Changes In The Size Shape Or Appearance Of Your Breast
Your breasts change for completely normal reasons. Having your period, having children and aging can all influence how your breasts look and feel. But increases in breast size, and changes in breast shape and appearance especially over a short period of time should not be ignored.
When changes like these happen, it may look or feel like all or part of your breast has become swollen.
Changes To The Breast Or Chest Area
After breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, be aware of any changes to either side, such as:
- swelling on your chest, in your armpit or around your collarbone
- a change in shape or size
- a change in skin texture, such as puckering or dimpling
- redness or a rash on or around the nipple or on the skin
- liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing it
- the nipple has become inverted or looks different, for example changed its position or shape
- swelling in the arm or hand
- a lump or thickening that feels different
Dog Mammary Cancer Stages
There are five stages of mammary tumors in dogs. The stage of your pets cancer could help determine the right treatment, prognosis, and life expectancy.
The characteristics of each stage follow the tumor size , spread to regional lymph nodes , and distant metastasis .
Details on each stage are listed below:
- Lymph node spread: Regional spread present
- Distant metastasis: Distant metastasis present
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‘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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Why Am I Experiencing Sexual Side Effects With Breast Cancer
They may be treatment side effects. Many of the treatments that we use for breast cancer put women into menopause or intensify menopausal symptoms if theyve already gone through it, says Sharon Bober, PhD, director of the Sexual Health Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Thats because these treatments block estrogen, resulting in:
- Vaginal dryness
- Dampened enjoyment
- Pain during sex
If youre experiencing sexual side effects that are interfering with intimacy, communicate openly with your partner. If youve never had to talk about your sex life before, you may not be sure how to start the conversation. Take your time and say to your partner, I know things arent the way that they used to be. Can we find some time to talk about it? Bober says.
Figure out what challenges you want to work on, and look at them from a whole-body perspective, she says.
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Advice For Caring For A Loved One With Breast Cancer
If your loved one has breast cancer, your first response may be fear and uncertainty. You may also find yourself in a caregiving role once treatment begins. Cancer treatment is hard on the body, so your loved one may need more support throughout the day. If your spouse has breast cancer, you may have to take on a bigger role with childcare and housework.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you step into your caregiving role:
Breast cancer will impact your loved one even after theyve finished treatment. Dont wait for things to return to normal to celebrate. Celebrate milestones such as finishing surgery or making it through chemotherapy. If the cancer is in remission, celebrate, even if your loved one doesnt have their energy back yet. It will take time for cancer to be behind you. Embrace your new normal as you support your loved one through their cancer.
Myth : Doctors Can Tell If A Lump Is Cancer Just By Feeling It
Wrong. Neither you nor your healthcare provider no matter how good he or she is can tell whether a lump is cancer without diagnostic imaging.
Providers who say, Its probably OK, without investigating further may cause a delay in diagnosing breast cancer, Dr. Pederson says. Dont let your doctor guess. Get imaging.
Women age 30 and older will have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. An ultrasound helps evaluate a mass by assessing whether it is solid or fluid-filled. Women under age 30 will have only an ultrasound because younger, denser breasts are difficult to evaluate by mammogram.
Suspicious lumps should be biopsied. Typically, a sample of tissue is drawn through a needle. Then the tissue is studied under a microscope.
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What Does Shoulder Blade Pain Feel Like When Its Related To Breast Cancer
The type of pain you feel usually depends on whats causing it. Some people have shoulder pain due to nerve damage from radiation therapy or a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or lymph node removal.
If you have neuropathic pain, you may feel a shooting or burning sensation. Some people describe the discomfort as an intense tingling or itching feeling.
You might also experience sharp pain when you try to move your arms up or down. This pain can be accompanied by swelling, stiffness, or numbness.
If your pain is caused by cancer that has spread , it might feel like a deep, dull ache in your joints or bones. Pain near your right shoulder blade could mean that your liver is involved.
You may also feel depressed or anxious, and your sleep may be disrupted as a result of your pain. Not getting enough sleep may make your pain feel even worse.
Your shoulder is a complex, interconnected group of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. These structures work together to align your posture and help you move your arms.
Your scapula serves several important functions:
- It cups the ball-shaped end of the humerus bone in your upper arm.
- It serves as an attachment plate for several muscles and ligaments.
- It moves in several directions as you use your arms, providing stability and flexibility.
Other treatments damage the nerves around your shoulder blade, causing long-lasting pain in your shoulders, arms, hands, and feet.
Breast Cancer And Shoulder Blade Pain
Some women may feel back pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades before any other sign of breast cancer reveals itself. The discomfort is usually attributed to muscle pain, inflammation of the spine or stretching the tendon and ligaments in the back.
Its important to know that tumors will sometimes develop deep within the breast tissue of the chest and felt in the spine or ribcage. There is also the possibility of metasis, a malignant spreading of the disease to the ribs or spine.
For example, The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports about a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and suffered from a severe back pain.5
The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reported that metastatic bone disease secondary to breast cancer is a common cause of low back pain. The report stressed the need for further imaging in patients with a history of breast cancer and whose physical examination and plain film radiographs are inconclusive or suspicious.6
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Underlying Mechanisms Of Fatigue
The etiology of fatigue, whether experienced during initial treatment or during survivorship, is far from being definitively characterized. The underlying mechanisms likely vary from patient to patient and the candidate causes surely co-vary considerably. This variability adds to the complexity of understanding this rather vague, but common and potentially disabling complaint. In addition to the usual suspects, such as dysphoric mood, disrupted sleep, anemia, recent studies have suggested some possible novel mechanisms . Thus, fatigue is multiply determined, with a likely mixture of both biological and psychological underpinnings. For example, evidence implicates anemia, ATP, links between the HPA axis, cytokines and circadian rhythms, and vagal afferents.,,,-
Because most previous studies of cancer fatigue involved cross-sectional research designs, the direction of causality between these candidate risk factors and the experience of cancer-related fatigue cannot be determined with certainty. Nonetheless, the literature suggests important possible links between fatigue and a wide range of potential underlying mechanisms.
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.
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer rarely causes breast lumps and may not appear on a mammogram. Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, itchy breast that is tender to the touch
- The surface of the breast may take on a ridged or pitted appearance, similar to an orange peel
- Heaviness, burning, or aching in one breast
- One breast is visibly larger than the other
- Inverted nipple
- No mass is felt with a breast self-exam
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm and/or above the collarbone
- Symptoms unresolved after a course of antibiotics
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer usually does not cause a distinct lump in the breast. Therefore, a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer. Ultrasounds may also miss inflammatory breast cancer. However, the changes to the surface of the breast caused by inflammatory breast cancer can be seen with the naked eye.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer can develop rapidly, and the disease can progress quickly. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported to your doctor immediately.
For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, redness, swelling, itchiness and soreness are often signs of a breast infection such as mastitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. If you are not pregnant or nursing and you develop these symptoms, your doctor should test for inflammatory breast cancer.
When To See Your Doctor
It’s important to talk to your physician if you have breast pain from any cause. Even if it’s not due to cancer, many women find that breast pain decreases their quality of life. In one study,15% of the women experienced breast pain at some time in their life that interfered with work and family activities. So, make sure to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any suspicious discomfort.
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What Are The Causes Of Breast Cancer In Dogs
Mammary tumors are the most common cancer developed in female dogs . Despite its prevalence, the causes of breast cancer in dogs are not thoroughly understood. However, there is some evidence that exposure to increased progesterone levels could cause cancer development .
Progesterone stimulates the secretion of growth hormonetumors develop due to cancer cells dividing and growing uncontrollably . The increased levels of growth hormone could cause these rapidly multiplying cells to do so even faster, leading to the development of mammary cancer.
Summary And Future Directions
While research into the etiology, course, and treatment of cancer-related fatigue is relatively new, much progress has been made in recent years however, considerable opportunities remain. While some well-powered studies have examined risk factors for fatigue in breast cancer patients and survivors, most studies examining underlying mechanisms have involved small to very small sample sizes. While a few studies employing repeated-assessments have been conducted, most have been cross-sectional in design. Thus, more longitudinal studies that involve assessment of cancer patients pre-/post-completion of initial treatment and into survivorship are needed. While multiple factors have been observed to be linked with cancer-related fatigue, it has yet to be determined which factors predispose, precipitate or exacerbate/maintain the patients experience of fatigue. For example, longitudinal studies examining and comparing the effects of chemotherapy- and radiation-induced inflammation on functioning during survivorship are warranted. Also, additional studies employing statistical analytic techniques that can evaluate hypotheses about causal pathways are needed. These will require multiple assessments of established or promising biomarkers of fatigue. Such studies should also assess fatigue using multidimensional scales normed on and/or tailored to breast cancer patients.
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Skin Irritation Or Dimpling
A rough patch of skin that feels scaly or thicker than usual or skin that starts to dimple can signal breast cancer, Dr. Weber says. With some breast cancers, channels that go from the inside of the breast to the skin become blocked, resulting in skin changes that make the breast look like its covered with an orange peel.
Symptom Signature Of Breast Cancer Individual Symptoms
A total of 2316/2783 of symptomatic women with breast cancer were included in the analysis . Among them, 2543 symptoms were recorded, averaging 1.1 symptoms per woman. A total of 56 distinct presenting symptoms were reported in the study population , in 95 unique phenotypes. Breast lump was the most common symptom, recorded in about four-fifths of all women . The next most commonly reported presenting symptoms were nipple abnormalities , breast pain , and breast skin abnormalities .
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What Factors Increase The Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Although there is no way to predict whether or not your pet may develop mammary cancer, some factors could increase its chances:
- Gender: Female dogs are 62 times more likely to develop mammary cancer than male dogs . Male dogs with mammary cancer also typically only develop benign tumors, which provide a better prognosis than malignant ones.
- Spayed status: The age at which a dog is spayed or neutered could also play a role in the risk of cancer development. If a dog is spayed before her first heat cycle, the chance of developing mammary tumors is 0.5%. If spayed before her second heat cycle, the probability is 8%
- Breed: Some breeds of dogs are more prone to developing tumors. The complete list of breeds can be found below.
- Age: Dogs over six years of age are more likely to have mammary cancer than younger ones
- Diet: Feeding your dog a diet of home-made food consisting of lots of beef and pork, as well as obesity early on in your dogs life, could increase its chances of developing mammary tumors
Variation In Diagnostic Intervals By Major Symptom Group
The vast majority of women belonged to one of four symptom groups: lump only non-lump only both lump and non-lump and non-breast symptoms . There was no difference in frequency of symptom groups by age group of ethnicity .
Venn diagram depicting the four largest symptom groups in 2316 breast cancer patients. The three shaded groups in red were not investigated due to small numbers: breast lump and non-breast symptoms , non-lump breast symptoms and non-breast symptoms , and breast lump, non-lump breast symptoms, and non-breast symptoms . The full symptom taxonomy is presented in Fig. A.2. in the Supplementary material
As most of the variation in interval length between different symptom groups was concentrated at the long right tail of the distribution, we hereafter describe the 90th centile values in addition to the median value. Overall, the patient interval was substantially longer than the primary care interval .
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What Are The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Unlike more common types of breast cancer, this type generally doesnât show up as a lump. The disease grows as nests or sheets under the skin.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may include:
- Pain in the breast
- Skin changes in the breast area. You may find pink or reddened areas often with the texture and thickness of an orange.
- A bruise on the breast that doesn’t go away
- Sudden swelling of the breast
- Itching of the breast
- Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arm or in the neck
These changes often happen quickly, over a period of weeks.
Why Do My Breasts Hurt
Breast pain is very common in women of all ages.
Having painful, sore or tender breasts can cause a lot of anxiety. But on its own, pain in the breasts isnt usually a sign of breast cancer.
Many women experience breast pain as part of their normal menstrual cycle . This is called cyclical breast pain.
Lasting pain in the breast thats not related to periods is known as non-cyclical breast pain.
Sometimes pain that feels as though its in the breast is coming from somewhere else, such as a pulled muscle in the chest. This is known as chest wall pain.
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