What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a disease where cells in the breast grow abnormally and in an uncontrolled way to form a lump, known as a tumour. If left untreated, lumps may spread from breast tissue to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver or lungs. Breast cancer affects both men and women, although it is less common in men.
Some breast cancers, known as pre-invasive or carcinoma in situ breast cancers, appear inside the milk ducts or milk-producing lobules of the breast. Other invasive breast cancers grow within normal breast tissue and may spread to elsewhere in the body. There are various types, including Pagets disease, inflammatory breast cancer, ductal carcinoma, lobular carcinoma, hormone receptor positive breast cancer, HER-2 positive breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer .
Breast cancer is the most commonly-diagnosed cancer in women, and its estimated that 8 Australians die from the disease each day. Thankfully, with prompt detection and treatment, 9 in 10 women with breast cancer survive at least 5 years, and many live much longer.
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What Is A Normal Breast
No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Breast Changes and Conditions.external icon
What To Do If You Have 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, its 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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When Should I See My Doctor
See your doctor or healthcare professional if you notice symptoms of possible breast cancer, such as a lump, pain, itch, nipple discharge or dimpling, or if you have any concerns about your breast cancer risk.
Your doctor or healthcare professional will assess you and work out if you need further tests. If required, they can refer you to a local service and provide necessary follow-up care.
You Have A Zit That Wont Heal
Didnt know that you can get zits on your breasts? Its true. Its not uncommon to get small sores, including pimples and even warts, on your breasts or nipples, Dr. Ross says. For women who work out, you may find them in places you sweat heavily, like between your breasts, or along the line of your sports bra where sweat can get trapped and clog your pores.
Most zits will go away on their own with time and good hygiene. But if youve got a small sore of any type that doesnt go away after a week or two, its worth it to get it checked out. Having sores or bruises that wont heal can be an early sign of cancer, she explains.
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Signs That Warrant An Immediate Trip To A Doctor
Some common cancer signs that should result in a visit to the emergency room or to a doctor as soon as possible include:
- coughing up mucus tinged with blood
- blood in stools or urine
- lump in the breast, testicles, under the arm, or anywhere that it didnt exist before
- unexplained but noticeable weight loss
- severe unexplained pain in the head, neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis
These and other signs and symptoms will be evaluated. Screenings, such as blood and urine tests and imaging tests, will be used if your doctor thinks its appropriate.
These tests are done both to help make a diagnosis as well as rule out various causes of your signs and symptoms.
When seeing a doctor, be prepared to share the following information:
- your personal medical history, including all symptoms you have experienced, as well as when they began
- family history of cancer or other chronic conditions
- list of all medications and supplements you take
For some cancers that are screened for on a regular basis, survival rates tend to be high. Thats because theyre often diagnosed early on, before symptoms develop.
The 5-year survival rate for people with localized
Symptoms Specific To Invasive And Non
Breast cancer is a complex condition for more information, please refer to our breast cancer page.
Ductal carcinoma in situ is a specific type of carcinoma in which the cells that line your milk ducts have become cancerous, but the abnormal cells have not spread into the nearby breast tissue. Because the cancer cells have not invaded nearby tissue, doctors consider DCIS to be non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.
Symptoms of breast tumors can vary from one person to the next, and vary from one type of breast cancer to the next, but some of the most common early signs of breast cancer can include:
- Swelling, redness, or other visible skin changes occurring in just one breast or both breasts
- A change in the shape of one or both of your breasts, or an increase in size
- Discharge other than milk from your nipple
- Changes in the appearance of one or both of your nipples
- General pain in any area of your breast
- Lumps or bumps that you can feel on or deep inside the breast
In another type of breast cancer, known as lobular carcinoma in situ , abnormal cells form in the glands that produce milk. While LCIS involves the development of abnormal cells in the breast, it is not a type of cancer a diagnosis of LCIS does mean you have an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
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Further Tests For Breast Cancer
If a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, more tests will be needed to determine the stage and grade of the cancer, and to work out the best method of treatment.
If your cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, youll have further tests in the screening centre before being referred for treatment.
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How Common Is Breast Cancer By Age
Your risk for breast cancer increases as you age. About 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are ages 45 or older, and about 43% are ages 65 or above. Consider this: In women ages 40 to 50, there is a one in 69 risk of developing breast cancer. From ages 50 to 60, that risk increases to one in 43.
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Risks Of Metastasis In The Bones
Over half of stage 4 breast cancer patients experience bone metastasis, according to breastcancer.org. Usually the first place breast cancer spreads, bones most commonly affected include the ribs, spine, pelvis, and arm and leg bones. If you suspect cancer has spread to a bone, its important to get it checked out quickly, as you may be able to prevent fractures with prompt treatment.
A New Lump In The Breast
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast or armpit. It can be painless, hard and have uneven edges, or it can be tender, round and soft. Many women have naturally lumpy breasts, and your breasts may also feel different when you have your period, while pregnant or breastfeeding, when taking certain medications, gaining or losing weight, or with aging. But if youre familiar with your breasts, youll be more likely to notice any physical changes or abnormalities.
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Does Pain From Breast Cancer Come And Go
The bottom line. IBC causes a wide range of symptoms, including breast pain, redness, swelling, changes to the breast skin or nipples, and more. Many of the symptoms of IBC come on suddenly and may even appear to come and go. However, these symptoms will become consistently worse as the disease progresses.
Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
Have Questions Or Concerns About Your Breast Health Dont Delay Find Answers Fast
Thanks in large part to earlier detection and advances in breast cancer staging and treatment, this disease is more survivable than ever. Thats a trend all of us can feel good about.
So if youre due for screening, call to schedule a mammogram at one of our breast health centers in the Twin Cities. Oftentimes, we can offer same-day and next-day appointments.
If you have another breast health concern or are noticing any unusual symptoms, dont ignore what youre feeling. Make an appointment with a primary care doctor. Primary care doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating hundreds of conditions.
Stages Of Breast Cancer: Stage Iiib
A stage IIIb breast cancer is one in which the tumor may be of any size but it has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast. A stage IIIb designation also applies if there is evidence of either
- axillary lymph node metastasis
- internal mammary node metastasis
presenting in such a way as to suggest that total surgical removal is not possible.
There is a unique type of breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, that causes the breast to appear red and swollen. This is because the cancer cells block some of the lymphatic vessels. Inflammatory breast cancers tend to have a poorer prognosis and are generally stage IIIb at least.
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Lobular Carcinoma In Situ
- LCIS usually does not cause a lump. Its often diagnosed when a woman is being checked for another breast problem nearby.
- Most of the time LCIS does not need treatment, but in some cases a doctor will recommend surgery.
- LCIS increases the risk of breast cancer. Women with LCIS should talk to their health care provider about being screened more often, and/or trying to lower their risk through lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery.
Signs Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Another type of breast cancer, known as inflammatory breast cancer , will only rarely cause lumps or symptoms. This type of breast cancer does not show up on a mammogram. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may include:
- Red, swollen, itchy breast
- Tenderness of the breast when touched
- A pitted or ridged appearance of the surface of the breast
- Aching, burning, heaviness in one breast
- One breast that is significantly larger than the other breast
- A nipple that faces inward
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm
- Swollen lymph nodes above the collarbone
- Other symptoms that do not go away after you take a course of antibiotics
It is important to remember that several other conditions besides cancer can cause these changes. Eczema can cause changes to the texture of the skin on your breasts, for example, and many illnesses can cause swollen lymph nodes. Breasts may change size during your menstrual cycle, inverted or flat nipples throughout life are common, and milk leaks are very normal during pregnancy or shortly after you have had a baby.
If you notice changes in the size of only one breast, skin changes not associated with eczema, changes in the size or shape of only one breast, or have nipple discharge when you are not pregnant or during postpartum, however, you should seek a medical opinion. Other signs to look for are nipples that invert or flatten suddenly or a feeling of warmth inside your breast.
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What Is Breast Cancer Pain Like
Breast or nipple pain If a lump is present, it is not painful. Although breast cancer is often painless, it is important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that could be due to breast cancer. Some people may describe the pain as a burning and tender sensation. Learn more about what breast cancer feels like here.
What Does It Mean When You Have A Lump In Your Breast
For some people, the first indication is a new lump or mass within the breast. People with this type of cancer may also experience: swelling of all or part of the breast. pain in the breast or nipple. irritation or dimpling of the breasts skin. redness, scaling, or thickening of the nipple or skin.
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How Long Can You Have Breast Cancer Without Knowing
Breast cancer has to divide 30 times before it can be felt. Up to the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it by hand. With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.
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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How Many Women Sought Medical Attention For Breast Cancer
In a presentation at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute conference, British researchers noted that, among more than 2,300 women they studied who were diagnosed with breast cancer, 83 percent sought medical attention because they found a lump. For the other women, different signs and symptoms alerted them that something was wrong,
Can Women Have A Brca Test
Women can now undergo whats called a BRCA test to see if they have one of two genes that make them predisposed to breast and ovarian cancer. This test was recently popularized by Angelina Jolie, who took it and, when she confirmed she carried one of these genes, decided to controversially go through a voluntary double mastectomy even though she didnt have cancer. Accordino cautioned against these tests unless have significant risk factors, like family histories of ovarian cancer or breast cancer. But beyond the BRCA test, how can a young healthy young woman protect herself?
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How To Check Your Breasts
Theres no special way to check your breasts and you do not need any training.
Checking your breasts is as easy as TLC:
- Touch your breasts: can you feel anything new or unusual?
- Look for changes: does anything look different to you?
- Check any new or unusual changes with a GP
Everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes.
Get used to checking regularly and be aware of anything thats new or different for you.
Check your whole breast area, including up to your collarbone and armpits.
Can Metastatic Breast Cancer Be Cured
There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. Once the cancer cells have spread to another distant area of the body, its impossible to get rid of them all. However, the right treatment plan can help extend your life and improve its quality.
Metastatic breast cancer treatment aims to shrink tumors, slow their growth and improve your symptoms.
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Why Is Left Breast Cancer More Common
Background. Women are more likely to develop cancer in the left breast than the right. Such laterality may influence subsequent management, especially in elderly patients with heart disease who may require radiation therapy. The purpose of this study was to explore possible factors for such cancer laterality.
Redness Peeling Or Flaking Of The Skin On Your Breast Or Nipple
Any change in the condition of the skin of your breast or nipple could indicate an abnormality underneath, including breast cancer. If you notice red, scaly, peeling or flaking skin, talk to your doctor. Other abnormal skin signs are breast skin that looks thickened or appears dimpled or puckered, like an orange peel. Although this dimpling is common with the breast infection mastitis , its still important to have it checked out, because some types of breast cancer can mimic this condition.
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