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Do You Have Breast Cancer

What Causes Breast Pain

Breast MRI: Do You Have Breast Cancer or at High Risk

There are a number of harmless causes for breast pain and tenderness that may primarily be related to changes in hormone levels. These can include:

  • Puberty in girls and sometimes for boys, too
  • Menstruation and premenstrual syndrome
  • Pregnancy more often during the first trimester
  • Days following childbirth as milk comes in Breastfeeding Mastitis, which is caused by a milk duct that is not properly draining and becomes infected, should be treated. It has no correlation with cancer, but it can become a serious infection if left untreated.
  • Menopause
  • A benign cyst

How Is Breast Cancer Treated

As in women, treatment for breast cancer in men depends on how big the tumor is and how far it has spread. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Male Breast Cancer Treatment.external icon

Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Stage 4 breast cancer can have a tumor of any size, and its cancer cells have spread to nearby and distant lymph nodes as well as distant organs.

The testing your doctor does will determine the stage of your breast cancer, which will affect your treatment.

Although they generally have less of it, men have breast tissue just like women do. Men can develop breast cancer too, but its much rarer.

According to the ACS , breast cancer is 100 times less common in white men than in white women. Its 70 times less common in black men than in black women.

That said, the breast cancer that men develop is just as serious as the breast cancer women are diagnosed with. It also has the same symptoms.

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Stage 3 Breast Cancer

  • Stage 3A:
  • The cancer has spread to 49 axillary lymph nodes or has enlarged the internal mammary lymph nodes, and the primary tumor can be any size.
  • Tumors are greater than 5 cm, and the cancer has spread to 13 axillary lymph nodes or any breastbone nodes.
  • Stage 3B: A tumor has invaded the chest wall or skin and may or may not have invaded up to nine lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3C: Cancer is found in 10 or more axillary lymph nodes, lymph nodes near the collarbone, or internal mammary nodes.
  • Risk Factors You Can Change

    How Did You Know That You Had Breast Cancer
    • Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
    • Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
    • Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
    • Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
    • Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a womans risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.

    Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and changes in other hormones due to night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.

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    Your Areolas Have Gotten Thicker

    You probably have a pretty good idea of how your areolas usually look and feel at this pointthey’ve been on your body for quite some time, after allso if you notice any thickening, it’s something to check out. This can also take place in the breast skin as well, says the American Cancer Society.

    What Is Stage Iii Breast Cancer

    In stage III breast cancer, the cancer has spread further into the breast or the tumor is a larger size than earlier stages. It is divided into three subcategories.

    Stage IIIA is based on one of the following:

    • With or without a tumor in the breast, cancer is found in four to nine nearby lymph nodes.
    • A breast tumor is larger than 50 millimeters, and the cancer has spread to between one and three nearby lymph nodes.

    In stage IIIB, a tumor has spread to the chest wall behind the breast. In addition, these factors contribute to assigning this stage:

    • Cancer may also have spread to the skin, causing swelling or inflammation.
    • It may have broken through the skin, causing an ulcerated area or wound.
    • It may have spread to as many as nine underarm lymph nodes or to nodes near the breastbone.

    In stage IIIC, there may be a tumor of any size in the breast, or no tumor present at all. But either way, the cancer has spread to one of the following places:

    • ten or more underarm lymph nodes
    • lymph nodes near the collarbone
    • some underarm lymph nodes and lymph nodes near the breastbone
    • the skin

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    Signs Of Breast Cancer That Aren’t A Lump

    The information on this page was reviewed and approved by

    Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

    This page was updated on January 31, 2022.

    For decades, the medical community and the media have waged an effective awareness campaign about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, educating the public about the importance of diligently monitoring their breasts for lumps. And the tactic has worked. Early detection has contributed to a 38 percent decline in breast cancer deaths in women from 1992 to 2018, according to the National Cancer Institute. While thats an important step forward, many other abnormalities that may also indicate breast cancer are lesser known and discussed. Some, then, may be led to assume that no lump and no tumor mean no cancer, but that may be a dangerous conclusion to draw.

    When most people think about breast cancer symptoms, they think of breast lumps. But doctors say visual changes may be especially key in helping detect breast cancer early. You may notice some of these changes just by changing the way you look at your reflection in the mirror, says Cynthia Lynch, MD, Medical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® , Phoenix.

    In this article, well discuss the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, including:

    Does Breast Cancer Affect Women Of All Races Equally

    How do you know if you have breast cancer

    All women, especially as they age, are at some risk for developing breast cancer. The risks for breast cancer in general arent evenly spread among ethnic groups, and the risk varies among ethnic groups for different types of breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by 40% since 1989, but disparities persist and are widening between non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic white women.

    Statistics show that, overall, non-Hispanic white women have a slightly higher chance of developing breast cancer than women of any other race/ethnicity. The incidence rate for non-Hispanic Black women is almost as high.

    Non-Hispanic Black women in the U.S. have a 39% higher risk of dying from breast cancer at any age. They are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer as white women. This type of cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat. However, it’s really among women with hormone positive disease where Black women have worse clinical outcomes despite comparable systemic therapy. Non-Hispanic Black women are less likely to receive standard treatments. Additionally, there is increasing data on discontinuation of adjuvant hormonal therapy by those who are poor and underinsured.

    In women under the age of 45, breast cancer is found more often in non-Hispanic Black women than in non-Hispanic white women.

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    The Effects Of Breast Cancer On The Body

    At first, breast cancer affects the breast area only. You may notice changes in your breasts themselves. Other symptoms arent so obvious until you detect them during a self-exam.

    Sometimes your doctor may also see breast cancer tumors on a mammogram or other imaging machine before you notice symptoms.

    Like other cancers, breast cancer is broken down into stages. Stage 0 is the earliest stage with the fewest noticeable symptoms. Stage 4 indicates the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

    If breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it may cause symptoms in those particular areas, too. Affected areas may include the:

    • liver

    American Cancer Society , the most common sign of breast cancer is a newly formed mass or lump in your breast.

    The mass or lump is usually irregularly shaped and painless. However, some cancerous masses can be painful and round in shape. This is why any lump or mass ought to be screened for cancer.

    Invasive ductal carcinoma causes lumps and bumps in the breasts. This is a type of breast cancer that forms inside the milk ducts.

    According to the Cleveland Clinic, invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer. It makes up about 80 percent of all diagnoses. Its also more likely to spread to other areas of the body.

    With breast cancer, your nipples may also undergo some noticeable changes.

    What Will Happen After Treatment

    Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.

    At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.

    If you still have a breast , youll need to get a mammogram every year. Depending on your treatment, you might need other tests as well, such as yearly pelvic exams or bone density tests.

    Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.

    You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.

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    When Youre Told You Have Breast Cancer

    • Exactly what type of breast cancer do I have?
    • How big is the cancer? Where exactly is it?
    • Has the cancer spread to my lymph nodes or other organs?
    • What is the stage of my cancer? What does it mean?
    • Will I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
    • Do I need to see any other doctors or health professionals?
    • What is the hormone receptor status of my cancer? What does this mean?
    • What is the HER2 status of my cancer? What does this mean?
    • What is the grade of my cancer? What does this mean?
    • How do these factors affect my treatment options and long-term outlook ?
    • What are my chances of survival, based on my cancer as you see it?
    • Should I think about genetic testing? What are my testing options? Should I take a home-based genetic test? What would be the reasons for and against testing?
    • How do I get a copy of my pathology report?
    • If Im worried about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?

    Grade Of Breast Cancer

    How Do U Know If You Have Breast Cancer Female : Breast Lumps Cancerous ...

    The grade describes the appearance of the cancer cells.

    • Low grade the cells, although abnormal, appear to be growing slowly.
    • Medium grade the cells look more abnormal than low-grade cells.
    • High grade the cells look even more abnormal and are more likely to grow quickly.

    Want to know more?

    Read Also: Can Getting Hit In Your Breast Cause Cancer

    Surgery For Breast Cancer

    Most women with breast cancer have some type of surgery. Common types of breast surgery are lumpectomy, mastectomy, and taking out lymph nodes from the underarm. Women who have a mastectomy may also decide to have the breast shape rebuilt, either at the same time or later on.

    Choosing between lumpectomy and mastectomy

    Lumpectomy only takes out the lump and a little bit around it. It lets you keep most of your breast. The downside is that youll most likely need radiation treatment after surgery. But some women who have a mastectomy also need radiation afterward.

    When choosing between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, be sure to get all the facts. At first you may think that a mastectomy is the best way to get it all out. Some women tend to choose mastectomy because of this. But in most cases, lumpectomy is just as good as mastectomy. Talk to your cancer care team. Learn as much as you can to make the right choice for you.

    Reconstructive surgery

    If you have a mastectomy, you may want to think about having your breast shape rebuilt. This is called breast reconstruction. Its not done to treat the cancer. Its done to build a breast shape that looks a lot like your natural breast.

    If youre going to have a mastectomy and are thinking about having reconstruction, you should talk to a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy is done. Your breast can be rebuilt at the same time the mastectomy is done or later on.

    Side effects of surgery

    Myth: If I Dont Have A Family History Of Breast Cancer I Wont Get It

    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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    How Can I Protect Myself From Breast Cancer

    Follow these three steps for early detection:

    • Get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram at age 35, and a screening mammogram every year after age 40. Mammograms are an important part of your health history. Recently, the US Preventive Services Task Force came out with new recommendations regarding when and how often one should have mammograms. These include starting at age 50 and having them every two years. We do not agree with this, but we are in agreement with the American Cancer Society and have not changed our guidelines, which recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
    • Examine your breasts each month after age 20. You will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts and will be more alert to changes.
    • Have your breast examined by a healthcare provider at least once every three years after age 20, and every year after age 40. Clinical breast exams can detect lumps that may not be detected by mammogram.

    If You Experience Pain Along With Any Of The Following Symptoms You Should Contact Your Physician

    How do you know if you have breast cancer
    • Bloody or clear discharge from your nipple
    • A new lump with the onset of the pain lump does not go away after your menstrual period
    • Persistent, unexplained breast pain
    • Signs of a breast infection, including local redness, pus, or fever
    • Redness of the skin of the breast that may appear as a rash, with dilated pores, and possibly skin thickening.

    Also Check: What Does Stage Three Cancer Mean

    Breast Exam By Your Doctor

    The same guidelines for self-exams provided above are true for breast exams done by your doctor or other healthcare professional. They wont hurt you, and your doctor may do a breast exam during your annual visit.

    If youre having symptoms that concern you, its a good idea to have your doctor do a breast exam. During the exam, your doctor will check both of your breasts for abnormal spots or signs of breast cancer.

    Your doctor may also check other parts of your body to see if the symptoms youre having could be related to another condition.

    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, you’ll have further tests in the screening centre before being referred for treatment.

    Read Also: Metastatic Breast Cancer Stage 3

    How Does Cancer Start In The Breast

    To understand how cancer can originate, it can be helpful to understand how regular cells and tissues function and develop.

    Healthy cells are the basic building blocks of all tissues and organs in the body. The body is constantly making new cells to replace worn out tissue or to heal injuries. Normal cells are programmed to grow and divide in an orderly and controlled manner, so that each new cell replaces ones that are lost.

    Sometimes cells become abnormal and keep growing. As they grow, they can form a mass or lump called a tumour. However, not all tumours are cancer. Some tumours are benign , which means they tend to grow slowly and usually do not invade surrounding tissue or other parts of the body. Tumours that are malignant have the potential to invade and spread to other parts of the body.

    Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally. These cells have the potential to grow out of control and invade the surrounding tissue. When this occurs, this is called invasive breast cancer. If the cancer cells continue to grow, they may spread beyond the breast to other parts of body, which could become life-threatening.

    There are different types of breast conditions which are named after the areas of the breast where they start:

    Non-invasive breast conditions

    Invasive breast cancers

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