What Are The Signs Of Breast Cancer
A woman who has breast cancer may have no problems, or she may find a painless lump in her breast. If women examine their breasts monthly, they can help find lumps or other changes that a doctor should examine.
Most breast lumps are not cancer, but all lumps should be checked out by a doctor to be sure. Breast lumps that are not cancer may be scar tissue or cysts or they can be due to normal breast changes associated with hormone changes or aging.
Girls who are beginning puberty might notice a lump underneath the nipple when their breasts start developing. Usually, this is a normal. You can ask a parent or your doctor about it to be sure.
Does A Benign Breast Condition Mean That I Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer
Benign breast conditions rarely increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women have biopsies that show a condition called hyperplasia . This condition increases your risk only slightly.
When the biopsy shows hyperplasia and abnormal cells, which is a condition called atypical hyperplasia, your risk of breast cancer increases somewhat more. Atypical hyperplasia occurs in about 5% of benign breast biopsies.
Sex Life And Fertility
Breast cancer treatments can have a direct effect on your sex life. In younger women some treatments may also affect being able to get pregnant .
For example, surgery may affect how you think and feel about your body which can affect your sex life. It can take time to adjust to changes to your body. If you have a partner, it can help to talk openly with them about your feelings. If any difficulties do not improve, ask your breast care nurse or doctor for advice.
If you have not been through menopause your doctor or nurse will advise you not to use contraception containing hormones. Women thinking of getting pregnant in the future will usually be advised to wait for 2 years.
If doctors think your treatment may affect your fertility, it may be possible to remove eggs from your ovaries before treatment starts. This may mean you can have fertility treatment in the future.
Fertility issues can hard to cope with. Some women may find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor.
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Diet And Lifestyle Changes
Your GP may suggest some things you can try which might help reduce pain, but theres limited evidence to show these work. These include:
- eating a low-fat diet
- increasing the amount of fibre you eat
- reducing caffeine and alcohol
Wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra during the day, during any physical activity and at night can be helpful.
Relaxation and complementary therapies
Some women have found relaxation therapy useful in reducing their symptoms of cyclical breast pain, such as relaxation CDs or apps, or other complementary therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy.
If your pain started when you began taking a contraceptive pill, changing to a different pill may help. If the pain continues, you may want to try a non-hormone method of contraception such as condoms, a non-hormonal coil or a cap .
If your pain started or increased while taking HRT and doesnt settle after a short time, tell your GP.
Evening primrose or starflower oil
Theres evidence that having low levels of an essential fatty acid called GLA can contribute to cyclical breast pain. However, research has shown that taking additional GLA doesnt always help the pain. Despite this, your GP may suggest that you try evening primrose or starflower oil , as some women have found it helps them to feel better generally. Your GP will tell you how much to take and for how long.
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.
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Breast Cancer Symptoms: What You Need To Know
Finding breast cancer early usually makes it easier to treat. Along with getting regular screening mammograms, being aware of how your breasts look and feel is an important part of early detection. Some breast cancer signs are detected best by mammogram. Other signs may be more easily seen as changes in how the breasts look or feel.
It is important to know that not all changes in the breasts are cancer. Benign breast conditions are much more common than breast cancer. But it is important to let your health care team know about any changes in your breast so they can be looked into.
Below are some common breast symptoms that should be checked right away.
Your Nipple Is Turning Inward
If your nipple is starting to turn inward when it wasn’t retracted before, it could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is much more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, says the American Cancer Society. Because of that, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss any concerning changes.
Unconventional Signs Of Breast Cancer That You Must Know About
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.
The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.
Its important to have a firm grasp of bodily knowledge, as the earliest stages of breast cancer usually come without pain. The most common indicator is the discovery of a lump, but cancer goes through multiple progressive stages before these lumps form. It may sometimes take years for lumps to develop, so people shouldnt rely solely on lumps to indicate breast cancer, as they usually indicate an already progressive disease.
There are several signs that the American Cancer Society claim should be analyzed closely by a specialist. It is important to remember that these signs arent definitive proof of existing breast cancer. They can sometimes indicate smaller hormonal or health factors, so visiting an expert can clear any ambiguity. Some of the more obvious signs are:
- Change in breast structure
- Changes in the skin or nipple
Recurrence Can Mean Different Things
For some women, a recurrence can be metastatic the cancer has come back not in the breast , but elsewhere in the body as well. Thats a much more serious situation . Or, it may have come back much as the first time you were diagnosed, as a new cancer, and is treated as such.
Be aware that many people talk about recurrence and metastasis in the same breath. But they are not the same thing. If you have had a local recurrence, when the cancer remains confined to your breast, the good news is that your prognosis is not necessarily any worse than it was the first time.
Whether its a recurrence of the original cancer or a new primary cancer in the other breast, in both cases we assume were dealing with a curable situation, and we attempt to think about those patients as we would anyone with a new presentation, says Clifford Hudis, MD, chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
If, for example, you finished treatment for breast cancer seven or eight years ago, any recurrence or new cancer would be treated largely as an entirely new problem.
That woman will not only undergo surgery, but may well receive additional therapy that doesnt ignore the fact that she had a previous cancer, but recognizes that seven years out, her prognosis from the first cancer is excellent, says Eric Winer, MD, director of the Breast Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
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Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several different types of breast cancer, which develop in different parts of the breast.
Breast cancer is often divided into either:
- non-invasive breast cancer found in the ducts of the breast which has not spread into the breast tissue surrounding the ducts. Non-invasive breast cancer is usually found during a mammogram and rarely shows as a breast lump.
- invasive breast cancer where the cancer cells have spread through the lining of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. This is the most common type of breast cancer.
Other, less common types of breast cancer include:
- invasive lobular breast cancer
- inflammatory breast cancer
It’s possible for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body, usually through the blood or the axillary lymph nodes. These are small lymphatic glands that filter bacteria and cells from the mammary gland.
If this happens, it’s known as secondary, or metastatic, breast cancer.
How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treated
Inflammatory breast cancer is generally treated first with systemic chemotherapy to help shrink the tumor, then with surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy. This approach to treatment is called a multimodal approach. Studies have found that women with inflammatory breast cancer who are treated with a multimodal approach have better responses to therapy and longer survival. Treatments used in a multimodal approach may include those described below.
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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.
How Do Tamoxifen Raloxifene Anastrozole And Exemestane Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
If you are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, four medications tamoxifen , raloxifene , anastrozole , and exemestane may help reduce your risk of developing this disease. These medications act only to reduce the risk of a specific type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for about two-thirds of all breast cancers.
Tamoxifen and raloxifene are in a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators . These drugs work by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue by attaching to estrogen receptors in breast cells. Because SERMs bind to receptors, estrogen is blocked from binding. Estrogen is the fuel that makes most breast cancer cells grow. Blocking estrogen prevents estrogen from triggering the development of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Anastrozole and exemestane are in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors . These drugs work by blocking the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors do this by blocking the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which is needed to make estrogen.
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Metastatic Breast Cancer And Pain
Metastatic breast cancer may also cause pain. It could be from a larger tumorthese are often over 2 centimeters in diameteror pain in other regions of the body due to the spread of cancer. If breast cancer spreads to your bones, it may cause bone pain, or back pain with leg weakness. If cancer spreads to your brain, it may cause headaches.
If breast cancer travels to the adrenal glands, you may feel a dull back pain. If your breast cancer spreads to your liver, you could have pain in the upper right part of your abdomen and develop jaundice .
Cancers Linked To Radiation Treatment
Lung cancer: The risk of lung cancer is higher in women who had radiation therapy after a mastectomy as part of their treatment. The risk is even higher in women who smoke. The risk does not seem to be increased in women who have radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy.
Sarcoma: Radiation therapy to the breast also increases the risk of sarcomas of blood vessels , bone , and other connective tissues in areas that were treated. Overall, this risk is low.
Certain blood cancers: Breast radiation is linked to a higher risk of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome . Overall, though, this risk is low.
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Breast Pain Not Linked To Periods
Its often unclear what causes non-cyclical breast pain.
It can be related to:
- a benign breast condition
- previous surgery to the breast
- injury to the breast
- having larger breasts
- a side effect from a drug treatment, such as certain antidepressant drugs and some herbal remedies such as ginseng
Stress and anxiety can also be linked to breast pain.
Non-cyclical breast pain may be continuous or it may come and go. It can affect women before and after the menopause.
The pain can be in one or both breasts and can affect the whole breast or a specific area. It may be a burning, prickling or stabbing pain, or a feeling of tightness.
Non-cyclical breast pain often goes away by itself over time. This happens in about half the women who experience it.
Myth: If You Maintain A Healthy Weight Exercise Regularly Eat Healthy And Limit Alcohol You Dont Have To Worry About Breast Cancerfact: Although These Behaviors Can Help Lower Breast Cancer Risk They Cant Eliminate It
Its something we hear again and again from newly diagnosed women: I eat healthy, Im at a healthy weight, Im active, and I barely drink. So how did I end up with breast cancer? Yes, there is evidence that all of these behaviors can help lower your risk. However, they cant guarantee youll never get the disease. There are so many examples of people who do everything right and still get breast cancer.
Its certainly worth managing the risk factors you can control, such as what you eat and drink and how physically active you are. But its still important to get regular screenings, perform breast self-exams, and pay attention to any unusual changes in your breasts. And if you have any health-nut friends or relatives who think theres no way theyd ever get breast cancer, help them understand that no one is 100% safe.
Community member Beesie says: I think the heavy focus on lifestyle and environmental factors can be misleading since most breast cancers are caused by factors outside of our control.
Theres a myth that its your fault, adds Community member Illimae. It is not your fault, there is risk with everything in life, dont beat yourself up.
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Should I Wear A Face Mask
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CDC has issued evolving recommendations on wearing a face mask. The recommendations are based on the number of people vaccinated, as well as how contagious the current COVID-19 strains are.
Current recommendations are that fully vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public settings if they live in areas where COVID-19 is spreading at substantial or high levels. This CDC tool shows you whether COVID-19 is spreading at low, moderate, substantial, or high levels where you live.
All unvaccinated people should wear a mask in public indoor and outdoor settings.
The CDC also recommends that everyone should wear masks in schools. Additionally, the CDC says that all fully vaccinated people might want to wear a mask in public indoor settings for extra protection, especially if they have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has a weakened immune system or a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If youre immunocompromised, the CDC recommends that you talk to your doctor about taking extra precautions, even if you are fully vaccinated. If you know someone who is immunocompromised or has a medical condition, such as cancer, that puts them at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19, its a good idea to wear a mask when you visit them indoors, even if you both are fully vaccinated.
Myth: If I Dont Have A Family History Of Breast Cancer I Wont Get Itfact: Most People Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Have No Known Family History
Many people think of breast cancer as an inherited disease. But only about 510% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, meaning theyre caused by abnormal changes in certain genes passed from parent to child.1 The vast majority of people who get breast cancer have no family history, suggesting that other factors must be at work, such as environment and lifestyle.
But doctors often cant explain why one person gets breast cancer and another doesnt. The biggest risk factors are simply being a woman and growing older. Over time, healthy breast cells can develop mutations on their own, eventually turning into cancer cells.
Still, if you have a strong family history of breast cancer on either your mothers or your fathers side, this is an important risk factor that should be taken seriously. If there are one or more cases of breast cancer in close blood relatives, especially before age 50, and/or other cancers such as ovarian and prostate cancer in your family, share this information with your doctor.
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