are described in more detail below.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Women That Arent Lumps

No need to Google early signs of breast cancer to know one of the telltale symptoms include a lump in the breast. Irregularities, like lumps and bumps, are, after all, the most common thing women are told to keep an eye and feel out for during a breast self-exam. But what about breast cancer symptoms that *arent* lumps? Theyre more common than you might realize.

A non-lump symptom was exactly what Meghan Hall, 34, discovered before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I noticed something green spilled on the front of my shirt, I didnt think anything of ituntil I tried to take it off and realized it was stuck to my nipple, Meghan told WH. My breast was leaking green fluid.

Thats right: Meghans breast cancer symptom was green fluid leaking from her nipplesand her experience isnt unique. One in six women who discovered their cancer themselves caught it based on a less-obvious breast cancer symptom, like nipple abnormalities and weight loss , according to a 2017 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

These self-reported breast cancersespecially ones that dont involve the typical lumphighlight why its so important to pay attention to any strange signs or symptoms or changes you may be experiencing, in addition to staying on top of your mammograms and annual checkups, says Neelima Denduluri, MD, the associate chair of the U.S. Oncology Network Breast Committee.

Also Check: First Stage Of Breast Cancer Symptoms

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.

Where Can Breast Cancer Spread

Young Breast Cancer Patients Deserve to Know If They Need Chemotherapy or Not #NoMatterMyAge

The most common places for breast cancer to spread to are the lymph nodes, bone, liver, lungs and brain. The symptoms you may experience will depend on where in the body the cancer has spread to. You might not have all of the symptoms mentioned here.

Remember other conditions can cause these symptoms. They don’t necessarily mean that you have cancer that has spread. But if you have symptoms that you are worried about, discuss them with your GP, cancer specialist, or breast care nurse so that you can be checked.

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How Breast Cancer Pain May Feel

While many types of breast pain are not cancerous, pain in only one breast may be cause for calling your doctor. Benign breast pain is often on both sides.

Breast cancer pain can be persistent and very specific, usually hurting in just one spot. It is important to remember that breast cancer can be present in your breast before it causes pain. If you have other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple retraction , sudden swelling of your breast, or sudden skin changes, consult your healthcare provider for a clinical breast exam.

Your Boobs Look Really Veiny

Being able to see your veins on the surface of your breasts depends on a lot of thingsskin color, amount of subcutaneous fat, pregnancy, geneticsbut you should be paying attention to those squiggly blue or green lines as changes in their appearance can be an early sign of breast cancer, Dr. Ross says.

Being veiny in general is nothing to be concerned about, but if youve never been able to see them before and now you can, or if theyve suddenly become much bigger, darker, or more prominent, then its time to be concerned. Visible veins can indicate the presence of a tumor as they require more blood flow and therefore more veins, she explains. Or the tumor may be blocking the blood flow, causing the veins nearby to swell.

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How Do I Know If Medical Malpractice Is To Blame For My Misdiagnosis

If you think your breast cancer was misdiagnosed as a result of malpractice, consider scheduling a free consultation with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice cases. They should be able to determine if you are qualified and can give you more information about the process based on your individual case.

Second Opinions For Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Detecting breast cancer can be a complicated process, so health professionals always encourage patients to undergo different tests and get a second opinion prior to beginning any treatment to ensure an accurate diagnosis. Breast tumors and other abnormalities aren’t always cancerous, so breast imaging tests, like mammograms and breast MRI’s, examine deep breast tissue and are necessary to properly diagnose cancer. A second opinion can also help patients determine the best path for treatment, as different specialists can provide different insights for treatment options. Patients should keep records of all visits and diagnoses to maintain evidence for a malpractice lawsuit if a misdiagnosis occurs.

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‘it Felt Like There Was A Marble In My Breast’

I had fibrous breasts, so even on a good day, my breasts felt like a bag of frozen peas. I had been receiving Bright Pinks Breast Health reminder texts to check my breasts, so I was pretty familiar with how my breasts felt. However one day I felt a lump in my left breast near my nipple, which seemed to be the size of a marble or gumball. This lump felt different. It was hard, but had a bit of a give to it.

“From the moment I felt the lump, I knew I had breast cancer. I went in that day for an appointment with my gynecologist, who ordered a mammogram for later that afternoon. After that, I had a core needle biopsy, but the tests all came back negative. I never felt relieved or satisfied with that result.

“At a later breast check, I felt the lump had grown, so I insisted my gynecologist help me find a surgeon to remove the lump. It was removed and I was told it was stage 2, aggressive triple negative breast cancer. I also discovered I was BRCA-1 positive, meaning I had the breast cancer gene. I cant stress it enough, listen to your body!

Erin Scheithe, DC Education Ambassador for Bright Pink, Washington, D.C.

The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca

At each of our CTCA Breast Cancer Centers, located in our hospitals in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix, our cancer care experts are devoted to a single mission: treating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision.

Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and may also include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat the many types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ to complex diseases such as triple-negative breast cancer and IBC. Genetic counseling and genetic testing are also available for qualifying patients.

Our patient-centered care model is designed to help you keep strong during treatment. Your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive care services, including:

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You’re Experiencing Abnormal Tenderness Or Pain

You might experience some tenderness around your period, and that’s totally normal. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe pain, though, and you know it’s not due to your menstrual cycle, the American Cancer Society says it should be checked out. Even though breast cancers don’t normally cause pain and tenderness, it’s still a possibility.

What To Do If You Have Breast Cancer

How Did I Know I Had Breast Cancer?

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can feel crippling and life-altering for both patients and their families. With 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, it’s unfortunately a common diagnosis to face. For many women diagnosed with breast cancer, what happens next may be a mystery. Taking time to understand the diagnosis and weigh the options is crucial in receiving the necessary treatment.

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Symptoms If Cancer Has Spread To The Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are part of a system of tubes and glands in the body that filters body fluids and fights infection.

The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they feel hard or swollen. You might have any of the following symptoms if your cancer has spread to the lymph nodes:

  • a lump or swelling under your armpit
  • swelling in your arm or hand
  • a lump or swelling in your breast bone or collar bone area

One of the first places breast cancer can spread to is the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. This is not a secondary cancer.

Breast Pain And Breast Cancer In Men

As with breast cancer in women, breast cancer in men is often painless. That said, it tends to press on nearby structures sooner than a tumor would in most women. In addition, hormone-induced breast pain is also less likely to occur in men. If you are a man experiencing breast pain, play it safe. Breast cancer can and does occur in men. In fact, 1 in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States is in a man.

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Breast Cancer Screening Can Lead To Over

Over-diagnosis is one of the very few downsides to breast cancer screening. And with the advent of more sensitive imaging technologies, such as MRI, there is a real danger of of benign breast change, hyperplasias, and very low grade in-situ breast carcinomas being sent for biopsy when not needed. The radiologist is in some ways the voice of reason in the breast cancer treatment chain, and they have to be careful neither to be conservative, nor too alarmist, in interpreting the initial breast cancer screening results.

Can I Have Cancer If My Blood Tests Are Mostly Normal

EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF BREAST CANCER NO ONE TALKS ABOUT ...

    I have had pelvic/lower abdominal pain for about 8 months now. It is a continuous pain, some occasional blood in my stools. My Dad had Colon cancer at aged 50 and died at 56. My sister has polyps removed reguarly. I am 49 and had an early menopause. My blood tests are normal except for a high mean heamoglobin count? I had a sigmoid flex but it was clear. I have no idea what it could be but am worried it is an undetected cancer? Anyone have any thoughts on this? My GP does not seem concerned.

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    Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms And Diagnosis

    The most common breast cancer metastasis sites are the bones, the lungs, the brain, and the liver. The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can be very different depending on the location of the cancer:

    • constant back, bone, or joint pain
    • difficulty with urinating this can be a sign that the nerves in your back are being pinched by a cancer
    • numbness or weakness anywhere in your body
    • a constant dry cough
    • abdominal bloating, pain, or tenderness
    • constant nausea, vomiting, or weight loss
    • jaundice
    • severe headaches
    • vision problems
    • seizures
    • confusion

    ‘i Had Fevers And Difficulty Breastfeeding’

    I was misdiagnosed with mastitis twice because I had high fevers and trouble breastfeeding. It turned out to be cancer. Tumors were blocking the milk ducts. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at age 32, five weeks after I had my first child. It didnt look like mastitis at all. So many people told me ‘100% chance’ it is nothing. No one thought of any alternative, however, until multiple courses of treatment failed.

    Melissa Thompson, healthcare policy advocate, Stamford, Connecticut

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    If Breast Cancer Is Detected The Radiologist Plays A Role In Staging For The Breast Cancer

    If breast cancer is a confirmed diagnosis, the treatment team then turn their attention to staging. Here the nature of the breast cancer, the extent of proliferation, and a preliminary plan for treatment are determined. The breast cancer treatment and management team first need to determine whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the breast.

    One aspect of this is to perform either a sentinel node or lymph node dissection to see if the cancer has spread to the axillary nodes. But the patient is also given a nuclear medicine bone scan to see if the cancer has spread to the the bones, and also a liver ultrasound or CT scan to check for liver metastasis. Breast cancer spreads into the bones more than any other type of cancer, statistically. The radiologists will interpret ultrasound and CT scans of the liver.

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