Studies Showing No Link
On the flip side, other studies haven’t found a relationship between a history of migraines and a lower risk of breast cancer.
A 2015 meta-analysis used data from Nurses’ Health Study II participants, identifying 17,696 who reported that their doctors had diagnosed them with migraine. The researchers concluded that there was no evidence of a link between migraine and breast cancer risk, though they did acknowledge that case-control studies show an association between migraine and a reduced risk of breast cancer. However, they pointed out that prospective cohort studies, which follow people over time, don’t support this conclusion.
A 2018 study of 25,606 Taiwanese women, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, found that not only was there no association between migraines and a decreased risk of breast cancer, but women who saw a doctor four or more times a year for migraine actually had a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those without migraines.
All of these studies have limitations, so the big picture here is that the complex relationship between migraine and breast cancer needs to be examined more closely.
When To See A Doctor
If youve been diagnosed with cancer elsewhere in your body and you start to experience strong headaches, tell your doctor. The cancer may have spread to your brain. Be ready to describe all your symptoms in detail. The nature of your headaches will help your physician make a better treatment plan.
If you have no cancer history, see your doctor or a neurologist if a headache lasts for several days or weeks with little or no relief.
A headache that continues to worsen with no response to traditional pain treatment should also be evaluated. Weight loss, muscle numbness, and sensory changes that accompany a headache should be checked promptly, too.
Breast Cancer That Has Spread To The Brain
This is known as secondary breast cancer in the brain. It can also be called brain metastases or brain mets.;
Its not the same as having cancer that starts in the brain. The cancer cells that have spread to the brain are breast cancer cells.;
For some people, the brain may be the only area of secondary breast cancer.;
You May Like: Does Stress Cause Breast Cancer
How Long Do Side Effects Last
Remember that the type of radiation side effects you might have depends;on the prescribed dose and schedule. Most side effects go away within a few months of ending treatment. Some side effects may continue after treatment ends because it takes time for the healthy cells to recover from radiation.
Side effects might limit your ability to do some things. What you can do will depend on how you feel. Some patients are able to go to work or enjoy leisure activities while they get radiation therapy. Others find they need more rest than usual and cant do as much. If you have side effects that are bothersome and affecting your daily activities or health, the doctor may stop your treatments for a while, change the schedule, or change the type of treatment youre getting. Tell your cancer care team about any side affects you notice so they can help you with them.
How Sex Might Be Affected
With some types of radiation therapy involving the pelvis and/or sex organs, men and women may notice changes in their ability to enjoy sex or a decrease in their level of desire.
For women: During radiation treatment to the pelvis, some women are told not to have sex. Some women may find sex painful. Treatment can also cause vaginal itching, burning, and dryness. You most likely will be able to have sex within a few weeks after treatment ends, but check with your doctor first. Some types of treatment can have long-term effects, such as scar tissue that could affect the ability of the vagina to stretch during sex. Again, your cancer care team can offer ways to help if this happens to you. You can also get more information in Sex and Women With Cancer.
For men: Radiation may affect the nerves that allow a man to have erections. If erection problems do occur, they are usually gradual, over the course of many months or years. Talk with your doctor about treatment options if this is a concern for you. You can get more information in Sex and Men With Cancer.
If you get internal radiation therapy with seed implants, check with your cancer care team about safety precautions during sex
Recommended Reading: Can Asbestos Cause Breast Cancer
Headaches During And After Radiation
Why do the professionals not recognise radiation treatment to the breast causes headaches? ;Ten weeks after treatment I still have 24 hour headaches . Today I saw my oncologist and she would not admit ithey were due to the treatment. I limit the painkillers as they have side effects, Hoping the pain will recede soon. Good to know I am not alone.
Cancer Signals In Both Men And Women
Appetite loss. Many conditions, from depression to the flu, can make you feel less hungry. Cancer can have this effect by changing your metabolism, the way your body turns food into energy.
Stomach, pancreatic, colon, and ovarian cancers also can put pressure on your stomach and make you feel too full to eat.
Blood in the stool. Cancers can bleed, but so can a bunch of other things, like ulcers, hemorrhoids, infections, or a sore. When you see red in your poop, the blood is often from somewhere in your GI tract, meaning your esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
One way to tell where the blood is coming from is by how light or dark it looks. Bright red could mean the bleeding is in your rectum or the end of your intestines. A darker color means it may be from higher up, like a stomach ulcer.
No matter what the cause, blood in your stool needs to be checked out. You may need a colonoscopy or other tests to find the problem.
Blood in the urine. When it shows up in your pee, blood could be a warning sign of a problem in your urinary tract. Kidney or bladder cancer can cause this symptom, but it could also be due to an infection, kidney stones, or kidney disease.
Cough that doesn’t go away. A cold or the flu can make you hack away, but it’s also a potential symptom of lung cancer, along with red flags like chest pain, weight loss, hoarseness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. See your doctor if you can’t seem to shake it, especially if you’re a smoker.
Also Check: How Do You Check For Male Breast Cancer
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
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Pictures: Itchy Breasts Rash Bruise
Some signs and symptoms of IBC resemble other inflammatory breast diseases like rashes, red spots, marks or bruised boobs. But non IBC situations can be covered up by using antibiotics. with the help of images below it is easy to differentiate ;among the symptoms and consult the physician to perform necessary diagnostic tests for IBC.
Recommended Reading: Where To Find Breast Cancer Lumps
Where Can Breast Cancer Spread
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.
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Head Or Neck
People who get radiation to the head and neck might have side effects such as:
- Soreness in the mouth or throat
- Dry mouth
- Jaw stiffness
How to care for your mouth during treatment
If you get radiation therapy to the head or neck, you need to take good care of your teeth, gums, mouth, and throat. Here are some tips that may help you manage mouth problems:
- Avoid spicy and rough foods, such as raw vegetables, dry crackers, and nuts.
- Dont eat or drink very hot or very cold foods or beverages.
- Dont smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol these can make mouth sores worse.
- Stay away from sugary snacks.
- Ask your cancer care team to recommend a good mouthwash. The alcohol in some mouthwashes can dry and irritate mouth tissues.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt and soda water every 1 to 2 hours as needed.
- Sip cool drinks often throughout the day.
- Eat sugar-free candy or chew gum to help keep your mouth moist.
- Moisten food with gravies and sauces to make it easier to eat.
- Ask your cancer care team about medicines to help treat mouth sores and control pain while eating.
If these measures are not enough, ask your cancer care team for advice. Mouth dryness may be a problem even after treatment is over. If so, talk to your team about what you can do.
How to care for your teeth during treatment
Radiation treatment to your head and neck can increase your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you have dry mouth as a result of treatment.
You May Like: What Does It Feel Like To Have Breast Cancer
If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain
People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.
If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.
Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:
- Trouble with memory and speech
Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.
Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.
Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.
What Are Some General Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
Most signs and symptoms are not caused by cancer but can be caused by other things.;If you have any signs and symptoms that don’t go away or get worse, you should see a doctor to find out whats causing them. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.
For instance, lymph nodes are part of the bodys immune system and help capture harmful substances in the body. Normal lymph nodes are tiny and can be hard to find. But when theres infection, inflammation, or cancer, the nodes can get larger. Those near the bodys surface can get big enough to feel with your fingers, and some can even be seen as swelling or a lump under the skin. One reason lymph nodes may swell is if cancer gets trapped there. So, if you have unusual swelling or a lump, you should see your doctor to figure out whats going on.
Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms that may be caused by cancer. However, any of these can be caused by other problems as well.
Sometimes, its possible to find cancer before you have symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early. You can find more information on early detection at the;American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.
Don’t Miss: What Are Common Treatments For Breast Cancer
P: Prior Headache History
When Dr. Carver meets with someone for an appointment, he asks if headaches have been an issue for that person in the past. That can help him determine if the headache is something out of the ordinary or if it is consistent with the persons medical history.
People with a prior history of headaches who are unlucky enough later in life to develop a brain tumor are more likely to complain of a headache than people without a history, Dr. Carver says. It is therefore especially important to examine people comprehensively to be certain that symptoms or signs arent missed.
Studies Showing A Reduced Risk Of Breast Cancer
One of the first studies to examine the relationship between breast cancer and migraine was performed in 2008.;The researchers, whose findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention, found that women with self-reported migraines had a 33 percent reduced risk of developing hormone-receptor-positive invasive ductal and lobular carcinoma in the postmenopausal state.
However, the study didn’t control for the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , a common class of medications used to treat migraines. Several studies have suggested that NSAID use may, on its own, lower breast cancer risk.
For instance, a 2016 review published in BreastCare found evidence that aspirin and possibly other NSAIDs may decrease the risk of breast cancer and may even help prevent recurrence in women who’ve already had it.
A study from 2010, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, also found that postmenopausal women with self-reported migraines had a reduced risk of breast cancer. This study found a 17 percent lower risk of developing invasive hormone-receptor-positive cancers. Like the 2008 study, this reduced risk was independent of NSAID use, as well as the use of alcohol and caffeine, two common migraine triggers.
Read Also: Does Pain In Your Breast Mean 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 push on nearby structures more rapidly than a tumor would in most women. In addition, hormone-induced breast pain is also, of course, 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, and though only one in 100 breast cancers occurs in men, that’s still far too frequent.
Cancer Symptoms In Women
Breast lump or change. Although it’s a hallmark symptom of breast cancer, most lumps aren’t cancer. They’re often fluid-filled cysts or noncancerous tumors.
Still, see your doctor right away if you find any new or changing growths in your breasts, just to make sure.
Also get these changes checked out:
- Redness or scaling of the skin over the breast
- Breast pain
You May Like: What To Say To Breast Cancer Patient
Metastatic Breast Cancer & Pain
Metastatic breast cancer may also cause pain.;It could be from a larger tumorthese are often over two 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 in your chest, 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 the abdomen and develop jaundice .
What Do Brain Tumor Headaches Feel Like
Headaches are a very common ailment that most of the time are not a sign of something more serious. A lack of sleep, loud noise, brightness, even changing weather can cause a headache that, for the most part, can be cured with some rest or over-the-counter medicine. While this is true for the vast majority of headaches, they can sometimes be a symptom of a dangerous underlying problem like a brain tumor.
“Many patients with brain tumors do experience headaches, ranging from mild to severe and unremitting,” says Lindsay Lipinski, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology and a neurosurgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I estimate 50 to 60% of patients with brain tumors at Roswell Park experience headaches at the time of their diagnosis. They occur most often in conjunction with another neurologic problem, like a seizure or speech problem, that led to the diagnosis.”
Recommended Reading: What Are The Side Effects Of Radiation After Breast Cancer
Early And Late Effects Of Radiation Therapy
- Early side effects happen during or shortly after treatment. These side effects tend to be short-term, mild, and treatable. Theyre usually gone within a few weeks after treatment ends. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin changes. Other early side effects usually are related to the area being treated, such as hair loss and mouth problems when radiation treatment is given to this area.
- Late side effects can take months or even years to develop. They can occur in any normal tissue in the body that has received radiation. The risk of late side effects depends on the area treated as well as the radiation dose that was used. Careful treatment planning can help avoid serious long-term side effects. Its always best to talk to your radiation oncologist about the risk of long-term side effects.